October 31, 2010 in City

Clark: Gonzaga students resurrect the old ghoul spirit on film

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Dan Pelle photo

Gonzaga students Dan Seibert, left, and Erik Skoog directed and wrote “28 Hours Later: The Zombie Movie,” a horror/comedy film.
(Full-size photo)

You’re fresh out of college. Chock full of knowledge.

Time to get cracking and use that expensive Gonzaga University education to carve out a place in the Real World.

What do you do?

If you’re Dan Seibert and Erik Skoog you gather up some like-minded pals and …

Make a zombie movie!

I’ve never been so proud of the youth of America.

When I heard that the two 23-year-olds were in the final editing stages of their first feature film, “28 Hours Later: The Zombie Movie,” I had to meet them and check out their work.

See, I’m a big zombie guy.

Sure, I enjoy a good vampire yarn or a ghostly tale. But especially during the Halloween time of year, nothing makes my skin crawl like an attack of rotting, lurching flesh-eaters.

My zombie fascination no doubt stems from all the time spent around politicians, who, as we all know, are just zombies with less ethics.

So on Friday morning I drove over to the Gonzaga district and met Dan and Erik in their modest second-story apartment.

Dan, the movie’s director, told me he had majored in broadcasting and minored in theater at GU. Erik, the writer, was a theater-and-sociology man.

After a few months of planning and getting the script right, the movie’s production team began shooting in late September.

Friends told them they were crazy, that there was no way they could get a 45-minute movie done in such a brief amount of time.

The filmmakers were undaunted.

“This is not a cheap movie at all,” countered Dan, who estimated the budget at $5,000.

“Did we get everything we wanted? Not quite. But we think we’ve turned out a good product.”

From what I saw, they certainly did.

Dan and Erik played me their movie’s trailer and opening scene, which included scores of shambling zombies and scary weapons ablaze. They also delivered the one thing that makes any zombie flick worthwhile: gallons and gallons of splattering gore.

(Watch the trailer online at: www.spokanezombies.com.)

The movie is about a film crew that is making a cheesy zombie movie when – holy Homeland Security! – an actual zombie outbreak occurs.

“And chaos ensues,” Dan added.

That’s a good way to put it. One of the problems the humans must deal with is being able to determine the “real” from the theatrical undead.

“Parts were written for the purpose of getting them killed,” said Erik.

Just about all of those making the movie doubled as actors. That helped take care of some roles. But another zombie movie essential is, well, zombies.

Think about it. How do you sell an audience on a zombie pandemic without having zombies up the kazoo?

So these Internet-savvy lads put a call out on that online flea market, Craigslist.

It worked amazingly well. Some 60 volunteer zombies showed up for the opening day of shooting.

“Everyone came in their own clothes,” said Erik. “So I imagine they all went to Value Village to get old clothes so they could slash them up.”

By now the zombie mystique is ingrained in our pop culture. Movies have been made. Books have been made. There’s even a zombie survival guide on the market.

But it all boils down to this:

Rotting flesh. Sunken eyes. And that unmistakable lurch that happens when a reanimated corpse comes at you with grimy clawed fingers extended from his (or her) outstretched arms.

One of the creepiest moments of my life came the first time I saw George A. Romero’s classic, “Night of the Living Dead.”

My lovely wife-to-be, Sherry, and I saw it at a drive-in.

(Note to anyone under 30: Drive-ins were these big open fields where you parked your car at night to make out with your date. Oh, yeah. You could also watch movies.)

Anyway, “Night of the Living Dead” was the first of a double feature, which meant that it was barely dark out.

So while the zombies were shambling about the screen, we could also see drive-in patrons wandering around in the gloom outside our car as they headed for the restroom or the concession stand.

They had an eerie similarity to ZOMBIES!!!

Sherry and I spent the entire movie too terrified to neck.

Will Dan, Erik and their YouDon’tSay! Media company have a hit on their hands?

The odds are against them. But the experience they gained during this process should be worth another college degree.

After that, “We’re gonna take a well-deserved break,” said Erik. “Then, when we’re rested, we’ll start on our next project.

“Maybe a love story. We’ll figure it out.”

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or dougc@spokesman.com.

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