‘Zombies’ to tramp way to Ponoka
Imagine if North American Hall of Fame wrestler Jeff “Super Tramp” Howell went head-to-head with a pack of blood-thirsty zombies.
Throw in some go-go dancers and machine guns and independent film maker CJ Hutchinson, of Ponoka, said it’s exactly what his Howell deserves.
“Every cool wrestler should have a cult film featuring him. He’s a great guy. He’s had remarkable career. We want to make this happen,” said Hutchinson, 40, who is filming his feature-length movie Super Tramp vs the Zombies in Ponoka next year.
Hutchinson, originally from Winnipeg, has been a makeup artist for about 20 years with plenty of gore to his list of credits.
“If there’s an injury, I’ve done it, between blowing a person’s head off to shotgun wounds, to anything you can imagine.
“I’ve spent my time in the pits, doing straight makeup and doing basic stuff on extras. But whenever someone comes to me with a monster idea, I’m good to do that.”
He met Howell, who is originally from Calgary but now lives in the United States, about three years ago at Comic-Con where Hutchinson has run booths for zombie makeovers.
Hutchinson started his company Das Zombie Productions in 2000 and in 2005 shot a low-budget film Denizens of the Dead in Winnipeg that’s on it’s way to becoming a cult classic, he said.
“That one’s got a reputation for being one of the worst zombie movies ever made.
“I figure if you’re shooting with low money, then you should be shooting for something that’s a cult classic, not something that’s going to be the epic summer block-buster.”
His fascination with zombies began with director George Romero’s 1978 horror film Dawn of the Dead.
When Hutchinson first saw the film as a child it gave him nightmares, but after watching it over and over again at his mother’s insistence to conquer his fears, it triggered a love of the genre.
“I live for horror films. I’m an old horror baby.
“I ended up going to makeup school because of my obsession of the movie Dawn the Dead,” said Hutchinson who trained in Florida.
He still prefers the classic zombie, unlike the Hollywood trend of quick-moving zombies seen today.
“Most of the time a zombie is a slow moving thing, it creeps up on you. It’s only scary when it’s a foot away.”
People who love the original Night of the Living Dead, or The Evil Dead, or The Return of the Living Dead, are the fans he hopes to gross out, make laugh and scare with his new film.
“A real zombie fan has a top 10 and I want to make somebody’s list.”
Hutchinson is looking for 100 and 200 extras for his zombie cast.
Since he can’t pay them, he hopes there’s plenty of hardcore zombie fans willing to travel to Ponoka in May.
“The Town of Ponoka is being very generous to us. They’re letting us basically close down streets and letting us do what we need to do and not charging us the crazy fees.”
And he’s trained a local makeup squad in Ponoka.
Aspiring zombies can e-mail Hutchinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.