Monday, August 20, 2012

CvsRZ Publicity Day

Cast and crew gathered yesterday in Exeter Rhode Island, at the site of the abandoned Ladd Institute, for publicity stills, cast photos, and teaser trailer footage. We got a ton of great shots and footage! C.Smith-SFX was on hand to do zombie makeup and still photographer David Cope provided amazing shots of our cast in character. 

Actor A.F. Grant has zombie makeup applied. Notice the impressive head wound. 
Director Jason Bachand and still photographer David Cope line up lighting and frame a publicity shot. One of the creepy abandoned buildings on site can be seen in the back left.

Meredith Prunty and Ashley Tramonte in costume. The cheerleaders uniforms are stock costumes and won't be used in the production itself. 
Emmy March, Taylor Kudalis, and Kallie Tabor chat with Jason Bachand for a "director's diary" bonus feature.  The actresses talked about the dynamic between their characters, who are friends in the script.
Savannah Reinitzer in makeup prep. Caity from C.Smith-SFX worked hard to provide our zombie gore on a tight schedule!
The zombies - A.F. Grant, Savannah Reinitzer, and Mark Burzenski -  line up in front of a monster truck. We got lucky - the Ladd Institute grounds manager, Jimmy Folco, happened to have a friend nearby with a monster truck we were able to use.
Cast and crew hang out while teaser trailer footage is filmed.

Brian Farmer and A.F. Grant getting hammy for the camera. Brian didn't get to go "zombie" for the day, but he'll be getting plenty gory when filming starts!

The full cast and crew at wrap time! In addition to the cast, Production Manager Nathan Adams, Co-Producer Suzanne Prunty, the FX team, Art Director Kristin Bales, and Still Images Photographer David Cope can be seen. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

CvsRZ Kickstarter Project - Help Out!

Ok CvsRZ fans - time to get serious. We're putting out a call to help fund our series and make it a HUGE success. We're aiming high - we want this series to be the BIG thing this fall that everyone's talking about. If we meet our goals, and our pilot episode is a success, we'll have the leverage to shoot more episodes with bigger budgets, more SFX, and more publicity to spread the word!

So - check. this. out: We're got a Kickstarter project to find sponsors and backers who w
ant to make this series a commercial and critical success. All kinds of goodies are available to those who pledge to help us make this series a hit - from autographed DVDs to a walk-part in the show. Or, for those who really want to help out, we're offering executive producer credit with all the benefits thereof, including passes to the cast wrap party and series' premiere event!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Interview: Brian Farmer

Brian "Dwight" Farmer is a horror movie buff with a lot of great thoughts on zombies, gore, and acting in New England. He shares them all with us today in this epic and exclusive interview. Check it out!

Hi Brian, so great to have this chance to chat with you!

Hey guys, same here I really appreciate you asking me to do this.

So, you play a lot of hardened tough guy types. Is this a conscious decision on your part, or do you just find yourself getting a lot of roles as the muscle in movies?

(laughs) You know to be honest, I normally get type cast into those roles, I don't know what it is about me. I mean I don't mind them, who wouldn't mind being the tough guy? But me as an actor I'd say I have a lot more to contribute to this craft then playing the muscle all the time. I'm a diverse actor and I know I can adapt to any role.

You're a method actor. Tell us what that entails, and how you generally prepare for a role.

Preparing for a role as a method actor, it's complex, it really depends on the character: "who am I, what am I, where did I come from, how can I relate?" It has to do with sense memory and emotional memory, I mean I have my strategies but I can't give away all my secrets. But I'd say preparing for ''Dwight'' I'll most likely talk with a southern accent to just about anyone I come encounter with.

Breaking into this business isn't easy, especially outside of Hollywood. Lately it seems like there's a surge of interest in making films in New England - do you agree with that observation? How has it been getting parts in this area for you? What is it that New England has that perhaps Hollywood and SoCal do not?

You know, I've had this conversation with a lot of people on both the east and west coast. I think overall if you want to be a film actor, LA is we're you need to be. But New England as a whole is making a pretty impressive mark. I believe N.E. made the top 10 list for best places to make films this year. As far as getting roles in the area, I've been doing pretty well for the most part, knock on wood. In some areas it's more of who you know, but it says something when a director or a C.D. calls you up and offers you a role, that to me means I'm doing something right. For now I'll just keep my mouth shut and let the roles come before I mess this up (laughs).

