BLOOD and bullets.
These are the selling points of Hsien of the Dead, touted to be Singapore’s first English-language zombie feature film, its director Gary Ow said.
The first-time film-maker told FiRST: “(My) zombies still carry out their daily routines, despite being zombified by a virus.
“It’s only when someone breaks the rules – for example littering or jaywalking – that they get really agitated and become flesh-eaters.”
The action horror-comedy’s titular protagonist Hsien is a cowardly national serviceman who realises that everyone in his army camp has been turned into flesh-eating zombies.
He must then commandeer a vehicle and make its way out, linking up with other larger-than-life survivors that include s tomboyish ah lian sporting Sailor Moon outfits, a pompous civil servant and a receptionist with mean silat skills.
But even with a tagline like ”Small Island, Big Problem”, Ow, 34, insisted that the film is “definitely not a political satire”.
He added; “It’s also not just a cheap knock-off of (zombie comedies) Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead.
“It’s a humourous take, ranging from the subtle to the cheesy, on Singapore;s sterile environment, featuring very obedient and compliant zombies.”
Ow admitted he faced “great difficulty” making such humour work.
In one scene, Hsien kicks over an oil can, enabling his fellow survivors to “slide their way out of trouble” on the resulting oil slick while he covers theri escape with his SAR-21 rifle.
Ow said: “Essentially, Hsien of the Dead is an action-packed film that will look and feel 100 per cent Singaporean.”
The film, his first, will be produced by his production company Genetix S.
A computer programmer by day, he took editing and music video courses at the Singapore Media Academy and the New York Film Academy respectively.
Eighty per cent of of the film’s budget, adding up to roughly $3500,000, will be funded via product placement but Ow declined to reveal which brands are involved.
He also invested a five-figure sum from his own pocket.
In one of the attempts to obtain funding from overseas sources, Ow did an impersonation of the recently deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong II to impress scouts of US talk show host Jay Leno when he was at the 15th Annual Hollywood Pitch Festival in Los Angeles in July.
The spoof earned him a spot of The Tonight Show With Jay Leno segment Pitch To America, which aired on Sept 1 in the US.
he claimed that after the show, a US firm approached him about the possibility of investing a six-figure sum in the production and distribution of Hsien of the Dead.
The zombie flick is currently in pre-production, with shooting slated to start in March next year and conclude in April.
Ow is aiming for a theatrical realise next August or September.