A few weeks ago, a Fedex package arrived at my house containing some DVDs. Now, this is nothing new to me since I’ve started writing for this site. I love the fact that somebody wants me to watch a film and write about it, and it’s one of the greatest perks of having a gig at a horror movie site. However, one of the films inside has some of the greatest box art I’ve seen (Pictured to the right) in a long time.
I’ve seen attempts at combining robotics with zombies (namely, the Return of the Living Dead franchise has tried this twice-Part 3 was a great adaptation, but Necropolis was just awful). My imagination went wild, and I made a point to watch this film immediately.
Unfortunately, The Zombinator was much like the first Terminator. We get a lot of the main character (Joseph Aviel) acting like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and we see the idea set up, but…no robot zombie hybrid. Sigh…
The Zombinator is a found footage horror film directed by Sergio Myers (although Myers will disagree with you on it being found footage. Director Myers has an interesting back story to the film, which was shot in just 4.5 days:
“Do not be mistaken The Zombinator is NOT a found footage movie. This is the new era of cinema verite. Most of my career has been a documentary filmmaker and reality television creator/producer where I tell the story with the camera using improvisation. The Zombinator was filmed with observational-style cinema, wherein throughout the movie it always feels as though we are observing what is happening much like Project X (except without the large budget). I combined this with the method of having the filmmaker and subject interact, along with always acknowledging the presence of the camera. I felt this was the ideal method to use in 4.5 days. When you combine the fact there was no script and I had multiple locations with a few hundred extras and 10 main cast members, this concept was quite an undertaking. When you film with this style, you are very limited to how you’re able to actually film the movie—i.e. you cannot stay too long on a closeup of a zombie and so on. What I think has been lost in the new era of American cinema is filmmakers pushing the boundaries like they did withDogma and, of course, the beginning of cinema verita in the 1950s. In recent years, however, this style has been used in television, including The Office, Veep, Trailer Park Boys and Curb Your Enthusiasm, to name a few.”
While on a shoot for a fashion magazine, a crew stumbles upon the zombie apocalypse and can only be saved by The Zombinator (a mysterious soldier that appears and defends them). The Zombinator (in reality) was a fashion blog shoot where Myers found himself with abandoned locations in Youngstown, a couple hundred extras, and 4 days to make a zombie film. It’s an interesting take that borrows from Return of the Living Dead, Planet Terror, and Diary of the Dead, blends those up, and mixes that with some Terminator stuff.
We were lucky enough to catch up with director Sergio Myers, and he was gracious enough to answer our questions. The Zombinator is now available on DVD.
SCARETISSUE: The Zombinator is your directorial debut, and you made some very interesting decisions about the film. Props to you for taking chances right out of the gate. What did you learn about film making while making it? Any regrets?
SERGIO: What did I learn, well I did learn that the zombie followers can be extremely loyal yet brutal to the filmmaker haha. Reading the reviews for me have become a comic tragedy of sorts. I simply pour a glass of scotch and have a read. Some are so horribly hilarious I just have to applaud them for their creativity. I love their loyalty and yet lack of compassion. I think if you ask any artist if they regretted or would change something after, the answer would be yes. Art in any form is never complete.
ST: How exactly do you go from filming a fashion segment for FrockOn.com to making a zombie movie?
SERGIO: It’s the same answer for any project I’ve ever made from Sorority Life on MTV to The Zombinator; I just had a feeling, something sparked and I thought “well ok this would make for a great zombie movie”.
ST: I must say I was disappointed we didn’t get to see a zombie/terminator hybrid. Any chance for a sequel exploring this?
SERGIO: The idea behind the first Zombinator movie franchise was always to set up the main characters and the story plot, basically the first outbreak. The second Zombinator movie will expand on the main characters and the hybrid.
ST: In most zombie films, the military is almost never portrayed in a good way. Why do you think this is?
SERGIO: I think it has to do with the fact a lot of crazy shit goes on that we don’t have a clue about. In my film, the military aren’t the bad guys ultimately the corporations were and used some of the military as lab rats.
ST: Now that you got your feet wet with The Zombinator, what can we expect from you in the future?
SERGIO: Probably a lot of crazy unique and experimental shit that people love to hate until that style becomes popular lol. I’m currently pre pre production for Zombie League and maybe Zombinator 2.