Zombies ‘invade’ Wivenhoe

GORY GUESTS: Zombies invaded Wivenhoe Dam for the filming of zombie western feature film Bullets for the Dead last week.
GORY GUESTS: Zombies invaded Wivenhoe Dam for the filming of zombie western feature film Bullets for the Dead last week. Tom Threadingham

Wivenhoe Dam took on a dark and gory appearance as the dead were raised right on its very shores.

Tourists and local residents making a visit to the popular holiday destination last week had to look twice as they were greeted by a horde of groaning and slow-walking undead.

They weren't seeing things however, with the dam turned into a movie set for the independent Australian feature film Bullets for the Dead.

The $1.8million production saw a film crew of 30 professionals and 22 film students set up shop around Wivenhoe Dam and the Glen Esk areas for three days of filming. 

About 50 extras donned the creepy undead look alongside a core cast of 10 actors during the three-day shoot.

The feature film is a Zombie Western set in the United States in 1870.

Escorting the fiery young Annie Blake and her gang to the sheriff in Blood Bay, the feature film sees bounty hunter James Dalton discover the remains of a horrific massacre and rescues its sole survivor, a preacher.

Before long the group are fighting for their lives against a zombie horde.

As the preacher's secret unravels throughout the feature film, Dalton realises what he'll have to do to prevent his wife being resurrected as one of the living dead.

Bullets for the Dead director and writer Michael Du-Shane said the feature was born from a three- minute short produced with friend Joshua Birch while at Griffith Film School in Brisbane.

"Back in 2011 I wrote and directed a short film about a little zombie western that was basically two cowboys facing up against a zombie in a little canyon, and I put everything into it with a good mate of mine, Josh," Du-Shane said.

"People liked it enough that it started to build some momentum as a feature project and Cathy Rodda (producer) came on board to help develop it and push it along."

"We did the short film in the final year of our Bachelor's degree and when we went back to do our Masters we were writing and preparing for this feature film."

Du-Shane said it had been a great personal achievement to see the script gain recognition.

"I can't say I knew it would happen this quickly, but it was always the goal," he said.

"It's one of those things, it's got its up and downs and it's harder than you can possibly expect until you're doing it but when its going right the rewards are so much greater than you can possibly know too."

Du-Shane said a location scout had listed Wivenhoe as a possible film site and he had not been disappointed.

"It's been great and the locations are beautiful," he said.

"That's why we came out here, we needed that sparse beautiful landscape and there are very few places around Brisbane that look that way."

Scenes were also filmed at the Rosewood Railway museum.

Bullets for the Dead is being produced in conjunction with Screen Queensland, the Griffith Film School, and production company Visionquest Entertainment Intl.

Not only will the film showcase the scenery of the Somerset region to the world next year, but it has also provided a small economic boost for the Esk and Lowood areas with cast and crew filling local accommodation.

Topics:  wivenhoe dam zombies

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