Interview With Patrick
Devaney From The TV
Series "Zombie Hunters:
City of The Dead"
By AL J. Vermette
He is the man behind TV's
very first zombie series, a show
that not only he created, writes for and directors but also stars in as well. He
is Patrick Devaney from "Zombie Hunters: City of The Dead", a series that
explores what would really happen in a zombie apocalypse in New York City.
Unlike other shows and films on the subject, Devaney takes us to the
beginning of a zombie outbreak and not after the fact...midway in (Walking
Dead, 28 Days Later) but what it would be like if all of a sudden the dead
began to walk the streets and how we as people would react to it. With each
episode you see how things get more, and more crazy as the dead slowly rise in
numbers and feed on the living. To combat this zombie menace is Patrick
Devaney and his team of Zombie Hunters, who fight the legion of undead
monsters and keep them in check. A few years ago, I met Patrick and the
Hunters at The Chiller Theater convention in New Jersey and since then, Pat
and his men have been to our Halloween "Blood Fest" shows and "Institute of
Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction" events. I myself have even been on his set
and been one of his undead legions in full zombie make-up. Some time back
in BMR Issue #37, I talked with Pat about this zombie series in an interview.
Now for our 12th Anniversary issue we pick up a few years later and find out
what's going on with Pat, his cast and his wonderful series.
AL: Please tell our readers a little about the back story of "Zombie Hunter's
City of The Dead"?
Patrick: “Zombie Hunters: City of the Dead” came about when we realized that we’d
love to see a Zombie-based TV show, but none existed. We wanted to show what
we really thought it would be like if the traditional Zombie story actually happened in
NYC today, add our own spin on it, and make it the best thing ever seen on public
access. I believe we’ve succeeded in that.
At the time, marketing the concept seemed questionable: we never thought it
would go past just being a public access horror show. I always knew it was good
enough to be more, but none of us expected the huge boom in Zombie stuff all over
the media, let alone having direct cable competition from AMC in 2010. But through
it all, we’re still going!
The main storyline follows the lives of Billy Cassidy, Paul Michael Bates, John
Salazar, and Carrie Walker, regular people living regular lives, as they try and
survive in a world that’s officially fine, but is slowly turning inside-out as the dead
begin to come back and attack the living.
AL: When did you first start shooting the series?
Patrick: We started writing the scripts in very early 2006. I’d already been making
outlines of what I wanted in 2005, but the first scenes were shot in Spring and
Summer of 2006.
AL: Of the 8 episodes shot and finished, which ones were the most fun,
hardest and craziest to film?
Patrick: So far, Episode 7 was the hardest and craziest: 118 people involved,
multiple locations, dodging snowstorms and losing locations before filming was
complete, having to find matching locations and funding to complete… it was a true
test of our ability to produce a TV show. But in the fifteen months it took to make, it
stands out as the one we all became veterans on. And I love it.
The most fun, I think, was probably the scenes we recently filmed in May 2012, the
openers for our second season. There were SO many people involved, and at
certain points we pulled off massive Zombie scenes, so involved and
choreographed between camera and SFX and aerial shots, that I turned to my crew
and said “I now know what Romero himself felt on the set of Dawn.”
These latest episodes are also so much fun because they feature new Hunter
Carmela Hayslett, who is known to most people out there as Roxsy Tyler of “Roxsy
Tyler’s Carnival of Horrors”. She will be appearing in several second season
episodes, and we are thrilled to have her on board. Plus, guest Zombies this time
around include Mike Schneider (the man behind “Night of the Living Dead:
Reanimated”), Ken Smith (of the “Loud Idiots” radio show), Lisa Foederer (drummer
for the band “Blue Movie”), and veteran actor Bob Socci, who I’ve been wanting to
work with for years.
AL: How has the production changed since the early episodes to the most
recent episodes (Still in Production as of this issue) #9 and #10?
Patrick: When we started, the first scenes ever done were with a pair of $300 Sony
palmcorders. (Director of Photography) Mark Boutros brought us into the world of 3-
chip cameras, off-camera sound, and professional lighting. But even with these
advances, the entire First Season was shot in SD.
After much convincing from both Mark and Manny Serrano (Camera Two for ZH and
one-half of Mass Grave Pictures), in addition to an impromptu clinic I got from
Christian Grillo (of Potent Media), I made the decision that everything we’d shoot
going forward would be in HD, on DSLR cameras that would allow us to use lenses
that before this time were unavailable to us. The result so far has been amazing,
just going to show that there’s always room for improvement if you allow it.
AL: On each of the shoots that I attended, your zombie actors look better
and better. Could you please tell our readers the names of the make-up
artists who bring your undead to life for the cameras?
Patrick: I would be glad to, as the other component of how things have changed
have to do directly with what our SFX team brings to the table. I’d like to mention
first Lindsay Serrano (the OTHER half of MGP), who made so many of the
memorable Zombies from last season. Lindsay works mostly with me as Assistant
Director and Script Supervisor these days. She excels at both jobs, but I selfishly
took her away from makeup so I can use her talents to keep me on track. Janine
Maloney (JanineMaloney.Com), who first helped us on the aforementioned Episode
7, is currently our second-in-command of SFX.
In addition to makeup newcomer Catherine Monzon, we have most recently been
working with Gene Mazza and Andrea Michelle, the talented team from DecayNY
Entertainment/187314921319322), who helped us with blood effects and brought us
a wonderful lifecast; and artists Betty Vasso, Cat Martin (www.catmartinmakeup.com
), and Ali Veroba (ali.town6.com) helped turn friends, family, and fans into the
undead! The new infusion of artistry is such a great thing for us as a production
crew, and their beautiful work is clearly displayed in the latest two episodes.
