For many years I’ve watched films and thought “I’d love to be brutally slain in an epic battle scene” or “I’d love to be the incompetent henchman of an evil criminal mastermind”. But one extra role stands out above all else… being a blood sucking, flesh gauging zombie. The gold standard of extra work. So I was delighted when Safehouse Pictures permitted me, with no acting experience whatsoever, to join their horde of raging zombies on the forthcoming horror movie, The Eschatrilogy.

My first day on the set of The Eschatrilogy was at an office block in Chesterfield which was to double as a police station for the purposes of the film. On arriving on the set, I was quickly whisked off into make up. Over an hour later I emerged, in awe of the level of detail the make up artists had gone into, looking like this…

Zombie extra in The Eschatrilogy

After an hour in make up… there was plenty more blood to follow though!

Further lashings of blood and green goo were applied generously over the next few hours as the troupe of enthusiastic volunteers were transformed into a blood thirsty rabble. Over the course of the night, I was filmed in a variety of scenes – the highlight of which was undoubtedly breaking down a door and devouring a policeman as he sat reading his paper on the toilet! What struck me very early on, was that, despite the ultra-low budget, this film was going to be something special – not your stereotypical zombie movie but an intelligent, beautifully shot independent horror film.

Zombie horde on the Eschatrilogy

The zombie horde reaction for action!

My three other days of filming, this time outdoors at a derelict farm house near the Stanley Ferry canal in Wakefield, only reaffirmed these initial impressions. Every scene was carefully crafted – each a work of art in their own right. It was fascinating to watch the inspired and creative vision of the director, Damian Morter, come to life in front of our eyes – and become part of it. Not once did I hear any of the volunteer extras complain about spending long hours drenched in red-coloured syrup, being asked to crawl through pools of mud, or even float face down in a freezing canal. No, we were all delighted to be part of this exceptional project.

Zombies on the set of the Eschatrilogy

Zombie extras – only too willing to wait patiently (and uncomfortably) to help bring the directors vision to life…

Several months later, we were invited to the private film premiere of The Eschatrilogy at the Penistone Paramount. Never have I heard 300 boisterous people fall so instantly silent as when those opening credits began to roll. We were captivated – eager to see our own appearance on the big screen, but more so, spellbound by what unfolded in front of our eyes…

To consider that this film was made on a budget of less than ten grand defies belief. Some of the sequences would certainly not be out of place in any big budget horror movie, but what’s more remarkable is the way the production team used the simplicity of the setup to create what many of those big budget films lack – a genuine closeness to the action and characters. The clever, interweaving of the three central stories is enticing and the musical score makes the film worth viewing alone. Yet it is the beautiful, stylised shots throughout the movie which add a real touch of genius and will be my lasting memory.

Eschatrilogy film premiere

Zombies guarding the doors at The Eschatrilogy film premiere!

I strongly urge you to look out for The Eschatrilogy – a testament to the British independent film industry – at upcoming film festivals (or on DVD in 2013). To help tempt you, here’s the official trailer for The Eschatrilogy…

Extra work does require a considerable amount of patience. On my first day of filming on The Eschatrilogy, I was on set for over 9 hours, until after 3am, and yet was probably only on film for several seconds. However it is also extremely rewarding – it allows you to understand how film production works behind the scenes, have immense fun with your fellow extras and the production team, and later watch yourself on screen in a film in which you have made an active contribution. I therefore cannot recommend extra work highly enough. It’s something everyone should look to do at least once in their life, and is a goal on my Life List that I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to achieve.

You can also find out more information about The Eschatrilogy’s forthcoming screenings on the Safehouse Pictures website here.

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About Jon Maiden

Founder of Goalvanise which enables people to create their Life List online, and inspires and supports them to achieve their life goals. Check out the Goalvanise blog here or my personal blog here.

One response »

  1. […] This was the realisation of a long held life goal of mine – to be an extra in a film. Read more about my experience of being a zombie extra here. […]

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