ZOM­BIE SHUF­FLE

Shaun Of The Dead meets High School Mu­si­cal in zom­bie com­edy

SFX - - Red Alert -

Shaun Of The Dead meets Strictly in Anna And The Apoca­lypse.

IT BE­GAN LIFE AS A SHORT

1 “The idea was the brain­child of Ryan McHenry,” ex­plains Scot­tish di­rec­tor John McPhail. “Ryan made a short called Zom­bie Mu­si­cal, af­ter watch­ing High School Mu­si­cal and think­ing, ‘Wouldn’t it be amaz­ing if Zac Efron got chased by zom­bies?’ So they shot the short and won a New Tal­ent BAFTA and they wanted to turn it into a fea­ture.” Trag­i­cally, McHenry died from bone can­cer in 2015, so McPhail stepped in as di­rec­tor af­ter pro­ducer Nay­sun Alae-Carew saw his 2015 com­edy Where Do We Go From Here.

IT’S A TRICKY BAL­ANC­ING ACT

2 The story cen­tres on a group of Bri­tish teenagers, led by Ella Hunt’s Anna, whose prepa­ra­tions for a Christ­mas mu­si­cal are in­ter­rupted by the zom­bie apoca­lypse. It’s a strange idea, but Hunt says there’s some­thing here for ev­ery­one. “If you like mu­si­cals, you’re go­ing to be happy, if you like hor­ror, you’re go­ing to be happy, if you like com­ing-of-age sto­ries, you’re go­ing to be happy. And if you don’t like one of the three, you’re go­ing to be okay, be­cause there’s enough of the oth­ers.”

THE HU­MOUR IS RE­LAT­ABLE

3 One of the film’s best jokes has the char­ac­ters ar­gu­ing over which celebri­ties are still alive, which are dead and which are zom­bies – “Tay-tay is NOT dead, you take that back!” That streak of hu­mour was a key fac­tor for Hunt. “What I like about our zom­bie movie,” she says, “is we never try to work out how the zom­bies got there. I think au­di­ences and film­mak­ers of­ten get dis­tracted by go­ing, ‘Where? How? Why?’ in­stead of en­joy­ing a hu­man re­ac­tion to some­thing com­pletely sur­real. So there’s plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­edy.”

THERE’S A SANTA NUM­BER

4 Song­writ­ers Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly have put a lot of ef­fort into get­ting the songs right, with the sort of sound­track that will have you rush­ing to Spo­tify af­ter­wards. How­ever, one song stands head and shoul­ders above the rest. As Hunt ex­plains, “Marli Siu, who plays Lisa, has this Santa song that’s laden with in­nu­endo. I loved it from the top.” Red Alert has seen the scene and can con­fi­dently con­firm it’s a YouTube hit wait­ing to hap­pen.

THE DI­REC­TOR’S A HOR­ROR FAN

5 “I was weaned on hor­ror,” McPhail says. “When I was grow­ing up, my mother used to come in and be like, ‘Night Of The Liv­ing Dead is start­ing on Chan­nel 4!’” McPhail also drew on John Car­pen­ter, Evil Dead and The Rocky Hor­ror Pic­ture Show. “I tried to get ev­ery­body on set to watch The Hap­pi­ness Of The Katakuris by Takeshi Mi­ike,” he re­calls. “I said, ‘It’s the orig­i­nal zom­bie mu­si­cal!’ but they were all like, ‘I don’t know if I want to watch that.’ I think there was only one guy who watched it in the whole pro­duc­tion!” MT

Anna And The Apoca­lypse is in cin­e­mas from 30 No­vem­ber.

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