Aside from the obvious reference to a nonsense rhyme, Limerick also happens to be a town in Pennsylvania and the location of a large nuclear generating station. Our current in progress production, a mashup of zombies and “The Blob” involves some sequences filmed around the power plant. And yes, we are referring to the blob from the 1958 film of the same name that was filmed in and around the Valley Forge area – which is coincidentally not too far from the Limerick power plant.
In coming up with our idea for the film, John and I batted around some ideas, once again over a few tasty beers, and decided we needed to use a nuclear power plant seeing as one was so conveniently nearby. We pretty much figured that there was no way in hell they were going to let us into the nuclear facility, but we could probably get pretty close. John and I pulled up Google maps, spent a little time poking around with the Street View option and discovered that we could actually get pretty close. In fact – we even had fantasies of getting on the facility grounds for a brief, and likely clandestine shot. We went ahead and convinced our friend Steve (the bartender from Cocktails for Zombies) to come along and act as cameraman on a Sunday.
I volunteered to go out on Saturday and scout out the location we’d pulled up on Google Maps and come up with alternatives in the event we wouldn’t be able to use it. As I headed out on Saturday, and neared the nuclear plant, it became patently obvious from the large “No Trespassing” signs that they probably weren’t going to be too happy if a couple of zombies wanted to film themselves acting like idiots in front of the plant. Time to find some backups.
I started looking for parks near the facility, that at least had a view of the cooling towers. I was able to come up with one, but the view wasn’t that great – note the parking lot, and we’d probably have to contend with the local soccer leagues while we were filming. Not optimal for a day out as zombies.
Next, I drove around some back roads and found a couple of public land type spots we could film at, which had decent views of the towers, but were at intersections of roads with a fair amount of traffic noise and electrical wires. While better than the park, this just wasn’t grabbing me.
On the way to the back roads I had noticed a quiet looking industrial park. This was looking much more promising. The view wasn’t bad, there wasn’t really anyone around, and we were well back from the main road.
I figured I was good to go, but decided to do a little more poking around. Near a strip mall, I found a dirt road that seemed to go off to nowhere. I headed down the road and struck paydirt – literally. I found rubble – lots of it and a completely unobstructed view of the cooling towers. A perfect place to quietly shoot our film.
Here’s a shot from the next day when we shot the film.
This is our most ambitious production yet, involving real locations, a thoughtfully constructed set and the heaviest use of After Effects so far, as well as our first real foray into a CGI character. We’re expecting the film to be out in the next month or so, pending unexpected difficulties with the final work.