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Fresh blood needed as zombies set to take over Essex

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: June 13, 2012

  • dead serious: Ryan J Fleming, left, and Dave Darko are looking for people who want to play zombies in their zero-budget film set in south Essex

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WARNING – fake tan can be seriously harmful to your health.

At least that's the story behind Welcome To Essex – a new zombie movie soon to be shot in Brentwood.

Dave Darko, 32, and Ryan J Fleming, 37, only met three weeks ago through a mutual friend.

Yet already they are close to completing the script, which tells the story of eight desperate survivors hoping to escape the legions of the infected that have been transformed thanks to a fiendish batch of fake tan.

It might sound like the latest zany Zombie rip-off, but Dave and Ryan are keen to make their 90-minute feature film a whole load darker than anything similar to the popular comedy Shaun Of The Dead.

Ryan, a former taxi driver, said: "When we first met we initially thought it might be fun to do a lighthearted film set around Brentwood.

"But as the project has gone on it has got darker and more sinister.

"It's also grown rapidly in size. We could have got 30 or 40 people straight away, but when we got 300 or 400 people interested, it suddenly got a lot bigger."

The heroes of the film, who thankfully fail to apply the ghoulish fake tan lotion, try to escape the clutches of thousands of zombies.

There is no shortage of fake blood as the band of survivors, who include a police officer and a footballer's wife, try to make their way to the coast and freedom.

The film is the first movie from Dead Serious Films, set up by Dave and Ryan, who are looking for as many extras as they can find to make the film's threatening undertones seem as big-budget as they can.

Ryan said: "We want everyone to get involved.

"There are lots of low-budget films with an implied threat, which are only partly effective.

"But the big-budget ones are effective because they have hundreds of zombies, normally computer-generated.

"We can't afford that so we want hundreds of extras.

"When we come to the extras we want absolutely everyone, all ages.

"The story is that the whole of the South East has been overrun."

The pair are reluctant to give too much away, but they do indicate there will be a twist in the tale's finale.

The film is also set and filmed in Basildon and Southend – where the survivors try to flee across the water to safety.

Ryan said: "We are trying to play with something that is really Essex-y and really UK but that is original as well.

"But we want to avoid cliches. The last thing we want to do is take the mickey out of Brentwood or Essex or TOWIE."

The feature-length movie is a zero-budget picture and is surviving on the generosity of supporters.

Ryan said: "We are not intending to spend a penny.

"If you sit down and work it out we can probably estimate that this is a £1 million film for free, just on the services that people have offered us."

Dave, who has lived in Brentwood for the past seven years, said: "We want to shine a light on Brentwood and on what Brentwood has to offer.

"Everyone wants a go and it just seems like the right time to do this.

"We could not do this without the help of so many people."

For more information and a chance to get involved go to Facebook and search for Welcome To Essex (a Dead Serious production).

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