The undead will be mindlessly stalking around downtown Bellingham later this week, and it will have little to do with Halloween.
Bellingham-based Hand Crank Films is shooting a zombie-themed commercial for Mackie, a national company that makes loudspeakers.
Hand Crank plans to do some filming the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Herald Building and the downtown area. The film company also will close off eight city blocks in downtown Mount Vernon from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4.
The Bellingham scenes will involve close-up shots; no extra actors are needed. But the Mount Vernon filming will involve 60 to 75 extra people, said Chris Donaldson of Hand Crank Films.
While the company is known for its commercials and short films, including the Bellingham Google project, this project will be a new challenge, given the amount of zombie head explosions and other special effects work.
"We've never handled a crowd of blood-thirsty zombies before," joked Donaldson, who expects the commercial to be completed by around Christmas and be available to watch online at the Hand Crank and Mackie websites. "It's already a fun project that's forcing us to push the envelope."
Donaldson said the zombie idea came about as a fun way to demonstrate that the music speakers, though small in size, can deliver enough volume to blow the heads off of zombies. The company hired Bellingham resident Langley West to help with the exploding zombie heads.
Downtown Bellingham is a popular setting for Hand Crank. Donaldson said that's because it has an eclectic mix of architecture that gives the look of a typical American main street.
He said they chose downtown Mount Vernon for a big part of this filming because of a particular intersection "that fit the bill for us," with the storyline. Hand Crank recently received approval from the Mount Vernon City Council to close the streets for filming.
"Everybody has been extremely cooperative," Donaldson said.
Of course, research is one of the most enjoyable aspects of those involved in the project. The movie "Zombieland" is one of the favorites of the crew. The commercial will be filmed more in that vein.
"This will be more of a fun-type of zombie commercial than a gore-fest," Donaldson said. "The most important thing is to communicate the product to viewers."
ZOMBIE EXTRAS SOUGHT
Hand Crank is looking for zombie crowd-scene extras for the Mount Vernon filming that takes place noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4. People interested in volunteering should email Chris Donaldson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach DAVE GALLAGHER at email@example.com or call 715-2269.