Turned into a movie set and taken over by teenage zombies
Horror. I was only nine when she got me watching creepy
directing this one. “If you’d have tried to take me to a musical before I made this you’d be taking me kicking and screaming,” he laughs, adding: “My favourite musical was South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut…”
John admits he’s now fully fallen in love with the genre and hails the cinematography of West Side Story and the fun of Legally Blonde. Anna And The Apocalypse sees La La Land meet Shaun Of The Dead, so was it a challenge for John to bring the zombie, Christmas and musical elements into one melting pot?
“The way I wanted to workitwasthatthefirst15 minutes would be just the High School Musical meets Shaun Of The Dead in Port Glasgow cemetery.
Ella Hunt, 20, plays Anna. The actor grew up in Devon and left mainstream schooling at 14 to train in performance. She said: “School was a funny time for me. I think in the UK in particular young people are opposed to being overtly aspirational. They call you cocky or weird, and as a kid who has always loved performing and knew what I wanted to do and was open about it, that wasn’t always appreciated.
“There was a strange feeling of being back in school. I loved it. And unlike school, I’ve got a whole group of best friends. It was a bit of a healing process.”
Inverness actor Malcolm Cumming, 27, plays Ella’s love interest, John.
He acknowledged the late Ryan’s influence on the work as it developed.
“The producers were very open about what it was like for them to work with Ryan and taking that original idea forward,” he said. “There was a sense that this was something special – these people kids, no zombies,” John explains. “That’s the way I like to tell stories. I like you to know who the characters areandwantyoutolove and champion them. “From there, we can then get off and running and be as crazy as we wanted and haveasmuchfunaswe wanted. These kids are just incredible… well, I call worked with him, they were his friends. Ryan’s parents came on set and saw how far something he created had gone.”
Ella added: “The legacy that Ryan Mchenry has left is encouraging a whole bunch of young creatives to go into a career in filmmaking and to do it boldly. It’s about believing in each other. Maybe we aren’t a big studio, maybe we haven’t done everything that people in movies across the Atlantic say we’re supposed to do – but let’s just do it.”
One of the movie’s major strengths is the soundtrack penned by Glasgow songwriters Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly, produced by top indie producer Paul Savage, more used to polishing the work of Calvin Harris and Franz Ferdinand than a high school musical about zombies.
St Stephen’s was no Hogwarts, no mistake.
But I learned and laughed a lot there – and had a few narrow escapes, believe me. I’m just grateful my mates and I made it out alive.
Anna And The Apocalypse is released on November 30. them kids but they’re in their twenties! But they’re my kids and from the moment that they all met they just fell in love with each other and it was amazing.
“They came in together for rehearsals and they all felt like they were back at high school again, running about the corridors causing chaos. They were all made-up in blood playing switch and scrabble in the green rooms and the energy and enthusiasm they brought to every scene was just incredible.
“We’d be two hours behind, the rain coming down and it’s freezing cold, but they always delivered with enthusiasm!”
Blood on the walls as Paul English revisits the movie shooting in his old school, left, and Ella Hunt stars as Anna, main and below