Local premiere planned for Anson zombie flick - Wadesboro NC
WADESBORO — Zombies are coming to Anson County.
This Saturday, the Ansonia Theatre will screen “Hank Vs. The Undead,” a zombie horror-comedy filmed in Anson and Guilford counties by Anson native and first-time filmmaker Dan Sellers.
In the movie, a group of friends go on a camping trip that goes horribly wrong when the zombie apocalypse begins, and Hank and Greta have to fight off the undead hordes. Unfortunately for them, Hank is a coward, complicating their bid for survival.
Sellers, the film’s director, said it’s always been his dream to make a movie.
“I just always thought that that was something I wasn’t capable of doing, and eventually I just got to the point where I said it’s something I want to do, and if I don’t do it now I probably won’t ever get it done,” he said. “So I just set out to make it happen.”
The new filmmaker bought a camera along with editing and special-effects software, and began writing a script, taking a year and a half to complete the project.
“You could call it a low-budget film, but I like to call it a no-budget film, because it had such a small budget,” Sellers said. “They call it a micro-budget film. Making it happen on such a small budget, I had to write it like that — I had to write it like with what could happen, then be creative and make it happen.”’
The cast and production team includes a mix of trained and untrained actors — friends, family and people who responded to his casting calls through talent agencies and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
“I enlisted the talent of a special-effects makeup artist who worked at the Woods of Terror in Greensboro,” Sellers said. “We were able to use that as a connection to film at the Woods of Terror for the finale, which had about 50 zombies.”
The title character of Hank is played by Colton Snodgrass.
Sellers was inspired by the cult classic “Evil Dead II,” a 1987 comedy horror film that was also partially filmed in Wadesboro. In “Evil Dead II,” Ash and his girlfriend Linda visit what they think is an abandoned cabin in the woods. Their romantic getaway turns into a struggle for survival when they are attacked.
Sellers was able to include a nod to the classic in his own film.
“One scene is particularly special to me because we were able to film on the property of the original cabin where ‘Evil Dead II’ was filmed,” Sellers said, adding that the cabin is “hallowed ground” for horror movie buffs. “I was able to use my connections in Anson to get it as a scene in the film.”
Currently, “Hank” has screened at multiple theaters, including at the campus of Greensboro College, where several scenes were shot. It has been submitted to more than a dozen film festivals and has been accepted to one so far.
“I hope throughout 2015, ‘Hank’ will be playing continuously throughout the country,” Sellers said.
He is looking forward to screening the film in Wadesboro.
“They were very excited and immediately on board with having the screening at the Ansonia,” Sellers said. “It’s a very unique experience for me personally, having grown up in Wadesboro. I saw a movie there before it was closed and remade into a stage theatre, so to have my movie show on the screen there is really cool to me.”
Anson County residents may recognize some of the zombie-infested locations.
“They wanted to make sure people would have a chance to show it at every location where it was filmed,” Sellers said. “I think people from Anson will enjoy seeing places in Peachland, Wadesboro and parts of Lilesville that they may recognize.”
To make “Hank,” Sellers established a production company. Although he is not currently in pre-production for any films, he said he is working on several other projects, which include working on a script and adapting “Hank Vs. The Undead” into a comic book series.