Local zombie film brings boozy, experimental twist to genre

Trevor Whitney

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The first zombie apocalypse action-comedy written and shot drunk made its premiere Saturday at 1078 Gallery.

Local filmmaker Joshua Siegel joined co-writer and actress Cat Campbell for the release of the short film, appropriately titled “Dead Drunk,” which also included a screening of two of his previous films.

“Don’t ask me how much I had to drink,” Campbell said, “because I have no idea.”

While the film might not be the first or second to use the “Dead Drunk” title, which has also been used for games and novels, it certainly brings its own twisted, tipsy flavor to the genre.

Since “Dead Drunk” is only nine minutes long, two of Siegel’s previous films were shown first: “TOXIN” and “Dream Raiders: Mission Zero.” All were released under his production company, Arcadian Entertainment, founded in 2001.

“TOXIN” is about a critically-poisoned vagina-puncher’s attempt to earn his antidote in exchange for the murder of Andre, a dreadlock-sporting quasi-French stoner doing his best Antonio Banderas impression.

“Dream Raiders: Mission Zero,” is essentially a nine-minute chase scene through dream portals that features a Darth Vader-Obi Wan Kenobi style fight scene, reminiscent of “A New Hope” rather than “Revenge of the Sith,” and the strangulation of what appears to be the boogeyman.

The films were like two-thirds of a pepperoni pizza — abundantly cheesy, yes, but out of necessity. Because even a lactose intolerant will tell you that pizza is not the same without the cheese.

“Dead Drunk” stars Campbell, co-writer and actress, as a racist redneck alongside a sexually-confused So-Cal bro, his hashtag-spewing blonde girlfriend, a stoner wielding a baseball bat-turned-smoking-apparatus and a laser gun gunslinger named Chief.

The gang assembles by chance as they attempt to desperately escape “The Walking Dead”style zombies by arriving at a seemingly-abandoned shed somewhere in America.

They eventually discover that drunkenness is brainlessness, and brainlessness is safety, given the zombies’ thirst for brains. But three-fifths of the group is eaten before that point, leaving the stoner and social media whore drunk in love among their comrades’ corpses, ignored.

The movie’s plethora of great one-liners had the audience laughing throughout. The over-the-top character stereotypes and gory action paired with a satisfying amount cursing and overall drunkenness held the interest of all 40 or so in attendance from the beginning of the film through the end of the behind-the-scenes clips, which ended up being the highlight of the night.

The clips feature an increasingly-drunk Campbell and Siegel hilariously explaining their creative process among tangents and story ideas, as well show cast members dancing and drinking and just having plain, cheap fun.

“There wasn’t really a budget,” Siegel said following the screening. “Maybe like 200 bucks for food and booze.”

Campbell added that this was way less than the other films’ budgets.

Obviously it’s unfair to compare the quality of a locally-produced film to one that’s played internationally in theaters, but that’s not to say that the film didn’t look professional. Remember, cheesiness: Siegel’s films know not to take themselves too seriously, and are better for it.

Trevor Whitney can be reached at [email protected] or @nicegrandmas on Twitter.

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