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Blood in the Snow 2013: Zach Ramelan Talks Zombie Short, “DEAD RUSH”

DeadRush

Premiering at Toronto-based and Fango and TIFF-approved Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival tomorrow as part of its short film program, is DEAD RUSH. Filmmaker Zach Ramelan’s breakneck first person zombie assault is a blood dripping bit of mayhem that is as much an exercise in terror as it is a textbook case how to get the biggest bang for your humble filmmaking buck. As the fest kicks into full gear tonight, FANGORIA pulled Ramelan aside to congratulate him and pick his still uneaten brain about making a monster movie that moves on a grocery bill budget.

FANGORIA: Did the idea behind DEAD RUSH stem from a video game source?

ZACH RAMELAN: It’s funny because it definitely has that whole first person video game vibe to it; although the thing is, I never play video games. I came up with this idea after watching a music video that went viral a few months ago called “Bad MotherF!@#ER” by Biting Elbows. I wanted to take the idea of an intense first person chase, and add zombies to the equation.

FANG: What was the budget and how did you deliver top notch gore on such an undoubtedly small chunk of change?

RAMELAN: I have to thank the immensely talented FX team behind it! Zombie god/wizard Mitchell Stacey was the brains behind the majority of the gore, from removing intestines to blowing up heads! I don’t know how he does it and the man is a friggin’ saint.

FANG: Was it a single day shoot?

RAMELAN: Yes! Our stupidity and ambition—not to mention micro budget of $500—led us to shooting this in one day. We started at one location and while we shot there, zombies were getting ready at the other. Luckily all the three sets were extremely close to each other, so traveling wasn’t a hard task.

FANG: Where did you find that awesome house?

RAMELAN: Ah, the ol’ Baden House. Funny enough, this old rickety piece of gold is often used by local filmmakers. We found it on the set of Black Fawn Films’ previous project a few years ago. By this year, we were sure that it would have been destroyed and developed into new subdivisions. Luckily, the only thing that damaged the house was the smell of rotting food left in the freezer.

FANG: Talk about your cast, who effectively sell the visceral and emotional punches the film throws at the audience…

RAMELAN: Our cast on the shoot was so darn wicked. I literally could not have done any of it without them. To start, our main man Mickey, who plays David, had to wear a DIY helmet rig that held the camera on the front and a five-pound weight in the back. He decided that wearing it all day was a better option than taking it off. To add on to his dedication he learned how to fight a choreographed attack scene and drive standard. What a guy. Charlie Hamilton and Jon Rhys play the two other leading men in the film. They where fantastic actors to work with and I had a blast just letting them improvise what they would do in their situation. Last, but certainly not least, I have my partner in crime Raven Cousens. Her talents help me with all aspects of my shoots, from scripting to acting. Raven plays the character Meg, who is slowly turning into a zombie in the passenger seat of a car. I can’t spoil what happens but let’s just say she risked her life for this role and nearly ended up with a hole in her head, literally. Raven, if you read this, I love you.

FANG: Any desire to do a feature length zombie flick using this aesthetic?

RAMELAN: Absolutely! The goal for DEAD RUSH is to see what people think of a first person zombie flick first. If audiences dig it, than I’d friggin’ love to make a first person feature from the eyes of David, the main character. We have an idea boiling in the pot, so it’s just to see where we go from there…

For DEAD RUSH screening information and info about all of the untamed Northern Frights unspooling at BLOOD IN THE SNOW visit www.bloodinthesnow.ca

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About the author
Chris Alexander
Author, film critic, teacher, musician and filmmaker (not to mention failed boxer) Chris Alexander is the editor-in-chief of FANGORIA Magazine. He got his first professional break as the “Schizoid Cinephile” in the pages of Canadian horror film magazine RUE MORGUE before making the move to FANGO in 2007. His words have appeared in The Toronto Star, Metro News, Wired, Montage, The Dark Side, Tenebre and many other notable publications and he appears regularly on international television and radio.
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