Due to my lack of qualifications I was unable to study media of film at City of Sunderland College. All I ever wanted to do is make films. As a kid I watched all genres, especially horror and action films with over the top publicity stills and packaging. Growing up and watching B movies made me think if those guys could do it so could I. Because I didn't get into college I had to get a full time job. I refused to let my ambition die. I wrote as many scripts and treatments as I could. I bought every book on directing and writing I could find. One Christmas my mum bought me my first camera. I didn't know what to do with it. I thought the best way is to just do it and learn from my mistakes. To immerse my self in the art with which I had spent a life time studying. I got some friends together and we started work on my first film. It was called NOIR, a black and white short with giallo elements. I just did what I thought was right, trying out various techniques and styles. I soon learned working with friends on films can sometimes be a bad idea. They'd be late or not turn up. This happened on my first few projects. But I'd use the footage in something else. Roger Corman's one of my heroes and he's the master at patch work film making. A colleague introduced to a boom operator and he got me some work on a couple of shorts and a feature. I met professional actors who were interested in doing some scenes for their show reels. Decidning that I should go straight into a feature, my first film was entitled "DIA DEL GIALLO" (Day of the Yellow). Giallo is one of my favourite genres. I love all the elements and uniqueness of it. Through studying Giallo movies I wrote a 240 page script. I raised £300 which to me was a large amount to spend on film. I sold my videos and anything I could to keep it going. I didn't have any crew on most of the days. But I loved every minute; having to multi task, some scenes I'd do the SFX, grab the mike with one hand and move the tripod with the other. I think this the best way to learn skills. If you want your movie done you have to push your limitations. DDG had quite a big cast and required some scenes of extreme violence. Luckily I found an SFX artist to help with more elaborate set pieces. Due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances DDG was never completed. In three years we shot two different versions one 70% the other 90% complete. During these three years I made shorts and a feature called With Evil Intent 4-Annhilation. The previous WEI's were shorts. When DDG fell though I realise that maybe I'd jumped the gun by doing something way out of my league. I wanted to do something different. Then I met Ken Mood who auditioned for a role in DDG. Franco Nero is my favourite actor, and his film High Crime is my favourite cop film. As a homage I decide to do a comedy remake with Ken as Nero's character. Ken had Franco's eyes but not his voice. Ken had a high pitched voice that was one of a kind. I wrote the script and called it A Home for the Bullets. The film gained a minor cult hit here due to its interesting acting style and on screen lunacy. Instead of trying to make a serious film I made a comedy. I never told the lead actors it was going to be a comedy. Ken has played Axel Falcon in 7 other spin off films since. After my next film Serpentiods I'm returning to the giallo genre for Ruby Rain.
Q: THE LAST ZOMBI HUNTER is very ambitious for such a low-budget production. What inspired you to make the movie?
I was shooting A Home for the Bullets and A Grave for the Corpses back to back in 2005 and I decided to shoot a film with the drama students who played the zombis in AGFTC. At first I was going to do a sequel to AGTFC shot it over days and re use footage from the first one. I wanted one of the villains Sadist Sam from AHFTB to be the focus of the main villain in Last Zombi Hunter. The title was changed into the Last Zombi Hunter during production and was named after the Italian film THE LAST HUNTER. We deliberately spelt zombi the Italian way as our homage to their classic zombi films of the 80's and modelled the plot on the film CREEPOZOIDS. The film had a much darker tone than AGFTC and AHFTB which had a more all-out comedic tone. This one has comedy but can at times be too grim to laugh at. Because the budget was non-existent we shot the film over 4 days and used left over props from AGFTC and they managed to stretch the course of filming. This was about 6 years ago now and the film was left alone for a while due to focusing on releasing AGFTC, AHFTB and other projects. I revived the shoot last year with new scenes of gore and zombie action. The new footage showed how we had progressed as film-makers and offered audiences an exciting new sequence which looked polished in comparison with the rest of the movie. The film is meant to be nothing more than entertainment . It had no planning, had no script but everyone chipped in and worked hard. Some days we'd only have a few hours daylight so scenes had to improvise. I learnt so much those four days. It shows that just getting a camera, a few actors and one location a feature is possible on little or no money. The overall film cost £25.
