Thursday, 23 February 2012

The fast and the furious

It has been way, way too exciting in Charmed Central this week.

And we have St Marcelo-the-edit to blame. Because on Monday his first cut of Zombie Resurrection arrived in our in-box. 71 minutes of breathless undead carnage, with all the scenes delicately interweaved like a master magician shuffling a deck of cards.

Yeah – that wasn’t a typo. 71 minutes. The laborious Andy and Jake cut came in at just under 91 minutes; St Marcelo has clearly been busy trimming some serious gristle. Arguments are more spiteful, action scenes more perilous, bludgeonings more painful.

And, my Christ, does it rattle along. Ain’t nobody getting bored in this movie, I can assure you. When Dale-the-tunes comes to score it, he’ll be reaching for the Benny Hill soundtrack as a guide.

So, Jake’s and my mission this week has been mostly about finding those extra spaces within which to catch our breath. Immediately we can jump into worrying about the fine-tuning, safe in the knowledge that all the big stuff is fixed. It’s a considerably less arduous job to bulk the lean than shed the fat, and it’s so much easier to be objective about someone else’s baby than that fat bugger that Jake and I were wheeling about last year.

And just as importantly, we know what we still need to shoot. Them pesky but inevitable pick-ups that have hung over us like a sword of Damocles since the end of August. Nothing involving any of the cast, thank God, and nothing that needs us go back and recreate all the mess we made over Hampshire this summer. Exterior shots of a suitably knackered building. A clichéd full-moon with clouds passing gracefully across its face (this is a horror film, after all). Oh, and the whole first 45 seconds, but with more monsters.

Whether we’ll make back those lost twenty minutes remains to be seen. Just how much breathing space do you want, people? Gasping.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

L'undead

And like the last scene in 28 Weeks Later, it seems that the Channel is no impediment to the onward march of Zombie Resurrection.

Today marked an important milestone in the project – our first foreign language write-up on the Zombie Shocker Facebook page. And for those of you whose French is as pas-bon as mine, we’ll let Google Translate carry the heavy load. They have a lot of nerve if they consider this software ready for human consumption, but damn – did it make me laugh.

In a world angel love drawing the sources of its new culture in new urban legends neo-post-apocalyptic deviants to artefacts of cannibalism and magic... and 15 months after the catastrophic end of our current civilization, a group of survivors are forced to take refuge in an apparently abandoned school. But the halting place of their trip, is not abandoned if it is already invaded by the undead for the behaviour so to speak... unusual.

Among the crowd of this band of wild beasts and hungry, to demi-human, they meet a mysterious undead that has surprisingly a special gift... a kind of "messiah zombie'' who has the power when he comes into a trance while placing his hands on a zombie to get him back to life and that, on coming back... what do impote which is then eaten by others of the tribe, thus avoiding the members of this community, not to spoil too by feeding on fresh pulpit, thus benefiting from a better vitality of movement... through their healer, this zombie guru, Master of Non-Putrefaction. Among the victims of this vicious circle of self-survival, the group meets a strange refuge survivor who survived the morbid circle. This is an ancient undead who was resurrected and devoured hundreds of times. It illuminated a little crazy and wants to kidnap the Zombie Christ to understand the meaning of life.

Genius! I so want to see this film. Essoufflé

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Jason and the aarrgh-anauts

And with only 28 days left to make our post-production finance target, Jake and I have upped our game for getting the word out.

This was always the point about the IndieGoGo campaign. Like the trailer? Want to help? OK – here’s how. The challenge is now to get as many people to land on the trailer as we can (which was a snip under six thousand, at last peak), and then gently shepherd them over to the campaign page.

And there’s been a couple of big word-out moments this week.

First up, a long interview on the über-cool fanzine website Horror Cult Films. In case you’re wondering, Jason is Jake’s more attractive and hirsute twin.

And then there’s the Echo. The Echo. Southampton and South Hampshire’s local newspaper, for local people. Not content with just doing a piece on us in their TV & Leisure Saturday supplement, they also very kindly gave us the cover. If you want access to this week’s TV Guide, you’ve got to get past the beautifully gored and freshly-caffeinated Simon Burbage; perk-researchers please note that it’s the masterful Rob Luckins behind the lens, with Heidi and Sara’s terrific make-up in front.


