By Dave Dreher

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Aug 26, 2007, 8:24 pm

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 everywhere

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 shot.

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 those.

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 2008.

"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 Entertainment.

Check out some more shots from the evening below.



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