In conjunction with The Light Factory and Reel Soul Cinema -- the hosts of the American Zombie event -- Creative Loafing presented the American Zombie Horror Film Contest, which offered regional filmmakers the opportunity to have their picture screened right alongside Night of the Living Dead during the opening night celebration.
Five finalists were selected, and while only one film will be screened Friday night (the winner, picked by Romero himself, will be announced at the event), CL is presenting all five of the contenders here . Following are the five finalists, along with brief descriptions, running times and a link to view the film.
Antibody (directed by Nathan Bezner; written by Andrew Jenner & Donald Wells). A junkie is kept locked in a cell while a military scientist tries to figure out why she's immune to the virus that's turning everyone else into zombies. In our daydreams, it's an intriguing, even exciting, notion to imagine ourselves as among the survivors of a zombie holocaust (Free food! Free games! Free shopping sprees!), but this film's powerful fadeout turns that idea on its head. (15:06) Click here to view the film.
Devil Comes Down (written and directed by Streebo Majic). A guy hiding in a shed during a zombie plague is fearful of discovery. A clever ending and stylish closing credits mark this one as a winner. (7:58) Click here to view the film.
Grey Matter (written and directed by Christian A. Norman). A societal outcast inexplicably finds himself in an anonymous backroom, where he's subjected to verbal and physical abuse. This short differs from the rest in that it employs the notion of the "zombie" in a more cerebral manner. (11:08) Click here to view the film.
See the Dead (written and directed by Robert W. Filion). A suburban woman is shocked to discover that all of her neighbors have been turned into zombies. This edges out Antibody as my favorite of the bunch, with a strong central performance by Carolina actress Vanelle (the movie was shot in Rock Hill), a cute homage to Night of the Living Dead and a satisfying finale. (15:00) Click here to view the film.
Zombie Hunters (written and directed by Christopher Baker). Dealing with the undead, N.C.-style! With a TV crew filming their every move, four good ole boys spend their night killing zombies. In between the shootin', they drink beer, insult each other and flash a scorekeeping chart that breaks down their zombie kills by ethnicity. The coda provides a nice finishing touch to an amusing effort. (12:46) Click here to view the film.