Oh, and I should point out that not all our zombies behave in quite so refined a manner. It’s feeding, not breeding, that will out as a general rule. Covered.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Transfer Windows™

I propose a fight.

It’s been a long time coming, but it is so overdue. Macs versus PCs. A one shot deal, winner takes all. Bill Gates against the freshly zombified Steve Jobs, locked naked in a cage until only one is left standing.

Oh no – Andy. Macs are sooooooooo the way forward. Get with the programme.

Yeah. Whatever. As a recent Mac pressgangee whose hand was forced by the fact that all our editing software is OSX based, I could fire off ten things I like about both, and another two hundred times where both operating systems have irritated me. But whatever I’d say, it’d be lost in the noise of the crushing tedium of trying to sensibly share data between the two.

This has all come to a head over the last few days, as we take a break in the post-production routine to kick off our behind-the-scenes DVD extras. Over the course of the shoot the highly awesome Chris Marley followed all the filmic action around with another camera, and managed to fill 21 one-hour tapes with all the set nonsense that goes on when the Directors aren’t looking. At the end of August he presented us with a bag of 21 full DV cassettes, and they have sat in the bag ever since waiting for us to do something with them.

So, last weekend I did something with them. I downloaded them all onto the Mac.

OK – I’m already making that sound less of a ball-ache than it was. You need to download the DV tapes in real time, so the whole weekend saw me sat in my flat rewinding tapes, swapping them out of the machine, pushing the go button, renaming all the files and then finding something less boring to do for the next 55 minutes. I felt like Desmond in Lost. When I come to list my favourite moments of the production, last weekend is not going to feature very highly.

Anyway, I digress. By 2 am Monday morning it was all done. Disco. 21 hours of footage. All ready to go off to Ian McIntyre to edit into a compelling 45 minute documentary, full of people doing bad Schwarzenegger impressions, complaining about the food, and Danny’s arse.

And then the real ball-ache started.

Ian is so the best person to be putting together our making-of documentary; he did a great job on the 90 minute equivalent on Julian Gilbey’s Rise of the Footsoldier (or BAFTA-nominated Julian Gilbey, to give him his preferred moniker). But Ian edits on Avid. On a PC.

It’s late on a Tuesday night, and I have spent the better part of the last two days trying to find a format for the footage that Ian’s bloody PC understands, and then a sensible hard disk partitioning format that allows me to physically give the data to him. Suddenly I am racked with pangs of nostalgia for the glorious weekend just passed.

The good news – finally we have arrived at a solution. The bad news – it’s going to take four days to convert all the footage into something his computer can read.

And the really bad news – somehow every computer-related fan in my flat has decided to give up the ghost over the weekend. The one in the Mac, the one in the hard disk where all the data is stored, and even the one in my son’s laptop (a PC, to maintain a spirit of even-handedness). It’s apparently something to do with dust clogging up the bearings, but it’s going to take more than that to convince me to put the hoover round.

In fact, there is only one fan in the whole building still working. And so, while Britain snuggles down into the throws of an Arctic freeze, at least one family in Winchester are keeping the memories of summer alive.


Grrr. So, who’s up for a fight and a massive IT bonfire? Itching.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Dismember of Parliament

The shameless Charmed self-promotion blunderbuss roars on.

And in amongst the clattering fallout, it seems that we have managed a few inch-perfect head-shots. So, sit back and nurse your hangovers through some of the more entertaining recent Zombie Resurrection coverage in the horror fanzines…

  • A big interview with Jake and me for Undead Backbrain, where we allegedly “talk intelligently”. Recent devotees of Voice FM may have a valid alternate view.
  • Stars of Trailer Tuesday on the Zed Word.
  • Some genre ear-turning, courtesy of Horror Loop.
  • And for those that like to play hard-and-fast with their Google analytics – Winchester MP Steve Brine (Con) gets down with the undead. Somewhere nearby a thousand tea-cups tremble.

It’ll be next Saturday when we get to unveil the cream-of-the-crop of our recent tarting activities, when newspaper readers in the beautiful South are given their first taste of the moral bankruptcy at the heart of their community. All I will say for now is that it hasn’t been easy finding pictures that are suitably gore-less for mass consumption.

Thus ends a week spent hawking our respective arses around – quite rewarding, on the hole. Taken.