Filmmaker Jeff Brookshire got in touch with Fangoria to let them know about his entry in the zombie derby, AWAKEN THE DEAD, which is currently in postproduction with an anticipated release date of July 2006. Brookshire, who scripted and directed, describes AWAKEN as “a darkly humorous horror/action/zombie movie about a government experiment with biochemical toxins that unleashes the living dead on a small California town.
“In some ways, it was inspired by SHAUN OF THE DEAD,” Brookshire says. “After all, that film was a solid romantic comedy with zombies. AWAKEN THE DEAD is an action film with heart…and zombies. The main character is Christopher, a priest hiding from his dangerous past as an assassin, who is played by Gary Douglas Kohn, an up-and-coming actor who was Greg the roadie in ALMOST FAMOUS. He also has several movies in postproduction right now, including AFTERMATH, one of the last movies Chris Penn filmed. Gary gives a very compelling performance as the priest who is torn by guilt and hiding from the violence he once knew so well. Unfortunately, when that government experiment creates a world of undead creatures around him, violence may be the only thing that can save him.”
The eclectic supporting characters include “an assassin’s daughter, a young Jehovah’s Witness, a huge street pimp named Grin, played by pro bodybuilder Big Will Harris who also appeared in BE COOL, and a former Marine who rubs everyone the wrong way, played by Paul Dion Monte. Paul is Sylvester Stallone’s cousin, recently worked in Philadelphia on ROCKY BALBOA and has a long list of films to his credit. Oh, yeah—it also has schoolgirl zombies!” Lindsey Morris, Nate Witty and Michael Robert Nyman co-star.
“I aimed to make the characters distinctive, racked with issues and forced to grow and change as they struggle for survival,” Brookshire continues. “While AWAKEN THE DEAD is a cool horror flick, it’s also a redemption tale about three lost souls having to step out of themselves and face their issues in order to survive. Thus, the title has a double meaning. I wanted the movie to have layers: It works as a horror/action film, with enough blood and guts to go around and a dark sense of humor, but it has enough that more discerning viewers can pull out of it.”
You can see a teaser trailer and stills and find out more about AWAKEN THE DEAD at its official website.