Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard takes a slightly different approach to the zombie apocalypse. There’s an abundance of zombie movies to choose from but you would be hard pressed to find another one that incorporates paintball into the narrative. The film stars Dee Wallace, Felissa Rose, and Billy Zane and is directed by Harrison Smith.
The rural town of Elwood lives within a fenced-off ‘bubble’ against an organism epidemic where the infected humans don’t die. Instead, they roam around outside the fence and across the countryside in varying states of decay, intent on attacking the non-infected and spreading the contagion.
Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard focuses on a group of young adults that consists of Michael Kean as Ian Sommers, Joe Raffa (Camp Dread) as Manning and Ashley Sumner (6 Degrees Of Hell) as Kennedy. They are all under the watchful eye of ex-military soldier Seiler (Billy Zane of Twin Peaks). Seiler has trained the grown-up children of the town using paintball to aid them in guarding their city and bringing the residents of Elwood much needed supplies and food. Doc (Brian Anthony Wilson- Law Abiding Citizen) believes the town may have hope in the form of Toni (Mischa Barton- The Sixth Sense), a young, pregnant women who could be an answer to breeding without worry of disease. After an elephant’s graveyard-esque scare from two outsiders, all hell breaks loose and the whole town finds themselves under attack, and not only by the infected. Horror veteran Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) plays Lia, a rather aggressive preacher that believes God will save them, but courageous Sommers convinces the remaining killers that they need to get free, no matter what lies beyond Elwood’s fence.
This is a refreshing take on the zombie genre, the aspect of the elephants graveyard was frightening and a nice touch, with the paintballing throwing some fun into the mix.
Shot in just 19 days, “There was a lot of one take shots within the movie and the cast just killed it. We managed to make the film on time and within our budget because of cast and crew that we had,” says writer/director Harrison Smith. “One of the most difficult things was that we were making a zombie movie and The Walking Dead is the stamp of what people expect from a zombie movie. So the goal was to integrate the paintball aspect organically, so that it made sense. Our executive producer’s (Jeff Trainer) son is actually a professional paintballer and travels the world with San Diego Dynasty.”
Wicked Horror also received exclusive soundbites from Billy Zane who was attracted to Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard from the passion that the crew and director Harrison had to differentiating the popular genre, “the toxicity issue that no-one knows much about, much like nuclear proliferation, was clever and turned me on. I didn’t know I was making a paintball movie, until I realized I was making a paintball movie, but when you are working on a budget of under a million dollars, you have to deal with what you’ve got and exploit the assets. You have to almost reverse engineer it from the known, and think what’s going raise that to make money, and in this case the mad hook was paintball. There’s a sixteen-million consumer base for paintballing. It’s a niche market, and it seemed completely logical to link this market to a zombie movie.”
“The theme of the church came from trying to give people the hope of life and keep people well and secure, although I hear I’m very scary, scarier than the zombies themselves” says the awesome Felissa Rose.
Also starring Dee Wallace (The Howling, Cujo, E.T), Gabrielle Stone (Cut!) and featuring FX work by Toby Sells (The Walking Dead), Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard arrives on DVD and Blu-ray February 3rd through Anchor Bay Entertainment. If zombies or paintballing are your thing, then you’ll definitely want to give this one a look.
WICKED RATING: 6/10
Title: Zombie Killers: Elephants Graveyard
Director(s): Harrison Smith
Writer(s): David Agnew Penn, Harrison Smith
Stars: Mischa Barton, Billy Zane, Dee Wallace
Studio/ Production Co: Class of 85