What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse? It’s always useful to have a plan, and there are hundreds of films out there to give you help and advice. But say you do survive, what then? Chances are that none of your friends or family will make it. What happens if it’s just you and some other guy you don’t even like that much?
This is the premise of Red Harvest, a short film by Mancunian director Matthew Faggiani, which saw its Scottish premiere this week in the glittering surroundings of the Jekyll and Hyde’s regular B-Movie night. We spoke to Matthew about making the film and what inspired him to bring it to Edinburgh.
Tell us a bit about the film.
“Red Harvest is a 15-minute short that tells the story of two survivors of a zombie holocaust set in a desolate south Manchester suburb. I wanted it to be an alternative to the new wave of zombie cinema in recent years. So instead of sprinting ghouls and hunky survivors spouting cheesy one-liners, I portrayed a world long after the initial outbreak of the undead and simply documented a day in the life of two depressed survivors who hate each other.”
Sounds intriguing! What were your main influences when making the film?
“I’m a huge fan of the horror genre, particularly the films of George A Romero. His zombie saga contains not only some of the most shocking imagery and special effects ever seen but have also continued to be very socially and politically relevant. My favourite of his films remains “Day of The Dead,” the darkest and most punchy instalment.”
How long did it take to make?
“Although it’s only a 15-minute short, we recorded nearly five hours of footage over a six-month period. This was due to the limited availability of some of the more ambitious locations. Like we filmed some stuff at the Trafford Centre, but that’s really busy so we had to get up really early to go and get filming done.”
Did you encounter any other problems?
“Getting the cast assembled in one place at 4.30am on a Sunday was a pretty big one! We also had problems with the contact lenses we wanted to use to make the zombies’ eyes look dead – only one cast member was actually able to wear them, but we bought six pairs! They were probably the biggest expense of the whole film…”
The film was made and set in Manchester. What made you decide to bring it to Edinburgh?
“I was made aware of the Edinburgh B Team a few years ago and just thought it was fantastic that there was a venue showing cult movies every week, allowing fans of classic horror films to view them in a cinematic environment. I approached them and they were kind enough to screen our film as part of their ‘Zombie-a-looza’ event.”
What other projects do you have lined up?
“As well as continuing to produce music videos and commercial promos, we’ve started writing a script for a werewolf movie set in 1930s Germany. This is undoubtedly a more ambitious project, but with all the positive feedback and technical expertise gained whilst making Red Harvest we are confident that this will be a much more professional product. We start filming early next year.”
Red Harvest is also being shown at the Glasgow School of Art on Tuesday 5th. Details of all showings can be found on the website.