Release date: March 1st 2012
Author: Howard J Ford
It’s not a surprise or spectacular revelation that I’m a massive fan of the zombie sub-genre. I make my interests known to anyone who’ll listen. The 2010 low-budget film The Dead, directed by the Ford Brothers, focuses on the survival of Lieutenant Brian Murphy (Robert Freeman), an American engineer and Daniel (Prince David Oseia), an African soldier who team up to make their way across West Africa in the hopes of finding sanctuary and safety at a military base.
Without a doubt, it was simply one of the greatest zombie films to have graced our screens in the last eight years gaining an instant cult status. Its uncomfortable atmosphere left us doubting the survival of the cast through to the final moments. It didn’t have the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster and definitely proved that one isn’t needed to make a good film – I hope other filmmakers took note of this.
Howard J Ford has taken our love for The Dead to a new level and has written an uncompromising, honest, blow-by-blow account of their fight for survival making the film.
Surviving the Dead takes us on a descriptive journey from England to Africa with the British brothers as they face the trials and tribulations of filmmaking, witnessing the constraints they experienced along the way. The horrors that they surpass could give any fictional plot a run for its money.
Broken down into sixteen chapters and separated by sub-headings, Surviving the Dead is told from a frank point of view; the writing style is easy to follow and accompanied by never before seen illustrations of the shoot. The reader is given an insight into the environments the cast and crew worked in.
Normally if the first five pages haven’t grabbed my attention I dismiss a book, but Surviving the Dead kept me hooked from beginning to end. It’s entertaining, easy to follow and under no circumstances could I stop reading it until I’d finished. The dedication of the Ford Brothers and everyone involved with the film helped me relate to them. In Chapter one, Howard mentions how as children they would be fascinated by zombie films, describing the walk they carried out in all weather conditions to admire the poster of Lucio Fulci’s 1979 classic Zombie Flesh Eaters even though they weren’t old enough to watch the film.
Personally I related to them. We’ve all had a dream, something we wanted to accomplish, and I admire that they threw everything into the project to make their childhood dreams a reality.
Initially I wouldn’t have expected a book to accompany the film, but the story behind the making of is so interesting that it’d be suicidal not to follow it up with this book- why not cash in on your hard efforts? I know I would. Chapter sixteen, gives us an honest understanding of Rob Freeman, the leading mans experiences:
Culturally, the book explores the harsh realities of cultures where poverty and corruption, which led to many of the horrors the cast and crew faced, are present. My eyes were certainly opened and the message stayed firmly with me.
Surviving the Dead is a must-read for fans of The Dead, lovers of the zombie sub-genre and anyone crazy enough to consider making a film. I’ll be surprised if a film doesn’t follow based on the making of, Surviving ‘the making of’ the Dead I’d call it.
Jamie, editor for Cult Movies at Static Mass, is a 24 year old media studies graduate from Sheffield, who likes nothing better than watching films. If he was to star in a horror film he’d like to be the first one killed (think Drew Barrymore in Scream).
He has a keen interest in horror which started when he was a child. Due to his hyperactive behaviour his cousins made him watch films they thought would calm him down- They were wrong! It was watching Hellraiser and Killer Klowns from Outer Space that his passion for horror began. Over the years this developed into a passion for zombies, madmen, mutated animals and all things gore.
When he’s not working, in his dream world, worrying about zombie epidemics or watching films, he can be found on Twitter sharing his thoughts and bringing his dream world into reality.
You can follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieSuckley.