The "Zombie Hunters" project began in November, 2005. I was returning home from work one night during a heavy fog, and my street was deserted. (Executive Producer) Jeanna and I had recently bought a garden apartment in Jamaica, NY, from a man who did custom ironwork. Every opening of our apartment is locked-down with his craft, a castle-like fortress of iron and brick.
David Dianora and I had done volunteer work earlier that year for Habitat for Humanity, and we stayed in a local Pentecostal church for the duration of our tour. Everywhere inside were references to the end of the world, the "Rapture" as they called it. After a few days of this, it was hard not to think of the end of all things! So here I was, looking down the road a few times, back and forth, thinking about if this was what the end of the world might look like. I saw the bars in the distance and thought to myself that if it wasn't the Rapture, but Zombies instead, our apartment would be an ideal place to hide. I then started thinking about what an excellent movie scene that foggy street would make. All these thoughts collided at once, and the show was born.
After discussing the idea with Jeanna during our vacation in Maryland the following January, she told me straight out that if I were to do it, I just had to do it, and not to just talk about doing it. I started the first script the night we returned home, with an opening scene to pay homage to the original Night Of The Living Dead (with a New Yorker's spin to it, of course!)
I enlisted writing help from Paul Pinsdorf, who had been writing sci-fi and horror fiction for several years, and we set out to create the episodes. I wrote the character of Bates for my long-time school friend Christopher Murphy, and started plotting the storyline from start to finish. After a general casting call, Richie Martinez was the first to respond and the character of John was writen for him. David Dianora and Mark Boutros soon followed as Cinematographers, and just like that, we had a crew.
Principal photography for the show started in May, 2006, on a $399.00 Sony palmcorder, with barely four scripts written. The first scenes shot were the news interviews from Episode Two and the storm scenes for the opening credits. The newsroom greenscreen segments were filmed in August of that same year (albeit on much better equipment!)
Two weeks later, I found myself unemployed. The choice was between the mortgage or the Zombies, so filming my undead friends would have to wait. During the following four months, Paul, Boutros, and I wrote the next 13 episodes and turned everything into screenplays. It was also during this time that I heard about Mike Scardillo, one of the makeup artists from the independant film "GAP". He was hired on the spot and finally met with us only a few weeks before filming resumed in April, 2007. Bernadette McCallion of Pitch Black Dream, my friend of over 20 years, offered her considerable talents so we'd have a purely original score. Ning Ham came on as Assistant Director the following week, and Linnet Brooks and Teri Gudorp were cast as the final Hunters to round out, as Bates' puts it, the "Death Squad".
Filming of these episodes continues at a regular pace, and is scheduled to continue into 2013.
Our many thanks and unyeilding graditude to all of you who have supported us over the years, and allowed us to make our dreams come true!
Q: OK, so who are you guys REALLY?
A: Well, REALLY we’re a bunch of regular, everyday professional types who have a deep love for scary movies. During the day, we blend in seamlessly amongst the throngs of civilians. You’ve probably passed us on the street a hundred times and never even noticed.
Q: The things you do in the show look awfully real. Are you, like, shooting with real guns?
A: Although we leave it up to the viewer to decide if and when we’re using actual firearms or when it’s just made to look that way, we never cut corners in protecting the health and welfare of every person involved in the production of the show. We also would never want to be a burden to New York’s Finest. Therefore, no real firearm is ever pointed at a living person, nor will they ever used by us in a public place.
Q: Where did you guys come up with this idea?
A: Series creator Patrick Devaney has been a lifelong fan of the work of George Romero (the original “Dawn Of The Dead”, in particular). In fact, he tried for four long years from 1978-1982 to see the film, and finally did so after sneaking into a theatre when he was 13 during it’s re-release that summer.
Fast-foward twenty-three years later. While coming home from work one day, he looked down his deserted street, looked at the bars on the windows of his apartment, thought of how the bars should help in case of an emergency, and got hit with the idea: What IF it happened? What if it WAS all real? What would it look like to people, and how would it go down in a huge city like New York?
In that instant, the show was born. Everything else has been writing, planning, filming, lying, cheating, stealing, praying, and paying for it all!
Q: Can I get Carrie, Rebecca, or Nina’s cell number? They’re HOTT! Or, can U give them mine?
A: Sorry, but no. Carrie, Rebecca, and Nina have enough to handle in trying to save the world without you calling at all hours of the day and night with your drunken buddies giggling in the background.
Q: Your stupid show came on right during dinner, and I sat there and watched this girl eat someone’s intestines!! I almost puked on the rug!! What the hell is WRONG with you [EXPLETIVE DELETED] people?!?!? Is this even allowed to be shown on television???!!??
A: Why is there a TV in your dining room?
Q: Hello, and yes I have one question: what are those Zombies really eating? I saw one of them swallow. I mean, tell me, what ARE they EATING?
Q: Is that Bates’ real hair?
A: Yes, Christopher “Bates” Murphy has been sporting that look for some time!
Q: Are Billy’s and Gabby's tattoos real or just painted on to look cool?
A: All of Patrick’s and Tibbie X's tattoos and piercings are real. And yes, that's Patrick's real hair, too.
Q: All these people on the show... didn’t they work at my old high school?
A: If you’re really asking this question, the answer is probably yes.
Q: Do George Romero and Tom Savini know about the show? Did you tell them? Have they said anything positive or negative about it?
A: Although the themes and effects in the show are heavily influenced by the amazing work of these two men (as well as countless other talented horror, action, and sci-fi creators), neither of them have anything at all to do with this, or with any of us.
We have, however, met them many times over the years, and given them copies of the episodes to enjoy. You should all know that they’re both wonderful guys to talk to and are extremely kind to their dedicated (and often star-struck) fans. We're honored to be following in their footsteps.
Q: Can I be on the show?
A: It depends. The producers occasionally look for outside talent to portray characters on the show. If you wish to try out for a part, send us a letter and your resume via the show’s eMail address. Sometimes we’ll post a call for a specific role on the website. If we can use you, we’ll call you. BUT, if you just wish to be a Zombie, tell us that, too! There will always be roles for more and more of the undead in the future.
Q: I was looking out my window and saw you guys shoot someone and called the cops. Before I realized what was going on, the squad cars had already shown up. My bad. Will you accept my apology?
A: Apology accepted. Just don't do it again. And if your next question is "Are holding cells cold?", they answer is yes. Yes they are.