Library Holds Monster Movie Makeup Workshop
Some of Christine Parker's best friends are zombies -- and it's all her mother's fault.
"Growing up, I loved those old 'Hammer Horror' films," Parker explains. "My mom and I would stay up late watching Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and Christopher Lee. I also loved anything by Alfred Hitchcock."
Today Parker, who lives in Sanford, has taken that early love of horror films and parlayed it into a second career as movie producer and director.
"I was always involved in one theater production or another, but my real dream was to make movies," she says. "Finally, technology made that possible."
In 2003, Parker enrolled in the television broadcasting program at Central Carolina Community College where she learned how to shoot, edit, write and direct her own productions. It was in one of those classes that instructor Joe Wilson challenged the class to write a zombie movie, and "Second Death" was born.
"Second Death" is a 15-minute short film about six people trapped and terrorized in an old house full of zombies. It was shot entirely in Sanford and surrounding areas, including some scenes shot in Moore County. Local residents served as extras, after first attending a "zombie training camp."
Parker's latest film, "The Forever Dead," is a full-length feature and the prequel to "Second Death," explaining how those zombies came to be. Suffice it to say there was a lab experiment that went horribly wrong.
Co-writer and Assistant Director Bill Mulligan is responsible for making the zombies look as undead as possible. A high school science teacher by day, Mulligan has become an expert at creating fake scars and gore from ordinary household ingredients.
"Who says you need lots of money to create great effects?" Parker says. "Bill can do it with dryer sheets, coffee grounds, chocolate syrup and Jell-O!"
For one scene in which the zombies feast on the intestines of a hapless victim, Parker's crew cooked up something extra special.
"We wanted it to be tasty for our zombies," she says. "So we took some hog casings and stuffed them with a mixture of cherry pie filling, black cherry Jell-O mix, gooey brownies, caramel syrup and honey roasted peanuts."
"I was told it was not too bad," she says. "We did check beforehand to make sure no one was diabetic!"
For other aspiring horror filmmakers, or anyone looking to scare the bejesus out of their fellow trick-or-treaters, Mulligan and Parker will be offering a Monster Movie Makeup Workshop at the Southern Pines Public Library on Saturday, Oct. 21. Students in grades 6-12 are invited to celebrate Teen Week with this free program.
"But be warned: you may never look at strawberry Jell-O the same way," says a library spokesman.
For more information, call the library at 692-8235 or visit www.sppl.net.
Looking for more Halloween thrills and chills? "The Forever Dead" will be shown at several North Carolina theaters in the coming weeks, including The Frightmare in Raleigh on Oct. 20, and The Colony in Raleigh on Oct. 26. A little closer to home, Sandhill Cinemas in Southern Pines will show the film for their Midnight Madness Horror shows Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, at midnight. Spring Lane Cinemas in Sanford will cap off its weekend horror-fest with midnight screenings of "The Forever Dead" on Oct. 27 and 28.
For more information, visit www.theforeverdead.com.
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