From the co-writer/co-director of Kolobos comes a film entitled Last Rites, which is currently being filmed in LA as we speak. The independent feature tells the story of rival street gangs battling a zombie plague in downtown Los Angeles. Inside you will find the full press release on the film, which includes all the details…
HOLLYWOOD, Calif.– Outside Productions has set a November start-date for the urban horror film Last Rites.
The independent feature tells the story of rival street gangs battling a zombie plague in downtown Los Angeles. “With Last Rites we’re trying to merge two film genres that excite us: old- school zombie horror, and gangster films,” says writer/director Duane Stinnett. “Think Night of the Living Dead in the inner city, with a Training Day urban vibe.”
The film opens with a bang as a mysterious space-virus contaminates the City of Angels. “We start in an unusual location for an urban movie,” Stinnett explains. “Outer space. Seems there’s a meteor shower over the western U.S. A small meteor hits the L.A. River, takes down a bridge, blows the whole place to hell — and unleashes a virus that turns those who breathe it into flesh-eating ghouls.”
Caught up in the carnage are two warring gangs: one Hispanic, from the barrios of East LA, and the other African-American, from the streets of South Central. At the outset of the story, the rival factions are in an abandoned warehouse for a meeting with a mercenary arms dealer…and both groups are under surveillance by the LAPD. This tense situation explodes when the gangbangers and cops find themselves under siege by the masses of the undead. The film builds to an explosive climax in which the survivors must find a way to escape the deathtrap of horror and violence.
“We wanted to see what would happen when you put mortal antagonists into a pressure cooker and sealed the lid nice and tight,” Stinnett says. “The characters now have a common enemy — are they going to work together, or are they going to keep their old rivalries in the face of this new situation?”
The creative team behind Last Rites brings a considerable amount of experience to the project. Stinnett is an award-winning 3D Art Director and animator with over ten years’ experience in visual effects and video games; his previous work includes the games Starcraft, Diablo, True Crime: Streets of LA and Warcraft. He co-wrote the Last Rites screenplay with producer Krisann Shipley; the duo previously collaborated on The Curio Trunk, an acclaimed 35mm spec pilot starring Frank Gorshin and James Hong, which aired on Starz/Encore and PBS.
Co-producer Todd Ocvirk is best known for co-directing the gory cult hit Kolobos, a profitable York Entertainment release which took Best Picture and Best Directing honors at L.A.’s Screamfest 2002.
FX wizard Rob Hall of Almost Human (Buffy, Angel) provides the film’s bloody makeup effects. “We have a guy that gets nailed by a truck and literally explodes,” Ocvirk says. “And in a nod to Romero’s Day of the Dead, another guy’s head is pulled apart like a Thanksgiving turkey. Throats get ripped out and limbs are torn off so there will definitely be moments to satiate gore fans. I’m glad my friends at Almost Human are onboard because I know they’ll make everything look f*^%ing cool.”
“We’re walking the line between the over-the-top tone of Return of the
Living Dead, Evil Dead, and Dead Alive, and the more somber apocalyptic style of the Romero movies,” Stinnett says. “There will be tons of effects and gore,” adds Shipley, “but we’re also going for some depth on these characters. We spent months on the script making sure that, as bad as some of these people are, they’re identifiable, real, and sympathetic.”
The cast features Noel Guglielmi (Training Day, Fast and the Furious), Enrique Almeida, Danny Martinez, Ethan Ednee, Ryan King, James C. Burns, Steve Basilone, Cazimir Milostan, Janine Foster, Michelle Perdue and a cameo by genre favorite Reggie Bannister (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep). Yasu Tanida has signed on as director of photography. While the production will be shot on 24p hi-def, director Stinnett says that his use of digital effects will be sparing.
“We’re doing everything practical that we can…the zombies will be the freakiest looking people we can find, done up to look like walking corpses; they’re not computer-generated. We’re just using the computer to make the masses of undead bigger, to give the whole thing a larger scale that we couldn’t otherwise achieve on our budget.”
“We’re throwing the gauntlet down with this one,” says Stinnett. “No one wants this movie to kick ass more than we do, and we’ve got the balls, talent and drive to make sure Last Rites grabs you by the throat and twists your head all the way around.”
For more information visit www.LastRitesTheMovie.com