The Resurrection Game starts with a great premise: For whatever reason, zombies are now everywhere; they've simply become part of the landscape, as annoying as any other vermin.
Local filmmaker Mike Watt, who also wrote the script for The Resurrection Game, admits that film history led him to this fresh approach: "Everyone making a zombie movie does the let's-hole-the-people-up-in-a-house and there will be zombies outside, and they'll fight. George Romero set the standard and nobody's ever deviated from it."
Originally, Watt aimed for parody, but serendipitously discovered a path away from Zombie Flick 101. "Once we realized we actually had a story, we threw away most of the gags and pretty much disregarded the zombies. It's a zombie movie that has almost no zombies in it."
Watt's exaggerating somewhat: No zombie fan will be disappointed. You've got your shuffling undead, man-on-zombie battles (including what may be the first-ever man v. zombie sword fight), a hot chick kicking zombie ass, and the occasional stray body part. But The Resurrection Game, which Watt calls a "zombie-noir," is really about worse evils than pesky folks who aren't quite dead: An ex-cop (Jim Campbell) and a pair of zombie-exterminators (Amy Lynn Best and Bill Homan) suspect the undead plague may just be a smoke screen for the nefarious dealings of a big corporation. Says Watt, "I started thinking, how would America capitalize on the everydayness of zombies?"
The film will be making its long-awaited premiere at the Pittsburgh Comicon this weekend in Monroeville. Watt has been marketing the film throughout its seven-year production, and has always found interest in the comics milieu. "I understand the hype machine -- we wrote press releases on the movie before we shot a single frame. We released photos and a couple characters really caught on. We've been able to flog those characters along the last couple of years, to keep the interest up."
Watt is still tweaking The Resurrection Game, and adding a new score, and he admits he's looking forward to getting it finally off the table. On Saturday night, he'll also be screening the second feature from his Happy Cloud Productions, the horror-comedy Severe Injuries. "Severe Injuries is coming out officially in December," he adds. "And we're in pre-production now for out next feature, Doomtown." He can't cop to all the details naturally, but expect more genre-busting. "It's sort of a monster movie wrapped up in a mystery."