Zombies and why we love them (Part 2)
“Celebrating Zombiehood” (Credits: Salvador Altamirano on Unsplash)
In the previous article, we examined the traditional versions of zombies found in different world cultures. As scary and significant as those ghouls were then, but we are in an age where zombies are seen in a different light. Please do not get us wrong, they are still mindless brain-eating monsters, but they now appear in more contemporary situations with a wider array of modern scenarios.
Also, we caught up with the leads of zombie-comedy Zombiepura and learn their thoughts on experiencing an infestation firsthand.
First, let us see how zombie films have been altered through the course of time:
Modern Day Adaptations
These days, there are huge followings for the zombie franchise. The thrill may be derived in the form of a chase and the survival against a seemingly unstoppable horde of rotting people. Here are some titles:
Train to Busan (2016)
“Death Railway” (Credits: Derek Story on Unsplash)
The setting may prove fresh for moviegoers, transporting them away from the stereotypical western world to the domains of South Korea, renowned for its tear-jerkers and cosmetic TV idols.
The rude culture shock is a welcome change. Witness the Asian zombie breakout and how an ordinary train ride becomes a thrilling race for survival involving all its unfortunate passengers.
The cramped spaces in the moving cabins and the exciting plot that unfolds with every step taken by the characters in their ill-fated journey creates an indelible viewing experience.
“What lies beyond the human disguise?” (Credits: photografierende pexels.com)
The series is the latest to join in the wave of zombie-themed series such as Z-Nation and The Walking Dead.
iZombie follows the challenges of a med student who transforms into a zombie after a party erupts into a chaotic undead crisis. She pretends to retain her humanity but is beset with all kinds of trouble along the way. Worst kind of party, really.
It seems like the fans simply cannot get enough of the Zombie Apocalypse. Feature films just do not seem to scratch that itch anymore. There is craving for a steady supply of zombie content. This is supported by the recent milestone achievement of The Walking Dead in airing its 100th episode.
Official Trailer for Zombiepura (2018)
Speaking of film, we at Premise TV had the wonderful opportunity to hear from Jacen Tan, the director of Zombiepura. He shared his thoughts on the challenges faced on set, zombie stereotypes and offers some advice for aspiring horror filmmakers.
Directed by Jacen Tan, the idea behind the film was seven years in the making and will finally makes its debut at the upcoming Scream Asia Film Festival.
A zombie piece may involve lumbering corpses and morbid scenarios but as shown in wildly successful series, The Walking Dead and Z-Nation, through their witty dialogues and hilarious scenes, it does not always have to be a serious affair.
The same can be said for Zombiepura. The Singaporean film mixes elements of comedy, horror and action. Largely inspired by the success of Train to Busan, director Tan decided to join the Zombie film Asian market transition; a genre that had been traditionally dominated by Hollywood.
Tan was hit by an epiphany during his time in National Service, when he realized how much he felt like a zombie when he woke up in the wee hours of morning for guard duty. Being a horror buff, he decided to blend the elements of zombification with the environment of an army training facility.
The movie takes place in a military camp where unsuspecting soldiers team up to escape an undead force that their training had not prepared them for. Hilarity ensues when the zany characters attempt to maintain their wits and collaborate in the face of crisis.
Zombiepura (2018) Poster taken from the official site.
Premise TV contacted Zombiepura leads Benjamin Heng and Alaric Tay as they planted the intriguing perspectives of survivors from a zombie film set.
Interview with lead actors Alaric Tay & Benjamin Heng
(1) The role of being a victim in a zombie flick could be considered being as important as that of the zombie actors, possibly equivalent to the necessary chemistry between the straight man and comedian. How did you prep yourself for such a ginormous task?
Alaric: I am not sure what this question pertains to, but if you are asking how I balanced comedy and drama… for me, this style of performance has always been my preferred screen method. A performance style that is etched in realism rather than caricature, which most of my fans are used to seeing me in. So, to be able to execute such a performance is, to me, something I am pleased to do and share with everyone. Also, it helps that I’ve lived with the character for the past 7 years! Haha…
(2) This is certainly a production unlike your past involvements. After starring in a horror flick, do you feel that this is perhaps a genre that you can call your niche?
Alaric: Strangely, I never really saw Zombiepura as a horror film. Maybe because the term ‘horror’ often associates with some form of supernatural and spiritual encounter, which I tend to avoid; both as a moviegoer and a filmmaker. Zombies, to me, however, have a more science-fiction background. There is a logical scientific explanation for their existence, and that is a world that is fun to be a part of. And I would gladly table in the science fiction genre, moving forward.
(3) Were there any genuinely spooky encounters or pranks on set?
Alaric: We were filming overnight one day, and as Benji and I had some time to kill on set, we decided to explore the compounds of the location. We wandered into several rooms and one, in particular, was rather spooky but, at the time, didn’t ring any alarm bells.
Benjamin Heng: When we returned to set, one of our make-up artistes was shocked that we went into that room. We asked what was wrong? She said that there was a talisman above the entrance of the room, which meant there might be spirits in the room and the talisman prevents them from escaping… Nuff said. Goose pimples!
(4) Would you have reacted any differently if you had experienced what your characters did during in-camp training?
Benjamin Heng: I am quite gu niang (helpless) in real life… Will probably just dial for help, or go on social media live to warn others!
Alaric: I am a little more like Benji’s character in real life, so I might actually try to take on the zombies. Hahaha…
(5) In the movie, The Nun, actress Taissa Farmiga was so disturbed by the titular actress on set that she had to ask her to back off while she kind of hyperventilated. Were there any similar incidents with the zombie actors on Zombiepura?
Alaric: Not for me, the zombies are like family. I mean the make up is amazing, and they scare the crap out of you, but where acting is concerned, everyone was very respectful and professional. And the zombie actors gave us our space to emote and we also gave them their space to go crazy.
Director Jacen Tan: The zombies are the stars of the movie. Imagine having to put on bloody makeup, putting on contact lenses which give you 50% vision, performing dangerous stunts, for 10–12 hours each day in sweaty conditions. Respect!
(6) If you realized you were turning, what is the last decently human act you would take or meal you would binge on before surrendering to brains FTW?
Benjamin Heng: I’m afraid of heights. So, I’d go to a tall building and just jump to my death… Scared to death and go into pieces! Double confirm sure die!
Alaric: I would send my family as far away as possible (hopefully they listen), then chain myself up in the basement and lock myself in. It is the logical thing to do, I suppose.
Zombiepura (2018) Poster taken from the official Zombiepura Facebook
Whether it be to judgmentally view the idiotic decisions of the survivors (and throw rage at them), to enjoy the realistic performances of zombie actors or to bite your lip at the harrowing escapes from the army of decaying monstrosities, zombie films seem to be the flavour of our times (as nauseating as that sounds).
If you have a zombie film idea (or any other less icky ones) and wish to show it to the world, look no further than Premise TV, the online interactive crowdfunding platform that provides the leverage for budding film-makers to kickstart their dreams.
Also, we have an existing gallery of content for your viewing pleasure. Come join us!
Last one there is zombie chow…
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Author: Laurenzo Jude