Zombie Casserole Screened at the Horror Happens Film Showcase

Zombie Casserole was shot in the Philadelphia area and has screened in New York, California, Quebec, Maryland, Ohio, Kansas, Oregon and Illinois. We’ve hosted a local screening for the cast and crew at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, but it hasn’t been screened close to home, until now. Our horror comedy short screened on January 10th at the Camp Jefferson Theater in Lake Hopatcong, NJ as part of the Horror Happens Film Showcase. Hosted by Jay K and Judith, it featured two short films, two features and a wonderful opportunity for local filmmakers to network and find inspiration.

The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow (Director Rodrigo Gudino) – An intriguing and artful exploration of a 1930s photograph, it stands out as a truly unique short. Mister Hollow can serve as a demo reel showcase for animation and editing skills, but it is more than that. As the camera explores the scene more details are revealed, change and progress over time. Aesthetically, it’s reminiscent of Poe. If he were a photographer, this photo would be in his portfolio.

The Battery (Director Jeremy Gardner) – Mickey and Ben ramble through a rural landscape in what’s one part buddy film, one part zombie apocalypse and one part an exploration of solitude. Filled with long takes and scenes with little action, it won’t be everyone’s cup of zombie guts. They serve to emphasize isolation and tension. The film touches on some of the trappings of the usual apocalyptic scenarios, but goes in an unexpected direction, particularly in the end. The Battery’s original soundtrack is a stand out. Ain’t No Grave, the movie’s gospel –blues anthem, is a haunting and fitting audio backdrop to the zombie apocalypse.

The Soulless (Director Chris Eilenstine) – The first installment of a trilogy, The Soulless kicks off with the end of civilization as a man makes a misguided attempt to heal the world which flips a bit in the minds of 98% of the population which resets people to an animalistic state. In a Q&A with the director following the screening, Chris described the film as a sci-fi presented in a horror framework. Sure, there are zombies, but there’s more going on than just the end of the world.

David and his daughter, Nicole, realize that their genes had a significant role in sparing them from shambling through the streets which will be explored in more detail in parts II and III. Zombie Casserole screened before The Soulless and we were there for an introduction and Q&A. We’ve seen the film more times than we’d like to admit,

so we were paying more attention to the audience and the reactions. There was laughter at all the right locations, including a scene where a character accidently blows his head off with a shotgun. Jay K hosted the Q&A session and we got a bunch of good questions, both from him and the audience.

Notable, we were asked about Baxter Guilfoyle’s performance as Zombie Fred, the horde leader. He channels Malcolm X as he rallies the horde in an entirely ad lib performance. The final and fitting comment we got was from Art Bontio, “You guys are weird!” A fine complement as any, we take pride in it. 

Camp Jefferson is two hours from home. It made for a long drive up and back. We went with Dan Mooney of Tin Machine Films and had a chance to talk shop and plan for the next project. There’s a collaboration in the future. The event was attended by local filmmakers, actors, mark up artists and horror fans, including a rather creepy priest, Father Evil. We’re not sure, but we think we smelled brimstone and heard chants in Latin. It’s a good venue to compare filmmaking notes, learn about other local events, like Grindhouse Nights at Café Z, exchange business cards and meet new friends.

Many thanks to Jay K and Judith for putting the event together. They run the Horror Happens Radio Show featuring all things horror with a strong leaning toward the indie scene. They’ve been kind enough to have us on and are worth a listen. Also, thanks to Art Bontio for hosting and opening the grounds and theater at Camp Jefferson to us.

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