At their worst, zombie movies are mindless gore-fests designed to provide some cheap thrills and easy scares. The best films of the genre rise to something better, however, serving as mirrors held up to the social issues of their day.
Perhaps the most notable example of this are George Romero’s classics “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead.”
Filmmaker Alex Ballar is making his directorial debut with “All American Zombie Drugs” and cites Night as one of his early zombie experiences.
“I remember being terrified, yet fascinated,” he said. “I was very young at the time so my imagination went wild.”
Years later Ballar has used his imagination to set a zombie plague against the backdrop of America’s drug epidemic.
“I love the use of zombies to reflect back human behavior and character flaws,” Ballar said. “We used zombies in ‘All American Zombie Drugs’ to show what drugs can do to someone.”
Ballar explained that, on the surface, the film is about two close friends: Sebastian and Vinny, who’s resumes consist of not much more than partying.
“They are at a crossroad in life, so they decide to start a much needed drug business in their town where the drugs have become less than par,” he said. “In the process, they confront drug dealers, geeks and zombies.”
Looking deeper, the film also delves into Vinny’s drug addiction and his journey to free himself from the torment it brings.
“Whenever Vinny does drugs, his brother, Michael, who died of a drug overdose, and zombies appear,” Ballar said.
One might assume that media reports of “bath salt zombies” was the inspiration for the movie, but they would be wrong. Instead, Ballar said, he wanted to explore the story of someone who had a rock solid reason for entering rehab.
“I wanted to explore what would have to happen for someone to have a fail proof chance when entering rehab,” he said. “I knew people who died from drugs. I also knew people who enjoyed them very much hidden in plain site.”
The film is now available for viewing almost everywhere on DVD and VOD. Ballar said the movie has had a major VOD release, putting it on iTunes, Amazon and iN Demand.
So far reaction to the film has good, Ballar said.
“One of my favorite comments is: ‘I’ve never seen that before,’” he said. “I love it when a movie surprises me and takes me on a ride I never expected. I was hoping to give people that experience.”
The film was also quite an experience for Ballar. In addition to directing, he also wrote the script, helped produce it and played Michael, Vinny’s brother.
“It was the first time I had lots of control. I was part of putting together the team and crew, who were all great,” he said.. “In my experience, making a film is truly a group effort and you are as strong as your weakest link. It’s nice when you get to have say over those links.”
For more information on the film visit http://www.zombiedrugs.com