Back in September of last year, I was approached by British filmmaker Spencer Hawken, who alerted me to his special project DEATH WALKS. On the surface, it’s simply a zombie film…but that would be missing the point of an ambitious and inspiring endeavor that took independent horror cinema by storm, breaking records and enlivening locals and big-names (like Jessie Williams and Francesca Ciardi) alike to lend their wares to the project. His mission wasn’t easy: to make a movie without a budget, living off donations and volunteers…and he met many complications along the way, but DEATH WALKS has officially stopped shooting, and soon embarks on something as horrifying as any ghoul…the festival circuit.
Check out the two trailers for the film:
Here’s the press release announcing its completion:
In June 2013 Brentwood based Spencer Hawken announced his intention to create a zero budget horror movie, the movie would not have a cheap look and feel, and would break all the rules when it came to zombie movies. When work began Spencer had no names to attach to his picture, by completion he had several.
Death Walks is based in an East London shopping centre, on the night of a massive street party strange things begin to happen at the centre. Firstly an Italian woman arrives called Lucrezia (Cannibal Holocaust’s Francesca Ciardi) who promises that everyone is going to die. Her visit is followed by the arrival of Poppy (Tracy Beaker star Jessie Williams), from here the 25 people left in the centre are subjected to a night of terror.
“When we began filming it was an ambitious project” says Spencer Hawken “But as time went on it became more ambitious, I was able to bring a horror legend in the form of Francesca Ciardi back to the movie industry, after many big directors tried and failed. Then I secured Jessie Williams who you can find on the BBC each and every day with shows Tracy Beaker and The Dumping Ground. Then Lucinda Rhodes (Dream Team, Fall Of The Essex Boys, Cavegirl), Joanna Finata (Rush) and a scattering of other names came aboard. By the time final shooting came, I was having to sadly turn a number of big names from British television away.”
Death Walks ran on considerably longer than expected, it was originally due to be shot over a period of 24 hours. Instead it filmed from 15th of July to the 17th of November, but Hawken claims the look is now better. The achievement for Death Walks is that it never cost a single penny to make, everything including insurance was given free of charge, or obtained on a contra basis.
“It’s been a strange few months, first we shot a film for absolutely no cost thanks to the generosity of Romford’s Mercury Mall, then we acquired a cast of legends in their own arena’s, and finally a supporting cast and crew of almost 1000 who came back week after week for no cost to complete the task. During the process I was awarded funding for future projects, found work for many of out team, created a partnership with Lucinda Rhodes which already has two movies under it’s belt, three in pre-production and two currently doing the rounds for funding.”
Editing has now began on Death Walks, but no sooner has the film wrapped than the movie is about to become a franchise, Spencer is in serious talks to make Death Walks 2, and several of the cast are keen to reprise their roles. He promises the story will be a million light years from Death Walks “If you make a zombie movie, you have to be different, people will be both impressed and annoyed by Death Walks, but all will undoubtedly agree there has NEVER been a movie like Death Walks, hence how I was able to bring current and legendary talent aboard.”
Death Walks is due to complete editing in February in time for submission to the global festival circuit.
Spencer Hawken and Lucinda Rhodes begin work on No Reasons next week, Road Rage in the Spring, and Godfathers Of London in the Summer.
Distribution for the film is still up in the air, but it’s definitely going to be making the festival rounds thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, gathering over 2,500 pounds thus far, that you can STILL support.
Some might think this is a good opportunity to call it good, to quit while they’re ahead. But no: Spencer Hawken and Lucinda Rhodes have 3 (!) films prepared for 2014, making me feel even lazier than I already felt. Enter: NO REASONS.
Last year Spencer Hawken and Lucinda Rhodes created the movie Death Walks, they followed this up with a very different horror story Revisited. Now they begin work on No Reasons, a thriller centered around every parents nightmare.
Set in Brentwood and Hornchurch the movie begins with the disappearance of 14-year-old Jodie, the movie then follows an 18 month journey for the parents as they try to discover what has become of their daughter. It’s not until a private investigator steps in however that a terrible secret, and a hidden underground world becomes exposed.
The movie is being shot for a modest £30,000 which in movie terms is very little indeed, yet the creators have gathered a very interesting cast together that includes some big names from yesteryear. “I’m a big believer in picking up people that have been forgotten by the mainstream, we have a clutch-full of very popular former Eastenders stars, a once Oscar nominated actress, and some familiar faces doing something very different to how we normally see them,” says Spencer Hawken, “…some of whom we have already gone public with, others we are keeping tight lipped about for as long as possible. I love when your sa watching a film or a TV show and suddenly this familiar face pops up you were not expecting.”
Hawken describes No Reasons as a tale unlike any other, a bit like Grange Hill meets Saw. “I’m a big believer in not doing what others are, No Reasons is a genre-jumping movie, with some very edgy ideas, and a very vivid imagination.”
Names currently attached to the project include Daniel Peacock (Robin Hood – Prince Of Thieves), and Jessie Williams (TV’s Tracy Beaker and The Dumping Ground).
Filmmakers like Spencer Hawken are what make covering the horror industry so fun, and interesting. I wish Hollywood had more like him. I can’t wait to see what DEATH WALKS and View From The Edge Films brings us in the coming year.