Typical Ohio weather. Never fails,
when you have something you want to do it is either raining, snowing,
hailing, blowing or a combination of all of those. Tonight it is
raining to beat the band and mud and puddles (read, small lakes) are
We are on the set of THE DEAD MATTER
which is filming in the MANSFIELD REFORMATORY which has been the set
for quite a few notable projects including THE SHAWSHANK REPEMPTION
and AIR FORCE ONE. Tonight though the facility has been transformed
into a zombie liar.
Director Ed Douglas of MIDNIGHT
SYNDICATE fame and his crew are hard at work on their Vampire /
Zombie epic and the inside of a part of the reformatory that has been
transformed into a chapel, actually I think this may have actually
been the chapel back when this place was still a prison, Douglas and
crew prep the one and only Andrew Divoff for a scene. Let me start
this all from the beginning of the event.
The evening starts with a tour or
Robert Kurtzman's P13 studio. Bob's lovely wife Anne takes us on an
excellent trip through the faculty and we are also treated to a
Behind the Scenes feature which introduces us to the folks
we'll be given the opportunity to talk with later in the evening.
P13 is handling all the effects on THE DEAD MATTER and the P13
offices also housed the offices for Ed and his crew. Post production
will also take place there.
Once the tour ends we all gather and
pile in cars for the trip to the prison. It is raining buckets and
it is impossible to follow the cars in the lead. We manage to find
the place though and are in complete awe at what we see. The prison
is almost completely dark with the exception of some vehicles parked
around the perimeter. The building is creepy, Gothic and horrible,
all in a good way. Once out of the car and approaching on foot the
building appears back lit with an orange haze and it looks awesome.
We enter were those who come to tour
the building arrive. And are quickly ushered into the makeup room
which is just off a small courtyard that is just as creepy as the
outside of the building. Several zombies are in the chairs getting
their finishing touches and others wander around in various stages of
completion. It is obvious by the amount of work going on in the room
that it is a busy zombie night.
The prosthetics are very well done but
we should expect nothing less from Kurtzman and Co.
We are told that ANDREW DIVOFF is on
set tonight as is JASON CARTER. Very cool.
After a while we are told it is time to
head to set. We are led up a very narrow, twisting staircase that
leads us to a waiting area with various rooms and corridors that branch
off it. Also leading off is a staircase that enters into the chapel
where the crew is hard at work. We climb the stairs and find
ourselves in a huge, cavernous room with giant pillars. The paint is
all peeled off the walls. The area is stark and bleak.
At he far end of the room stands ANDREW
DIVOFF looking very different with a blond/grey wig.
He is holding court over an army of
zombies. The scene is set up like this:
DIVOFF holds up his hand in which he
holds some kind of jewel that is lit up. The zombies all gather
around him, slowly shuffling towards him and gathering around him.
They rehearse it several times and then
go for a take. It comes off very well and they move onto the next
While they set up the next scene we are
given the opportunity to interview some of the cast. Everyone is
very kind and excited to be involved with the project. We'll have
audio interviews with everyone for you soon so keep it here for
We are told that the next shot is set
and head back up the stairs into the chapel. In this scene DIVOFF is
reacting to a creature that isn't there. I am assuming that what he
is reacting to will be added via CGI in post. DIVOFF is a very
talented actor and it is great watching react to a menace that is not
there. Same process as before on this one, a couple of rehearsals
and then a take.
At some point while we're standing
around a crew member points out that one of the rooms we've been
wandering around in was used in THE SHAWSHANK REPEMTION. It was the
room used in the scene when BROOKS hangs himself. Very cool to be
standing a room that is a part of film history.
We are told to head outside, it's time
to BLOW THINGS UP!!
We are led back out into the parking
lot where some junk cars have been towed in and are in the process of
being placed on top of one another. A fire truck is now also on set.
By now it is almost midnight.
I don't know about you folks but I work
a day job and I'm still 1 ½ hours home and they decide to eat
before they blow things up. I make the call to call it a night and
head home so I will have to miss the exploding cars.
We learn the next day that the horrible
rain that we battled all night actually had led to some of the worst
flooding in years in that area. I'm sure that you all heard about on
the national news. Crazy. Just a few miles from where we were was
completely under water.
THE DEAD MATTER is filming for the next
few weeks. They mentioned that they were about half way through the
shoot. Douglas appears very focused and knows exactly what he is
looking for and seemed to be getting it. From what I witnessed THE
DEAD MATTER seems to be one that we most definitely want to keep a
very close eye on.
Here is a brief synopsis that I pulled
from the films official site:
The Dead Matter tells the story of a vampire relic with
occult powers that falls into the hands of a grief-stricken young
woman who will do anything to contact her dead brother.
Midnight Syndicate will score the film and plans to release multiple
soundtrack CDs in conjunction with the tentative film release date in
"This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for us, having
worked 10 years toward the goal of positioning ourselves to remake
The Dead Matter in a large-budget, full-scale production,"
said Douglas. "we've taken our time to fully develop the
story, and attract top talent, to deliver the best film possible for
both our current fans and all fans of the horror genre."
Gavin Goszka, The Dead Matter music supervisor, added, "The
soundtrack CD will be in the style of Midnight Syndicate releases,
and integrate new material and atmospherics to allow listeners to
explore the dark and supernatural world created in the film."
As I stated above, we conducted several
interviews that night so keep an eye to the site as we'll be positing
them up in the coming weeks.
Click here to head over to the official
site for the film.
Click here to visit the site for P13
Check out some more shots from the evening below.
All Photos By PATRICK DESMOND