Mothers might like zombies too
Last week a Quad Cities radio station reported — and I use the term reported loosely because the information really came out of an on-air quiz — that the top three mother’s day gifts are flowers, jewelry and items that pamper Mom.
My mother got none of those. Instead, the Halloween-obsessed woman opened a pristine white box to find a T-shirt depicting a man’s face covered in blood.
“God bless us everyone!” reads the text promoting “A Cadaver Christmas,” the zombie flick written and produced by my dear friends Dan and Joe.
The T-shirt was a hit. And so far, the movie hasn’t done too bad for itself either, taking top awards in its categories at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival and Motor City Nightmares Film Festival.
My name appears in the credits as Choir Student 1. Thank goodness for everyone involved, the miniscule role did not actually require me to sing. I did, however, get one whole line and the pleasure of being part of a zombie — or in this movie’s case, technically a cadaver — attack.
Pleasure might be an overstatement. The morning of filming started off bright and early with a zombie makeover. That involved the application of a zombie bite mark and inflamed veins. Then came the dousing in fake blood — a delightful concoction of red food dye, karo syrup and Hershey’s chocolate syrup.
In the scene, our mob of zombies converges on the hapless cop, and a bloody feast ensues. The scene lasts mere minutes — the taping took all afternoon.
I spent hours kneeling on a hard tile floor in a hallway of my alma mater. The discomfort was compounded by the adhesive-like nature of the pool of “blood” in which we knelt. After peeling myself from the floor and the graduation gown serving as a choir robe multiple times, my poor knees were red and swollen later that night.
By the end of the shoot — and shoot really is the operative word given how some of the zombies, me included, meet their untimely demise — fake blood dripped from our chins and matted our hair. Miraculously, I managed to make it “home” to my aunt’s across the Quad Cities from downtown Davenport to rural Milan without attracting any attention.
The movie’s star wasn’t so lucky one or more occasion. And the mad scientist gave his wife quite a fright returning home late one evening, having not bothered to remove his makeup after a long day of filming.
My aunt and uncle just looked at me and shrugged.
The film — equal parts horror and comedy — is touted on its website as “a cross between ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Night of the Living Dead.’”
It “tells the story of an unlikely band of heroes charged with the task of saving the world from an army of living corpses that are quickly recruiting new members. The dead have been given the gift of life this Christmas, and it’s up to a university janitor to take it back!”
“A Cadaver Christmas” premiered in the Quad Cities late last year. Now, it’s headed to a film festival in San Francisco, and Dan and Joe are looking for a distributor. I personally am pumped about their talks with a German company interested in selling the movie there — I could do my own voiceover!