You're playing redneck zombie Dwight in CvsRZ. Do you think there's a good reason to be more frightened of a redneck zombie than your average, run-of-the-mill hungry undead?

I think you should be more afraid of a redneck zombie, because rednecks are wild, they don't have any regard for anyone and they'll just rip you apart. They are a step above you're run of the mill original zombie. Overall it's more fun and intimidating to be a redneck zombie. Besides, ''When there's no more room left in hell, the dead will walk the earth'' Or a redneck zombie that is.
That could be a nice tag line for CvsRZ! Or how about, "When there's no room left in Texas, the redneck dead will walk the Earth?"   
That's actually a pretty good tag line, I like it. If you use it make sure I see a cut in my residuals or else I'll summon the rednecks.

So one gets the sense that you're a pretty big fan of zombies. Is that accurate? 
I'm a huge zombie fan, I mean the new age zombies I'd say are more intimidating due to the fact that they snarl and run at rapid speeds, as opposed to the old school zombie who walk with the slow slouchy pace. The zombie has become more advanced as time has gone on. A good flick in my view is Dawn of The Dead. [Writer George A.] Romero is a genius, so if you're a zombie fan I recommend you check it out.

Are we talking the 1979 original or the 2004 remake with Ving Rames?
I'm talking it about taking it back to the 1979 version. George Romero set the bar for film makers and was a genius with this flick, he's the god father of zombies. Don't get me wrong, Snyder's 2004 remake was great for the modern time that we're in now. But if there was no original and no George Romero, can you honestly say zombies would of taken off as huge? I mean maybe, but without him there would be a gap.
You definitely know your zombie films. Besides Dawn, do you have any other favorites?  
There is such a long list of good zombie films, but the great ones are on a scale of there own. I remember when I saw The Return Of The Living Dead for the first time. Despite its comedic tendencies it was a great film. But I love 28 Days Later, the classic I Walked With A Zombie, and of course Night Of The Living Dead, just to name a few. 
How have your friends and family responded to the news that you're about to star in a web series as a redneck zombie? That's not a character one sees often in this business, I imagine.  
To be a redneck zombie is original and with that said I intend to raise the bar. There's a new zombie in town, the red neck zombie! All around I've been getting tons of support, I've been doing some promoting with the series with some LA actors that I know so the buzz that is the redneck zombie is spreading like wild fire. Plus, who wouldn't want a friend who's a zombie? I mean I'm not ''Fido'' but I bet I'd be pretty handy to have around.

Let's talk zombie gore. One school of thought in horror flicks says the more blood, the more body parts, the more gruesome - the better. Another school says it's not what you see but what you don't see that makes a film terrifying. Where do you stand in this debate?

I'm a part of the school that's stuck on the fence and can't decide. Overall I prefer gore - who doesn't? - but you have to respect the suspense of what you don't see, the hidden factor. In the zombie world, I think the gore, the carnage and the overall thrill of seeing someone destroyed is what makes a zombie flick worth seeing.

Ok, for the last question let's get a bit philosophical. Almost every zombie movie has that pivotal scene where the group of survivors faces the question of how to deal with someone who's been bitten and about to turn undead. Put yourself in that scenario - what do you think you'd do?

In this situation, of course I'd care if they we're my friend, but overall in this case you need to protect yourself. So as much as I wouldn't want to, I'm going with the sure fire way to kill a zombie, they're getting shot in the head. Plus if the roles we're reversed I guarantee they would do the same thing.

Thank Brian, been great talking to you!

No problem, I'll see you guys on the big screen!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Casting Announcement: Emmy March

Even more awesome casting news today as we present Emmy March, who will play spunky and mischievous cheerleader Alanah Fey. Emmy's a relative newcomer to the small screen, but she's honed her talents for acting on stage in productions of Neil Simon's "Rumors" and Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Emmy's also been working on a modeling career for MATRIX models, and she's trained in vocal performance too.

