Undead… Live

Tuesday, June 15 2010
Undead… Live

Revolver has won awards for its smart marketing, its haul of industry gongs including one recognising its work at promoting zombie films. And the independent has also excelled at spotting and promoting independent homegrown horror fare. The two are meeting with the release of Zombie Women Of Satan on DVD next week and the company has organised an intriguing and novel event to promote the release. Revolver’s Mike Hewitt takes up the tale here. We’ll see you down the front…

“The brilliantly-title Zombie Women Of Satan is the brainchild of male burlesque dancer Warren Speed, who dreamt up the title one day and in a moment of crazy creativity decided to make his first film based on these four words. Setting about with a pen and paper, he began to write the script, and a mere nine months later, he had a finished film, largely thanks to his supportive wife (who allowed him to invest £40,000 of their life savings into the project) and a partnership agreement with Steve O’Brien of 24:25 Films who was able to step in and provide the technical know-how on putting a film production together.

“Filmed over two short months in May and June of 2009, the shoot proceeded with relative ease, and the production team swiftly set about its post-production, with a view to premiering this true independent UK production at Film4 FrightFest in August 2009, allowing them only two short months to finish the edit, sound mix and grade. The film was finished literally days before its screening and the event was attended by the bulk of the cast and an appreciative and rabid horror crowd on the Bank Holiday Monday.

“Following on from the film’s premiere, Revolver acquired the film in early 2010 and immediately set about coming up with ideas to help launch the film, both in terms of spreading the word through the horror community and also trying to establish a profile for the film amidst the mainstream consumers.

“With a director who has a natural knack for marketing, PR and promotion based on his own profession of burlesque performances and event organisation (the film’s premiere at the Film4 FrightFest event in August 2009 was accompanied with several promotional girl zombies mauling Myleene Klass, and a subsequent promotion at the Cannes film festival in 2010 took several international reporters by surprise), it made complete sense for Revolver to work alongside Warren Speed for a suitable promotional launch event for the film. There followed a few discussions (Zombie Wet T-shirt competition anyone?) before we finally settled on creating the first official MISS ZOMBIE QUEEN UK beauty pageant, to be held the week before the DVD release of the film on June 21.

“Revolver’s previous experience with zombie films is well-known, largely thanks to the double BVA award-winning campaign for The Zombie Diaries back in 2008, where we successfully organised a World Record Zombie Walk attempt in Leicester Square, so once we had agreed on a beauty pageant event, we soon set about putting the pieces into place.

“First off was finding a suitable London-based venue, and although we checked out several horror-themed bars and clubs, such as The Gaff, we soon settled on the classier venue of The Cobden Club. Although more of a members-based club, the venue were extremely open to our ideas of utilising burlesque performances, live rock bands, zombie DJs and the beauty pageant itself and were more than happy for our event to go ahead, with a date set for Wednesday June 16.

“With Warren’s burlesque and cabaret contacts, we soon had many volunteer promotional girls for the night (who will be on hand throughout the evening with blood make-up to apply to the audience where necessary), along with a top line-up of London’s best burlesque and fetish performers, including Banbury Cross, Betty D’Light, Marnie Scarlett and Hell’s Belle, and we arranged for a couple of surprise performers for the evening too – watch out for aerial performers and fire-eating zombies.

“Once the venue and the entertainment was agreed, we then set about putting the call out to all possible Zombie Queen finalists, which included designing a dedicated website (www.misszombiequeen.com) and PR releases announcing the event and calling for entrants. Our online PR team worked hard to get the message out on all relevant websites, including film-based sites, horror fan sites as well as burlesque blogs and events forums.

“Initially wary of how many entries we would actually receive, both Revolver and Warren were astounded to receive over 50 enthusiastic, dare we say it, bloodthirsty, applicants, all of which sent through images of themselves, the bulk of which were in zombie make-up. It’s a tough day at the office when your email inbox starts to clog up with scantily clad zombie girls all pleading to be selected for a finalist place, but in all honesty, we wouldn’t want it any other way.

“Selecting the ten finalists was a tricky task, and instead of just picking the best-looking applicants, we were also keen to make sure that the finalists would enter into the spirit of the event, selecting those with a passion for zombie dressing up and films above the girls who seemed largely to be more interested in press exposure.

“Thankfully the majority of girls we selected confirmed their attendance (there was only one drop-out who was unfortunately unable to attend due to a friend having to go into hospital on the day of the event), and they are, as I write, currently submitting their make-up requests to our SFX artist for the evening, Dan Martin (Batman Begins, The Wolfman, Human Centipede 2). To give you an idea of the look of the some of the girls on the evening itself, requests have include a full latex autopsy scar, bite marks, torn throats and bullet hole wounds.

“Now, two days away from the inaugural MISS ZOMBIE QUEEN UK 2010 beauty pageant, we’re very close to having everything ready. The entrants have confirmed their speciality zombie acts (ranging from piano-playing, to straight-jacket escaping, through to a standard zombie strip tease), the winner’s tiara has been ordered, the winner and runners-up sashes have arrived and the press are queuing up to attend.

“So, who knows, if all goes ahead well, we may be looking at turning this into an annual event, and possibly even going international, so that this year’s winner could well be presenting the MISS ZOMBIE QUEEN WORLD crown in 2011, as hosted on TV by Simon Cowell.

“Now, that really would be something…”

The MISS ZOMBIE QUEEN UK 2010 beauty pageant takes place on June 16th at The Cobden Club in London. Visit www.misszombiequeen.com for more details.

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