But as always since the pilot episode, at the helm of it all is our original makeup
director, Michael Scardillo, who is currently working with us through his new
company SCAR SFX (www.facebook.com/pages/Scarsfx/177910165637668). The
prosthetic effects you’ll see are his creations, as are the impact effects and all the
mechanical devices that make us look like we’re out there really slaying Zombies.
He’s been tireless at getting it all together, and this is just the tip of the iceberg
when it comes to this new season.
AL: You have so...so many zombies in your production, where do you find
all these people to play them?
Patrick: We get Zombies from all over. Sometimes, we’re restricted at small
locations to only bring people we personally know well or have worked with before.
Sometimes, it’s a free-for-all. Usually, we will pick aspiring actors we know, add in
friends and family who have asked to be a part in the show, and then we go to the
mailing lists of people we meet at conventions. To date, we’ve had several Zombies
come to us off the lists, and it’s always been a great experience with all of them.
AL: Your hunters are well suited for their tasks of killing zombies, what is
your training set up for getting the actors ready to fight the undead?
Patrick: Many of our “Hunters” have had real-life training: Christopher Murphy is a
martial arts instructor, (writer/producer) Paul Pinsdorf has also earned his black
belt, Teri Hansen has years of kickboxing experience, Rick Martinez is a national
paintball champion and excellent marksman, and my wife, Executive Producer
Jeanna Alvarez-Devaney, and I have six years each of weapons training and martial
arts under our belts. In other words, we know how to handle ourselves.
Between us all, we can quickly train extras and new hunters in the proper ways to
handle weapons, how to move, and how to do all these things safely.
AL: Among the human cast of actors, one of the hunters always stands out
as the bad ass of all zombie hunters. Please tell us a little about
Christopher Murphy and how he joined the cast?
Patrick: Chris Murphy didn’t join, he was drafted! He and I have been friends
since we were both seven years old, and the role of “Bates” was written specifically
for him to play. He takes some solace in that he never had a choice. He had to be
a part of this.
But yeah, Bates is the one Hunter who seems very much accepting of this new
world. As mentioned above, given his real-life abilities, Murph is the perfect person
to play him. It’s sometimes hard to see where the actor and the character blend,
and where they’re different. I think that’s why he’s one of the more popular people
on the show. It always seems real with him.
AL: So 8 episodes shot and one in the making (as of this issue) and
counting. So where will Zombie Hunters go in the shows ahead?
Patrick: The series has already been written, we know how it started, we know who
lives, who dies, and the ultimate question: what is making the dead come back to
life? Everything will be explored and explained by the last episode!
In that time, the Hunters will regroup, try to survive, and meet up with some of the
worst people the world has to offer. All the time trying to retain their own humanity.
They’ll even run into some people they’ve encountered in the past… you’re all just
going to have to keep watching to see!
AL: I love all the shows locations that you use. How do you get such
wonderful locations on which to shoot?
Patrick: We are lucky, blessed, and appreciative for all the locations we’ve had the
great fortune to work in. From creepy medical facilities in Brooklyn, to Manhattan
brownstones, to Queens shopping malls, to giant production facilities on Long
Island, we’ve populated all of them with the undead. Mostly, it’s through mutual
friends and sympathetic horror fans who allow us to set up shop with them. Hunter
Rick Martinez has always opened the doors of his company Newton Collission for us
to work in. And recently, we had the great fortune of working at Metro Interior
Distributors again, through our location manager Tom Schorr. This location is so
rich in both size and looks, we’ve been able to re-use it several times and never
show the same place twice! Tom also brought us to helicopter camera pilot Ryan
Dolan, who’s work is seen in the new episodes.
AL: Will "Zombie Hunter's City of The Dead" come to an ending episode or
are you planning to run it as long as you can?
Patrick: Yes. It will end. And all will be revealed! The series is slated for eight
new episodes (making sixteen in total).
AL: When it does all come to an end....what project do you see yourself
replacing it with......and will it be in the horror genre?
Patrick: We’re already working to get a few different projects funded and
produced. Scripts are finished and ready to go. And although some of them have
horror elements, we are rapidly moving into the worlds of sci-fi and dark fantasy…
much less “Zombie Hunters”, much more “Pan’s Labyrinth”. In fact, we are currently
in pre-production on a film adaptation of Caza’s “Aemorraghe”, taken from the
pages of Heavy Metal magazine, which is scheduled to be filmed in October and
November of this year.
In addition, I do have my take on vampires coming up as soon as we find the right
town to film in, an upcoming Sci-Fi feature-length thriller, and one traditional
monster movie that could happen in less than a year! And I promise everyone
reading, no CGI monsters in that one; its all puppets and people and animatronics
and its an entirely different kind of monster and... well,,, you guys will see.
AL: For all our readers, where can they find "Zombie Hunter's City; of The
Dead" on DVD, TV and other sources for viewing?
Patrick: There are more options than ever. We’re on 40 different stations in 15
states, but if we’re not on where you live, DVD’s of the first season can be found at
FYE, Walmart, Barnes & Noble and online at Amazon.Com and our main website
(www.zombiehuntershow.com)! And as always, you can get them from us directly at
Monster Mania and Chiller Theatre, where we’ll be happy to write our names on
them for you, too!
For interview with
Patrick Devaney of
Zombie Hunters: City
of the Dead, click here
For interview with
artist, click here
For interview with
tarot card reader,