Emmy recently did a video interview to talk about her role in CvsRZ, share her thoughts on modeling and beauty, and explain why she finds Bigfoot scary. You can watch the video here or click the image below.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Casting Announcement: Kati Salowsky

We are down to casting the last three principal performers in CvsRZ, and the news just keep getting more awesome (or "wicked" as a lot of us here in New England like to say!) To prove it, today we're announcing that one wicked cool actress will be playing uber-flirtatious and sassy cheerleader Britney Amber: the talented Kati Salowsky. Kati's an incredibly busy actress and model - you may have seen her in Seth MacFarlane's TED, on the SyFy network's "School Spirits," or in a number of  independent films: Timebender, Congratulations, Sea of Destiny, The Reservoir - just to name a few. Kati also brings some excellent skills to her role: she's got cheer experience, she's a certified personal trainer, and she can box.

Take a look at this clip from Timebender to see Kati in action!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Reliving the Living Dead: An Interview with Marsha Dietlein

Return of the Living Dead film poster.
(c) Lorimar Film Entertainment
Jason Bachand, Writer/Director CvsRZ 

For many zombie and horror movie fans, the 1980's were a golden era. The decade saw the birth and rapid growth of the "slasher" genre in the successful Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises, there were new and exciting experiments in science-fiction/horror crossovers (Aliens, Lifeforce), and an entirely new type of film - the horror comedy - was enjoying wide popularity. Many film historians credit the low-budget flick Student Bodies as 'inventing' the horror-comedy, but the fact is there were scores of highly enjoyable scary and funny horror films made in the '80s - from the cult classic Night of Creeps to the hysterically campy Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

So it was only a matter of time before zombies decided to get a little funny. George Romero's original Night of the Living Dead (1968) had spawned two sequels by 1985 (Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead), but the series remained very much in the "horror" camp - deadly serious, never funny. Most of the other zombie films of the 1970s had also stayed true to Romero's formula and, while there were some very good zombie films made during this decade, they were meant to terrorize and not to amuse.

(c) Lorimar Home Entertainment
It wasn't until 1985's Return of the Living Dead, made with Romero's permission but not his participation, that zombies finally found a sense of humor. Writer/director Dan O'Bannon found the right balance of gruesome fright with a very tongue-in-cheek sense of parody, probably best exemplified by a scene in which zombies slaughter two EMTs and then get on the ambulance radio to ask the dispatcher to "Send more paramedics." The performers all play their parts with deathly seriousness and the laughs arise organically from the plot. Audiences loved it, and the film was a financial and critical success. It now enjoys the status of being one of the definitive movies of the horror-comedy genre.

Equally funny, scary, and enduring was the immediate sequel, Return of the Living Dead Part 2 (watch the trailer for the movie here). RotLD 2 brought back the brain-eating zombies and knowing self-parody that made part one such a success, even recasting the comedic duo of Ed and Joey (Jimmy Karen and Thom Mathews) despite the fact that both of them died in part one!

RotLD2 was one of the first zombie movies I ever saw, and so it's become an integral part of how I envision a successful zombie film. I was very lucky recently to connect with RotLD 2 star Marsha Dietlein, who starred as Lucy Wilson in the film, and she graciously agreed to do an interview exclusively for all the very lucky people on the CvsRZ website.

Marsha Dietlein in character as Lucy Wilson.
(c) Lorimar Home Entertainment
Hi Marsha, thank you for taking some time to talk to us about RotLD 2. We're honored. 

You're welcome. So happy to do this!

Tell us how you became involved with the film.

I auditioned for RotLD 2.  I remember laughing when my agent called me with the audition.  It was maybe my 7th audition since I'd moved to LA.  I had to go to several callbacks and was paired up with Michael Kenworthy and Dana Ashbrook in the final audition.  We all were cast together, which was fun.

