Monday, September 14, 2009

Zombies: condensed, cannned, cream of..

Condensed: The band -The Longwalls, creating a video to go with their song entitled, 'Zombies', from their CD "Field Guide for the Zombie Survivalist", teamed up with Plymouth Rock Studios in Plymouth, Massachusetts ( and wunderkind Louis Janetty (director) over three days (Sept 11-13), filming in an abandoned Walmart (now that was scary), and the former home of the local cable access TV production studios (mold, rot, moist carpeting and weeds aplenty).

Canned: The script called for the creation of a post-zombie-apocalyptic reality (Welcome to Walmart!) where concerts were few and far between and required armed security. In this environment fans had to be, well, fanatical, to go out at all, since there was a high probability of close encounters with the recently deceased. Sure enough, before the first song is completed there's a commotion at the back of the hall and - you guessed it, Zombies have sniffed out the show and scalped - ironic justice, the scalpers. The band escapes but, not before the first few rows of fans are treated to... or that is, are feasted upon. Interspersed between the concert footage are scenes of the band relaxing at home - so to speak: nailing up boards, and taking other standard precautions to keep neighbors from looking in on them. Before they can secure their house completely though, zombies surround it and the band has to make a dash for it. Lead singer and songwriter Alan Wuorinen manages to break through - first smashing the head of a particularly slow and slow-witted zombie (Sam Bourne), but the other band members are waylaid by a horde of fleshy fiends. Drummer Kurt Von Stetten manages to impale one winsome lass (Vicky Dauphinais) with a drumstick through the eye but he, guitarist Brandon Comstock, and bass player Dan London are last seen being eaten by a motley crew of assorted mutants. Alan breaks free - but a moment later comes face to face with what is obviously a never ending supply of perambulating putrefescence and - though the film leaves his ultimate fate in doubt, he looks as if he has lost the will to carry on.
Cream of: From a professional 'Extras' perspective, this was as good as it gets. Zombies not only get a good amount of time on camera, they are in a real sense, the featured players in productions of this sort. On this production there were many special moments:  the transition (that moment when a valiant human succumbs and is reborn a zombie) of Rock Education's own Kevin Lasit; the green meatball projection vomit scene (Megan Dupes?), Vickey Dauphinais'

drumstick through the eyeball; and the penultimate, orgiastic, musical necks contest at the end of the concert (kind of like a Zombie Animal House Food Fight).. Kudos to the band members too. Normally the stars of a production are whisked in when they are needed, and whisked back to the Ritz when they are not. But the members of The Longwalls were not only on the set the entire time, their scenes often required them to be chased, attacked, mauled, bitten, and killed. No, I take that back: all their scenes required them to be either chased, attacked, mauled or bitten. I myself knocked the bass player down into waist-high weeds  - several times, and then chewed on his neck.

Link: The Longwalls music can be downloaded from The finished video - accompanying a lengthier, enhanced version of "Zombies", is expected to be available just before Halloween, both from, and also off the site (home of Plymouth Rock Studios). I am available to play zombies, mutants, accountants or just self-absorbed suburban poet-cowboys right now.

Pics: From the top, that's obviously The Longwalls - off - from left to right: Dan, Curt, Alan, and Brandon; Followed by a group shot of most of the Zombies on the last day; Kevin Lasit being made-up for his 'transition' scene; me; and a shot of the crew preparing the Walmart for the concert scenes. None of the hundreds of pics taken on these three days would have been as.. 'appealing', if it werent for the work of special effects make-up artists Dave 'The Clown' Ellsworth, Mary 'Stunts' Narciso, and 'Gory Cori' Erickson: all three can be reached through


Brandon said...

Great post Frank, I think that about sums it up! Thanks for everything... especially knocking Dan into the weeds.. We've been wanting to do that for a while now!


Anonymous said...

Frank, awesome write up! Took me right back to the shoot. Such memories. I think I am still dreaming about zombies.

Red Flannel Shirt Zombie

Jessica said...

Great work! And don't forget, thanks to the Dave and Mary for the great zombification! (is that a word?)

Alexandra said...

saw this on google alerts...great blog, and great job being a zombie. i miss having you gross guys around here haha! see you soon! alex*