“It’s not a zombie movie unless someone gets torn apart.” This is a direct quote from the conversations John and I first had when we started making short zombie films back in July 2011. We’ve tried to stick with this directive in each of our productions. Surprisingly, our prop building methodologies really haven’t changed much since we first made Grilling For Zombies and Brewing For Zombies. What has changed is the amount of gore and the number of zombies involved.
I came to this realization a couple of weeks ago while I was editing some of the action sequences from Zombie Casserole and after looking at the results was hopping up and down and giggling “Holy crap! We made a real zombie film!”
To put this in perspective, check out one of our first attempts at tearing a person apart from Grilling for Zombies. Okay – so the black and white makes it look more primitive. And yes, it’s not clear if the victim is laughing hysterically or screaming in unimaginable pain. And the mayhem is probably more “may” than “hem”. However, gosh darn it! It was a good first effort.
In the following scene from Cocktails For Zombies we used the same props with some additional “filler” we’d learned how to make – the infamous meat jello. And it’s in color. We also added a green screen effect in order to have a talking head on the corpse, because quite frankly, it’s just silly.
However in each of those productions, John and I were the only two zombies involved in the gore. For Zombie Casserole on the final day of shooting we had about twelve hungry and willing zombies, eight of whom we could fit around the body. While John was filming other scenes and the zombies were being made up, I was toiling away over buckets of fake blood getting “guts” and “meat” ready for the big scene. There was also some pressure because we basically threw everything into one take and hoped like hell that it would turn out.
I will say that having a bunch of zombies moaning and carrying on with mystery body parts creates its own special type of magic. Everyone should experience it at least once in their lives!