When RotLD2 was made, the "horror-comedy" was a new genre of film. Now, of course, horror-comedies are very popular - Scream, Shaun of the Dead, and Zombieland just to name a few. What's the secret to striking the right balance between funny and terrifying, in your view?
I think our film was definitely ahead of its time.  Sadly, I think it got blasted by critics and fans because they didn't like the comedy tone of the film.  I think it was Ken's (director Ken Wiederhorn) plan all along, and I liked it.  I guess the key is to play the comedy as straight as possible.  I never thought I was in a comedy, and that made it funny.  I just tried to play Lucy like I was Sigourney Weaver in Alien (laughs)! At the same time, if you were playing it straight, then it made it easier to slip into the world of horror and be scary.

"You watch your tongue boy if you like this job."
"Like this job!?"
(c) Lorimar Home Entertainment
On the subject of comedy, one of the things many fans like about RotLD2 is the duo of Ed and Joey, played by James Karen and Thom Mathews. What was it like working with them - were they as funny on set as in the film?

I adored working with Jimmy and Thommy.  Jimmy is a true gentleman.  We were working nights for so many weeks, and would all get quite punchy. Thommy was always good for a laugh.  I think they liked the tongue in cheek tone of the movie and kept coming up with silly bits to add into the movie.

They really did bring a great sense of levity to the narrative. But, while Lucy was pretty deadpan, she actually had one of the best lines in the script:  "Look, they're ugly and they're dirty and they're dumb, and I don't even care if they are dead. I hate 'em, there's no way they're touching me!" Do you remember if it took more than one take for that line, or how you decided to deliver it?

That line was my favorite line in the movie.  We did several takes as I'm pretty uncoordinated and had to load the shotgun while talking at the same time.  I really was trying to channel Ripley from Alien.  Don't think I was successful at it (laughs).

Was working on set, especially at night, particularly creepy?

Working at night made us all feel like vampires, honestly.  It was a little creepy when we filmed the graveyard stuff.  Mostly, it was just cold. It actually snowed while we were filming! I don't find zombies scary,  and I find vampires sexy, but I must admit the thing that freaks me out the most are evil spirits or possessions.  I still haven't made it through The Exorcist.  It scares the shit out of me!

The "tarman" zombie was one of the most
memorable creature effects from RotLD2.
(c) Lorimar Home Entertainment
Talking of the really scary special effects, what did you think of the "Tarman" zombie - did you actually get to see it in action, and was it as scary and revolting as it is on screen?

I didn't visit the set when they filmed Tarman. But, I'm sure he was as grotesque in person as he was onscreen.  I love the effects because there was no CGI in our movie...they were much more realistic because they had to be.  I did visit the graveyard set when all of the zombies emerge, and we all had so much fun laughing at the antics of Brian Peck, who played several of the featured zombies in the movie.

Zombies, along with vampires, are the "it" thing right now - especially with shows like The Walking Dead setting a great standard for the genre. What's the appeal of zombies, in your opinion? Why are they terrifying?

I suppose the appeal of zombies or the reason that they're terrifying is that they could be anybody. They're like the "every men" of horror films.  Anyone could be attacked by the special gas and turned into a zombie. They're also usually in gangs, so that can be a bit intimidating.

Lucy and Doc Mandel (Philip Bruns) look on while Ed
(James Karen) becomes a zombie.
(c) Lorimar Home Entertainment
The third installment of the Return of the Living Dead franchise didn't come out until five years after part two, and didn't pick up the template established by the first two. Still, was there any discussion with you about the possibility of bringing Lucy Wilson's character back?

I never heard from any of the other movies about bringing my character back, which is a bummer.  I think it would be a blast to revisit the zombie world again.

It really is a shame, since both parts one and two had such a lasting impact on the zombie movie genre. With zombies enjoying a 'revival' though, I'm curious about how you think RotLD2 paved the way for the new wave of zombie movies and horror in general.

I would like to think that ROTLD 2 paved the way for the horror/comedy genre.  It had amazing special effects. I also liked that my character was a bad ass not some wimpy girl who needed to be saved by some guy.

That was definitely a new way of portraying women in horror movies, as hero instead of constant victim. Would you do a horror film or a zombie film again if the opportunity came along?

I would gladly be in another zombie or horror film.  I had a blast doing ROTLD 2. It was my first job in the business, so I always felt very grateful that I got to do something so cool my first time out.

In addition to being a successful actress, you're also a mother. I remember how much I loved RotLD 2 as a kid. Have your own children seen it yet? What did they think? 