Q: How did you go about casting the movie?
It mainly consisted of college students I used as zombies on "A Grave for the Corpses", we gathered a group of 7 who where able to commit to the 4 days time scale we had allotted to filming. The casting process was handled by myself, and when deciding when and how the characters would died we simply picked death scenes out of a hat and distributed them accordingly. Tony Hickson who played Sadist Sam was only available for a couple of days which added to the all round frantic energy of the shoot.
Q: How did you go about getting all those zombie extras? There are a lot!
For the original shoot Sebastian Fumeleau, one of the actors, gathered together a group of friends to come along to the shoot to get covered in blood. We had enough people to create the illusion of an army of zombies and it was extremely fun meeting enthusiastic new people and deciding different ways they would meet their end..
For the new footage film critic and reviewer Neil Young helped me place a casting call for zombies on BBC radio and website. Through that, local press, facebook and word of mouth we managed to bag almost a hundred zombie extras over two days work. They came complete with zombie make-up and the desire to be covered in gore. It was really exhilarating to be directing such a large amount of people. The aim was to kill off each and every one of them. The forest location we used was practically dyed red by the time the shoot was over.
Q: I liked the location--was that an abandoned building?
It was shot above a pub in Newcastle. Above the pub were about three floors of unused space. It was dilapidated, run down and perfect for the shoot. We simply asked the staff of the pub permission and they kindly let us shoot up there and had no problem with us covering the place with fake blood. I used the location in many films but soon everyone started using it and they started charging £50 a day. I thought I could make a feature on that.
I thought the special effects were quite good, especially the flashes from the guns and when people and zombies were being shot. And the over the top ones, like the electrocution. Who did your effects?
The fx were by John Scott. I met him after I sent a copy of A Grave for the Corpses when he bought a dvd off me on Ebay. I always sent a copy of my films whenever I sell something. He contacted me and asked if there's any way he could help me with my films. LZH was the closest thing I had to completion. I sent him footage though MSN and within days he sent me the scenes back. I can't praise him enough 100% professional and reliable. He did an amazing job. The special effects really helped the film as it took the extremes to a new level and impressed the audiences. We are working with John on our next projects.
Q: What was the most difficult aspect about the production?
The shoot itself was a pleasure to be a part of, however the time scale we had caused some difficulty. The main problem came with the music and getting it in synch to fit the movie. It took composer Alex Campbell a couple of attempts at times but he got it in the end. I had collaborated with many sound technicians before working with Alex but none were able to grasp the ambience I wanted.
Q: Lloyd Kaufman also has a cameo at the beginning of the movie. Did you have someone in NYC shoot that?
No, Lloyd was doing his 'make your own damn movie' master class in London. I asked him on a lunch break if he'd be willing to shoot a little scene for me to use in "A home for the bullets". He happily obliged and even let me use footage from TROMA'S WAR in the opening of the film. Naturally I used the Lloyd footage in again " A gave for the corpses" and "Last zombie Hunter" as his name carries great value in the world of independent film making.
It was also at the master class that I met my partner in crime of Stefan Gore/ Britsploitation Entertainment productions, Thomas Lee Rutter. Rutter was making the feature films MR. BLADES and FEAST FOR THE BEAST. He came up to Newcastle to shoot 2nd unit, additional shots and also had a hand in the blood effects on the first shoot. Between us we have completed 7 feature films and are currently shooting a new film together called SERPENTOIDS. The story consists of snake people emerging from their cave lair to do battle with a warrior ape man named WARAPE. Lots of bodies hit the floor in the process. It's going to be a lot of fun.
Q: How can people get the movie?
I am selling copies myself for the time being in the process of looking for a possible distributor. We have self distributed all of our past movies. Some We have had some difficulty with distributors in the past, so we thought it was the best option to make some money back on printing and selling DVDs ourselves. We don't make much profit and break-even most of the time but something is telling us to continue making these films! You can order DVD's by emailing either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For shorts, trailer and previews go to youtube.com/user/STEFANGORE or youtube.com/user/britsploitation