Tea and a slice of horror

With the red carpet rolled up for another twelve months and our local hero Colin Firth proudly placing his newly won Oscar on the mantelpiece, it is now time to meet a couple of Hampshire directors who would like to turn their Hollywood dreams into silver screen reality: although for most people a zombie film would be the source of nightmares.

However Andy Phelps (right) and Jake Hawkins (left) from Charmed-Apocalypse Pictures love the genre and from their early days it has left an indelible, blood soaked stain on their lives.

“It is my firm belief we cannot have enough Zombie films.” Andy enthused. “There is a massive love for the genre and we are doing ourselves a favour upfront by making a Zombie film, because it is going to be considerably easy to sell.”

Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead

In 1977 Andy’s first sight of a zombie was in George A Romero’s classic ‘Dawn of the Dead’, while Jake cut his teeth with the horror films ‘The Evil Dead’ and ‘Braindead’.

Andy confesses that he was “a little bit too young” to have seen it and Jake recalls that his double bill “completely grossed me out” but on the bright side: “That’s why I want to make a zombie film now.”

These gory facts were imparted over a cup of tea in the tranquil surroundings of the Art House café, which is building a strong reputation as the creative centre of Southampton’s cultural quarter.

Symbolically we sat in its converted shop window (above) as the directors have reached the point where backers are needed to finance the feature film. All the duo require is £150,000 is to bring the script to life.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot of money,” Andy explained, “until you have to talk to people and raise it yourself. And then it’s a monumental amount of cash.”

But as the shoot is digital Jake remains very optimistic: “You can turn around a film in weeks as long as you give it everything you’ve got. And we did write the film around minimal locations and minimal cast.”

And if you really love zombie films and have enough spare cash Jake has some interesting news: “Some of the larger investors will have the opportunity to appear in the film, run around and have a gory take-down effect laid down on them.”

For those just looking for a return on their investment the major factor in the film’s favour is that zombies are big business.

In 2010 the US TV series “The Walking Dead” was simultaneously released in over 130 countries and is riding on a wave on un-dead spin-offs.

In fact “Massive!” was the snap response from the staff Forbidden Planet in Southampton. And when compared to superheroes… “Bigger than Superman and on a par with Batman.”

As purveyors of all things fantasy this shop is the perfect gauge of the nation’s appetite for the eating of flesh. And it seems we can’t get enough.

Not only are there zombie spin off books from ‘The Walking Dead’ and various other shows and films but there is even a zombie cup cake recipe book.

Pride & Prejudice Zombies
Pride & Prejudice Zombies

But the most horrific sight will shake lovers of the written word to the core: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (left) has been given a zombie make over! It’s the original story but with added un-dead and in this instance the author must be, quite literally, spinning in her grave.

This is great news for Jake and Andy who are quietly confident that DVD sales alone will cover the budget. But with such a crowded market, with over 30 years under its belt, how can their film stand out and be original?

“We have an interesting twist on the genre.” Andy revealed. “We have a specific zombie in our film who has the potential to bring people back from the un-dead. So they can cure Zombies back to human again. We can use this to explore faith and religion and science versus religion.”

Which is why they’ve film is called ‘Resurrection’ and with the location almost found, the script soon have its first read–through and the special effects teams preparing the buckets of blood the directors hope to make a killing in every respect.

Follow their blog at: http://shootingthedead.blogspot.com/

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