CHRIST­MAS PRE­VIEW

Fes­tive fan­cies jin­gling your way.

Total Film - - Contents - JG

If you watch one Scot­tish zom­bie Christ­mas mu­si­cal this year, it has to be Anna And The Apoc­a­lypse, the movie that’s been draw­ing com­par­isons to Shaun Of The Dead and hoover­ing awards as fast as it hoses blood on the fes­ti­val cir­cuit.

“My favourite mu­si­cal is South Park: Big­ger, Longer & Un­cut, but I didn’t know mu­si­cals that well be­fore I came on board – you’d have had to take me kick­ing and scream­ing,” grins di­rec­tor John McPhail, whose pre­vi­ous rom­com Where Do We Go From Here? won him the chance to pitch for the gig. “So I had to watch countless mu­si­cals. I fell in love with West Side Story – the cut­ting, the cin­e­matog­ra­phy, the move­ment – but I only lasted 10 min­utes of High School Mu­si­cal.”

Anna (Ella Hunt) is a teen liv­ing in the sleepy town of Lit­tle Haven. She longs to get out but ex­cite­ment, not to men­tion ter­ror, comes to her when a zom­bie apoc­a­lypse hits town on the night of the school Christ­mas con­cert.

“We filmed in a wee place called Port Glas­gow,” says McPhail. “It’s rough as fuck but the Clyde runs through it and it’s got these rolling hills. It was per­fect: nice res­i­den­tial streets, parks, a school that we could base the pro­duc­tion in… And the lo­cals were great. They were so up for it.”

What Anna lacks in bud­get it makes up for in verve, blend­ing char­ac­ters you care about with dy­namic di­rec­tion, big laughs, a big­ger heart, truly ter­rific num­bers writ­ten by Scot­tish singer­song­writ­ers Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly, nods to Romero, Raimi and Car­pen­ter, a boo-hiss school prin­ci­pal in the form of Paul Kaye, and foun­tains of the red stuff.

“I wanted prac­ti­cal gore,” says McPhail, who’s a proud genre nerd. “I love hor­ror, and I am not go­ing to alien­ate ‘my peo­ple’.” In­deed, the kills are ick­ily in­ven­tive crowd-pleasers, with the de­cap­i­ta­tion of a zom­bie wear­ing an out­sized snow­man out­fit even win­ning To­tal Film’s ‘Best Death’ award at hor­ror fes­ti­val Fright­Fest. “It was fun,” says McPhail, grin­ning once more. “Lop­ping off a snow­man’s head and get­ting a blood can­non in there...”

ETA |30 NOVEM­BER/ ANNA AND THE APOC­A­LYPSE OPENS NEXT MONTH.

SCHOOL'S OuT Christ­mas car­nage at the school con­cert; Ella Hunt as Anna (be­low).

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