Fugitive Underground: DVD of the Dead
- Director: Stan Hart
- Written by: Stan Hart
- Running Time: 60 minutes
- Language: English
- MPAA Rating: UNRATED
- Cast: Ryan Gollogly, Bill Campbell, Keith Thompson, Richard Gallant, Stacey Loyst, Ryan Gallant, Alex Young, Jessica Hart, Shayne Brampton, Royce Berry, Side Show, Stan Hart, Valerie Gollogly, Justin Kennedy, Mike Blakely, Athena Wallace, Alister David Young, Ruslan Pavlov, Josh Perkins, Danny Gollogly, Brayden Hardwick, Jeffrey James, Conrad Thompson, Sara Hart, Bill Day, Noelle Murano, Al Leroy, The Larmon Sisters, Jaime Brierley, Darren Pfeiffer , Karen Bliss, Gavin Brown, John Paul Tremblay, Robb Wells, Mike Smith
Described as an, "alternative-rock band with a metal edge", Fugitive Underground, a three person band based out of Kingston, Ontario, has slowly carved out a place for themselves on the Canadian independent music scene. In 2010, they won Bandslam, a music competition put together by a local radio station, K-Rock 105.7, that pits various indie bands against each other. As well, the year before, the band teamed up with Belleville-based filmmaker, Stan Hart ("Reel Zombies", "Summer School Zombies"), to produce a first-of-its-kind horror video showcase entitled DVD of The Dead.
Fugitive Underground or F.U., for short, was formed in 2003, by Ryan Gollogly (vocals/guitar), with long time friend/brother in law William Campbell (bass/vocals), and friend Shayne Brampton, who left and was replaced by Keith Thompson on drums. Together these four, guided by director Hart, and a cast of nearly one hundred extras, poured over a gruelling six day schedule that lasted nearly four months (September to December) and included dozens of hours of post production digital effects, to yield the most bad-ass DVD/music extravaganza of its type.
DVD of the Dead, the end result of the multi-month collaboration and multi-year friendship, is, as I said, a near first of its kind. A zombie horror movie set almost entirely to music. While some will point out that Jon Olsen's "Zombies of Eureka" worked with the concept first, the fact that Stan has created a veritable cinematic orgasm for gore fans -- all put to music, is what sets it apart. Where Olsen has merely applied make up and had his actors wander around and set that to a pre-recorded music track, Stan goes full-bore into the fire, providing not only an interesting minimalist set up, but a near non-stop visual assault to includes more decapitations, dismemberments, acts of cannibalism, face ruptures, beatings, bullet wounds, head explosions, internal organ flinging, and nudity than one is likely to see this side of an Andreas Schnaas film.
DVD of the Dead is arranged into three different segments -- "Getting There", "The Show" and "The Full Zombie Apocalypse" - each of unravels at a breakneck pace, and lays out a different aspect of the story. Fugitive Underground's hits, "True Spirits Fire" and "Living for Nothing", providing the intense and equally fast-paced music needed to help lend depth to the frantic visuals playing out.
Following a brief newscast, we discover that Earth is in the midst of a zombie outbreak that has ravaged the population. No doubt, the end is nigh. Holed up in the basement of their warehouse, Fugitive Underground band members, Ryan, Will and Keith decide that they aren't going to sit and cower. Raising their beer bottles in triumph, they stake their claim. They have one more show to play and they are going to get there if even if it kills them. Saddling up with an endless supply of weapons, bullets and alcohol, they set off in the silver mini-van for their multi-mile trek to the bar where they are scheduled to play. Before the evening is over, hundreds of zombies will be dispatched, as the members do battle with guns, fists and even chain saws, in their attempt to give their surviving (and non-surviving) fans what they paid for -- a rock concert to end all rock concerts.
I can't even begin to explain the sheer amount of gore on display here, as Stan offers a savage but truncated version of events. Powering ten hours of gore and concert footage into such a scant running time, while trying to stay true to the story and his vision, it's obvious that Stan had a lot more to offer. Hence, the only problem I had with this DVD was that there wasn't more of it.
While Stan relies heavily on digital effects for some of the scenes, namely a ghoulish chain saw massacre segment, he doesn't skimp on the real thing, providing a veritable parade of zombified extras ready to take a beating or, in one case, act as a target for his swift-moving van. Pretty astonishing when you consider that Stan was operating on a near non-existent budget. Also shocking: According to the making of featurette, included as an extra on the DVD, one night in October, the Time To Laugh Comedy Club in Kingston, was turned into something straight out of a George Romero movie, as Stan and crew laboured with make-up and an endless supply of syrup to turn each and every person at the club that night into a zombie. This kind of commitment to his craft, with nary a cent being spent from anyone but himself, shows through into the final product and compliments perfectly Fugitive Underground's amazing music package.
Also included on the DVD is a number of extras and Easter eggs including some remarkable menus, two trailers, a pair of bizarre talking doll segments titled Voorhees vs Krueger and Swatman Dan. As well there's footage of Fugitive Underground at the Battala Rock Stars competition, and a special segment from 2008 in which F.U. lead singer/guitarist, Ryan Gallant, shared center stage with the legendary Trailer Park Boys. Yes, thee Trailer Parker Boys. Also included, as I mentioned earlier, is a Making of DVD of the Dead featurette. Compiled and edited by Stan Hart, the segment details the trials and tribulations of shooting the film over the course of four months. It's not all fun in the sun. Everything from principals quitting, to problems with lighting, to seasonal changes, to trying to schedule production around band members that never seem available for shooting; such are some of the burdensome things that befell Stan as he laboured to produce the footage he needed.
For a band known for producing dark and bitter songs, laden with references to drug addiction, love, and death, DVD of the Dead, an apocalyptic, gore-filled, zombie fest, works perfectly, both as a vehicle to market their music, and as a homage to their rock and gore movie forefathers. The only thing I can say is, if you see this in your local HMV or CD store, pick it up. Gore fans, this bloodbath-set-to-music awaits you.
Update: You can now purchase a copy online for a measely $9.99 by clicking HERE. Or look for a copy at Amazon.com.