Ahhhh Zombies! – Day 5 FFF 2013

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Preparing for a zombie apocalypse at ACE Hardware

Preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse at ACE Hardware

After an exciting weekend with my best friend in the entire world (additional post to come), I make it to:

When the Zombies Come
Have you ever wondered what you would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse? Well for an employee working at ACE Hardware, this was definitely something on his mind. He would walk around the store looking for stuff to kill zombies with. He even mentioned how ACE Hardware has such an ideal location because CVS Pharmacy is next door, Quick Trip gas station is across the street and they’re right by the Farmers Market. He explained that they had all the tools to kill the zombies in the hardware store, if they ran out of food they could go to the farmer’s market, gas for the generators or showers were available in the gas station and CVS would provide the necessary medical supplies. He was, pardon the pun, dead serious!

This comedy documentary is one of my favorites this year. It kept me laughing and entertained the whole ten minutes.

After the film, director Jon Hurst along with the ACE Hardware employee answered some questions. When asked how true the employee was about planning for such a zombie invasion he replied, “It was 100% true before the movie; however, ACE Hardware does not condone the film and fired me for filming it.” He then followed up by saying “I’m still going to ACE Hardware when the time comes.”

A member of the audience asked what was next for the two of them. Director, Jon Hurst said “I’m writing my own feature and looking for funding and what not.” The ACE Hardware employee merely stated, “I would like a job,” which sent the audience into laughter.

Year of the Living Dead

George Romero

Director of Night of the Living Dead, George Romero

Forty five years later and people are still talking about the low-budget, classic horror film shot in Pittsburgh, Night of the Living Dead. This documentary directed by Rob Kuhns talks about the race, violence and the need to scare the audience during the 60’s film directed by George Romero. “I lived, breathed and drank the stuff. I loved making movies,” said Romero. It’s believed they modeled and patterned the zombies from the hit TV series The Walking Dead  off of the Night of the Living Dead said Romero because “I invented these character ghouls. I remember the one time I tried to build a hollow hand and fill it with blood, it looked like shit,” said Romero. Unlike vampires and werewolves, Romero is responsible for the zombie.

Romero said although it’s a “tragic and iconic ending, it’s the perfect ending because there is no comfort for the audience.” The audience goes into shock when you play with the idea and expectations of the modern day film and it ends the way this movie ends. “We were never certain we’d get enough money to finish the film but the money just dribbled in over several months,” said Romero. The $114K black and white movie was released on October 2, 1968 in movie theatres and drive-ins. In New York they considered it a Grindhouse film that the critics mostly dismissed. The main purpose of the film was to scare the audience, but some people believe there’s a political message in every movie. Romero said it wasn’t his intention for Night of the Living Dead to come across as political, but it starred a strong, black male in the 60’s. It explored race and violence with historical messages and that wasn’t his intent. [SPOILER ALERT — DON’T READ THE NEXT SENTENCE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD] Some people compared the black actor dying at the end of the movie to a lynching–which wasn’t his intention at all. He went on to say that the script never identified the lead as a black man, so when he was cast, they simply ended the movie as written.

ACE Hardware employee, director Jon Hurst and Rob Kuhns

ACE Hardware Employee, Directors Jon Hurst and Rob Kuhns

After the film we had the opportunity to speak with director Rob Kuhns. “It was in 83 at a midnight screening when I first saw Night of the Living Dead,” said Kuhns. A member of the audience noticed that during his documentary there was animation throughout. “I couldn’t get the rights for the behind the scenes film so we’ll just have to create art for it,” said Kuhns. He was also asked why George Romero was the only cast/crew member interviewed. His reply was simply, “No one else wanted to be interviewed because they were making their own behind the scenes film at the time.”

What does Romero think about The Walking Dead? “I interviewed him before The Walking Dead at the end of 2006. But he said he doesn’t see new movies, only the old ones because they appreciate what he did. However, one of his favorite movies is the satirical Shaun of the Dead,” said Kuhns.

Right before the film I spoke with a volunteer of the FFF who said, “Night of the Living Dead is one of my favorites,” and I would have to agree with her. This well scripted, classic film truly fits my mold for horror films and has helped shaped the industry.

It was a successful night with more to come today.

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