I have two kids, ages seventeen and ten.  My son, the seventeen-year-old, saw the movie a couple of years ago.  He loved it.  I believe his exact quote was "Mom, you were awesome!!!  That was the coolest movie I've ever seen." My ten-year-old is waiting until I say she's old enough, which will probably be around fourteen.

Marsha Dietlein continues to work
in Hollywood today. She was
recently on the show "Gossip Girl."
You've continued to have a successful acting career, and have appeared recently in the film Nice Guy Johnn" and the TV series Gossip Girl. Have you ever had a co-star say "Hey, I loved you in Return of the Living Dead 2!"

I was doing a play in NYC and working with an actor who was kind of a jerk to me until one day someone mentioned that I was the lead in ROTLD 2.  His jaw dropped and he confessed that I'd been his huge crush when he was in high school.  After that he was a doll to me and a little bit intimidated, which was much nicer!

Return of the Living Dead Part One recently got a "special edition" DVD release with a lot of bonus materials, most notably a two hour "making of" feature that included interviews with every surviving member of the cast. I think many fans would like to see part 2 get the same treatment. Has there been any talk of a DVD release or retrospective feature. Do you keep in touch with the rest of the cast?

I wish they would do a retrospective, but I haven't heard anything about it.  There is a book out, which I was interviewed for, on all of the Return of the Living Dead movies. It has tons of photos and interviews. I believe you can get it on Amazon. (you can - Ed.) I'm friends with Dana Ashbrook (who played Tom Essex) and Michael Kenworthy (played Jesse Wilson) on Facebook, but haven't seen them in years.  It's been fun to re-connect with them.  Michael sent me photos from the set that were so sweet. I'm also in touch with Robert Elswit, the director of photography for the film, and Linda Hassani, who was Ken Wiederhorn's assistant.  We'll get together and talk fondly about the experience.

Thank you Marsha, it's been a pleasure. 

Best of luck with your film!

You can read more about Marsha Dietlein's career on IMDb, and wikipedia. You can also follow Marsha on Twitter.

(c) Lorimar Home Entertainment

Monday, August 6, 2012

Casting Announcement: Taylor Kudalis

One of the most endearing characters in CvsRZ is cheerleader Blakeley Wescott, who is just a tad goofy and struggles with her academics...but she's absolutely charming and loyal to her BFFs. Who better to play that role than the similarly winsome Taylor Kudalis, former Miss New Hampshire Teen USA runner up  (voted most photogenic)! She also played Alice in "Alice in Wonderland" in her high school's production of the Lewis Carrol classic. Taylor has also been a promotional model for Nascar and Wal-Mart.. What really sold us on casting Taylor, however, was the amazing performance she turned in on her audition video. We liked it so much it's almost certain to end up being a bonus feature on a future DVD release!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Casting Announcement: Mark Burzenski

Is there anything scarier than a zombie? How about a zombie with a chainsaw? Meet Jed, aka actor Mark Burzenski. Mark is a Massachusetts-based actor who's been in The Rude, the Mad, and the Funny and was recently on the set of Baskmask. The 6'2" actor is sure to cut a frightening image as the silent zombie with the "Leatherface" persona. We're pretty sure it's going to scare the hell out of us, let alone the audience!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Interview: Kallie Tabor

Hot on the heels of yesterday's casting announcement we present an exclusive interview with Kallie Tabor. Enjoy, and make sure to leave your comments below!
Image courtesy of Eye Photography/
New England Talent.
Hi Kallie, thank you for doing this interview.
Tell us why you're an actress, and where you hope to go with your career.
I am an actress because I truly love the art of acting, and that you can become a completely different person from who you are. With my career, I hope to keep acting, and I would love to play more diverse characters, for example, an evil character.

You're also a dancer. What is it that you enjoy about ballet and dance? How did you go from cheering to dancing?
What I enjoy about dance is that you can tell a story through the choreography, really feel what you are dancing. I've been dancing since I was two, and tried cheerleading when I was twelve. Between dance and cheer, I had no time to do anything else because both schedules were so hectic, ultimately, I choose dance over cheer.
Actress, dancer - and you're also a model, as well? Have you done a lot of work as a model, and is it something you enjoy more or less than acting and dancing?
Yes, I actually just started modeling not too long ago, so I haven't done a lot yet. As of now I definitely enjoy acting more than modeling and dancing.

