In most zombie fiction, be it movies, television or novels, getting bit is a fast track to becoming one of the walking dead. In some cases, the transformation takes minutes and sometimes hours. But what if it took longer?
That’s the question asked in web series “Zombie with a Shotgun” by Hilton Ariel Ruiz, who said the idea was an outgrowth of the experiences of his youth in New York City.
“My story came from the early days of growing up in NYC during the AIDS epidemic where the media felt like we lived in a Zombie apocalypse,” he explained. “I know many friends that have HIV and died of AIDS. I always never could understand why people were afraid of them.”
The idea was to create a film where the zombie was the main character and give it the feel of a sick man during this transition that was a real human being. This would allow the audience to see who the characters are as people.
Having a “zombie” in the lead, allows Ruiz to flip the zombie genre 180 degrees, he said.
“Most of the zombie films out there are about gore and the element of running away from the zombies” he said. “’Zombie with a Shotgun’ is a love story with the backdrop of the start of a zombie apocalypse.”
Playing with the “rules” of zombies is sometimes a touchy thing for fans of the zombie genre, as seen in the debate about fast versus slow zombies. However, Ruiz said, looking at the genre in new ways is a good way to keep it interesting.
“I think people are caught up with the whole zombie mythology on what zombies can do or can’t do. I already have experienced that with Zombie with a Shotgun,” he said. “I think breaking away from the old fashion zombie rules are the way to go as we can find new means of exploring new territory for the zombie genre.”
The web series has released four episodes to date, with each revealing a bit more about the characters. The series itself is a warm up to a future feature film project.
“I didn’t want to go to a Kickstarter with an idea on paper,” Ruiz explained. “I wanted to do the web series first to show my idea on the screen then I can go to the decision makers to get the money for the feature.”
Once the funding is in place, Ruiz plans to expand on the ideas introduced in the web series, adding depth and layers.
“I’m hoping to start the feature early 2014. The budget is a half a million to 1.5 million dollar,” he said. “We have interest from people but what I think as the series comes to an end more people would be interested in funding the project.”
The web series is available for free on Vimeo through these links:
Episode 1 ~ https://vimeo.com/47605437 Episode 2 ~ https://vimeo.com/53552465 Episode 3 ~ https://vimeo.com/65786640 Episode 4 ~ https://vimeo.com/68046947