Zombie film cast had a blast

Gary Ow and cast of new movie 'Hsien of the Dead' to be released in September this year.

A made-in-Singapore zombie comedy about "the walking dead" may inject some life into local cinema.

Shot entirely with a handheld Canon EOS 7D camera and wireless Sennheiser body microphones, Hsien Of The Dead is set for its theatrical release.

Inspired by the 2004 British horror comedy Shaun of the Dead, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, it follows a group of survivors trying to escape Singapore after an epidemic that has turned most people into zombies.

Rated NC16, the 73-minute indie flick will be shown at Shaw Lido, Hall 9, from Sept 13-15 at 7.30pm.

Its director, co-producer and writer Gary Ow, 34, told FiRST: "I wanted to do a zombie movie because it hadn't been done before, and in the movie business you have to do stuff that's new, unique and different."

Funding

But since the genre is niche, it was tough for Ow to reel in sponsorship and funding for his S$350,000 debut feature film that was completed in a month.

Finishing Hsien Of The Dead and getting an audience to like it was a "personal goal" for him.

But he also recognises the impossibility of breaking even over the course of a mere three screenings.

Ow hopes Hsien Of The Dead will attract fans of zombies, comedies and computer games - those "between 16 and 28" who "would enjoy the usual slapstick mixed with a bit of horror".

About 20 per cent of the budget was spent on props, make-up, costumes, special effects and viral marketing.

He said: "The secret to getting a movie done is planning, so if you arrange all your ducks in a row - which include talent, crew, cast, equipment, props - it tends to come together fairly quickly.

"The only time when we experienced delay was one day when there was bad weather, and I don't like delays, so we ended up making do with the green screen in our studio."

But that didn't stop the Hsien Of The Dead cast from having a blast.

US actor Darrell Britt - who plays lead zombie Mas Alamak, a terrorist who eventually contracts the zombie virus and becomes the leader of the clan - described his experience as "unforgettable and absolutely hilarious".

He said: "I particularly enjoyed filming the scene where I'm in jail and I'm being interrogated by the authorities and Gary's writing in that part is absolutely hilarious."

Female lead Vivienne Tseng, who plays mixed martial arts fighter Ah Huay, added: "I had to walk around Orchard Road in a Sailor Moon costume and at the same time, shield my bottom because the impossibly short skirt kept threatening to fly (up) due to the strong wind."

Hsien Of The Dead also stars Ernest Seah, Moses San Juanand Nurhuda Choo.

crobert@sph.com.sg

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