Ok, let's talk about CvsRZ. You're playing Sarah, who is sort of the nerdy cheerleader. Would you call yourself nerdy, and what's the nerdiest thing about you?
Yeah, I think I would call myself nerdy at times. I think the nerdiest thing about me would have to be my laugh, it's really loud sometimes.

Do you find zombies scary, or do you think some other kind of monster is scarier? What's your favorite scary movie?
I have never really found zombies that scary. I think the scariest "monster" would have to be ghosts, like in the Paranormal Activity movies, or real people, like in Orphan. My favorite scary movie would have to be The Ring, because even though I've seen it many times, it still scares me every time I watch it.

Are cheerleaders badass enough to fight off a horde of redneck zombies? What skills do cheerleaders have that could give them an advantage?
Cheerleaders are definitely tough enough to fight off redneck zombies! I think that cheerleaders could use their tumbling, and jumping skills to fight off those redneck zombies.

What was it like working with Anne Hathaway on "Bride Wars?"
It was amazing to work with Anne Hathaway on Bride Wars! She was one of the nicest people I have ever met! For example, one day we had been filming a long time, and no one had eaten, so she bought pizza for all of the cast and crew to eat.

All right, last question - the news announces a zombie outbreak. Where do you go for safety and to defend yourself? Who do you bring with you - and what one thing that you own do you make sure goes with you?
I would probably take "The Walking Dead" approach and take my family and friends to a big farm, and bring a lot of weapons. Even though I probably wouldn't need it, I would take my cell phone because I have to bring it with me everywhere I go! (laughs)
Thanks Kallie!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Casting Announcements: Kallie Tabor & Brian Farmer

Every cheerleading squad needs a "nerdy" girl - and we certainly don't mean that in a bad way! ("Nerdy" is definitely the new "cool.") Sarah Tomlinson is the bookish, introspective but totally awesome cheerleader, and only a totally awesome actress could play her. Kallie Tabor (pronounced "Kay-lee") is that actress, and we're psyched to make the official announcement that she'll be playing Sarah in our first episode of CvsRZ. Like a few of our other performers, Kallie has cheerleading experience, and she's a rising star. She was recently seen on the cover of New Hampshire's "Parenting" Magazine and in the Anne Hathaway comedy Bride Wars. You may also have seen her in the Sony Pictures project That's My Boy or on television in a commercial for Hasbro toys.

Another zombie is also joining the horde today, as we present Brian Farmer who will play redneck patriarch "Dwight." Brian's a method actor who recently appeared in the T.V. series "Boston Massacre" and the Jessica Cook thriller Mark of the Dog Rose.  As "Dwight," Brian will play father to Daryl (A.F. Grant), Yaryl (Jimmy Folco) and Rosasharn (Savannah Reinitzer) and commit the blunder that sends them all toward a very undead fate...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Casting Announcements: A.F. Grant & Jimmy Folco

Awesome casting news today, as we premiere not one but two of our redneck zombie performers!

First is up is A.F.Grant, an actor known for playing featured zombies and henchman in a number of films: Zombie Town, Chaos Unlimited, and Surrogates. He was also in the late Anna Nicole Smith's comedy film Illegal Aliens, and has director and co-producer credits on a number of projects. He'll be assuming the role of Daryl in CvsRZ, and we're really excited to have him on the cast.

Next is a newcomer to television acting, Jimmy Folco. Jimmy recently started his acting career with a small part in Backmask, and he's excited to be taking on a larger role with us. Jimmy will be playing Jed. (Fun fact: we originally wanted to borrow a gag from the TV show "Newhart" and call him "the other brother Daryl.")

With these two casting announcements we should also note that we've made our final selections and call backs for principal casting, and as of today the official casting call for Cheerleaders vs. Redneck Zombies is closed. However, do keep checking here as we may need stand-ins and extras in the future. We will also need additional talent if we proceed as a series after the pilot.