The dawn of a new dead

A friend of mine posted photographs of herself with blood dripping from her mouth and her limbs hanging off.. it’s not every day you see such things. After an inquisitive message was sent asking where she was able to masquerade in broad daylight as a brain eating zombie, I found out she was an extra in a film called THE SOULLESS. Luckily, I followed a chain of people and was able to interview the director, Chris Eilenstine, of the film.. I am inspired by what he said.

Let me first step back a bit.. Zombie movies are out of control. They are everywhere.. and they are hungry for viewers. Most zombie flicks I have seen featured the same tired and lackluster acts. The dreadful soundtrack along with the blood curdling noises of the dead slurping up cartilage and brains. That gets tired, quickly..

There have been a few gems in heap of trash, but those are far and few between. One such movie that made me scratch my head by yet appreciate the desire to do something different was PONTYPOOL.

The SOULLESS sounds different. It is inventive, and it does not sound one bit like anything I have seen before.

Chris Eilenstine started making movies when he was 14. He has a long history of productions behind him. The movie THE SOULLESS is in post-production.

According to the information, Eilentine’s film is budged at $50,000—a low budget film by any definition. But when you consider the plot, you may want to give it a try.

soullessEilenstine gave the HORROR REPORT the backstory on the film. The movie is the story of David and Nicole Peterson, a father and daughter who have survived a genetic plague that has turned the majority of the  human race into a primitive, animal like race. David and Nicole have a special immunity to these new humans.

Here is where things get different: The main characters are completely ignored by them and can  walk amongst them without fear of being attacked.

Eilenstine  said that he conceived of this idea while reading an article of the mapping of our DNA and that aging is not decay, but  a form of mutation we go through in life.   “I wanted to tell the story of a scientist who rewrites our DNA and sends us back to the beginning. He does this  believing the human race will destroy itself unless he helps it. So he releases a virus and ‘reboots’ humanity.”

The majority of THE SOULLESS was shot in Monmouth County, New Jersey. That’s where my friend was able to don her best zombie attire to rampage the streets as an extra.

Eilenstine seems intent on recreating the zombie genre, toying with the concept almost like the scientist who rewrites DNA. Eilenstine said,

This film series is very different than other zombie films. It has gore, but never dwells on it. It is used in the way I believe gore should be used- to horrify, not just shock. But The SOULLESS is very much a human drama about David and Nicole and he will do anything to keep her alive and try to give her a chance at a normal life. It is also a very sci-fi driven storyline, with a horror framework. The ‘Zombies’ of the story are a surprise, and I do not want to spoil that for anyone. The series is so different in fact that we adopted a tag line for it that goes ‘Forget Everything You Know About the Living Dead…THE RULES HAVE CHANGED!’.”

Eilenstine joked, “There are no shambling, decomposing corpses digging themselves out the grave and eating brains in this series. The ‘zombies’ are all sympathetic characters, some are animals, yes- but still human, still deserving of existence.”

The rules have changed indeed. The idea of a sympathetic zombie is reminiscent of the mellow and mild mannered Frankenstein that appeared on film decades ago. Are we ready for zombies with (and without) a heart?

Eilenstine is no stranger to horror. It’s his favorite genre, along with science fiction. He said that George Romero and Alfred Hitchcock were his inspiration. And it was the movie ALIEN, along with DAWN OF THE DEAD, that moved him enough to make movies himself. He told the HORROR REPORT, “The visual style of Romero’s films influenced me greatly. Today I really look forward to learning more about the independent horror market and the people making them. There is a lot of interesting work being done in this genre today.”

1013722_10204886015660482_699038867214194339_nBut what scared Chris Eilenstine? Zombies? Slashers? Darkness at midnight hour? No.. not at all. What scares him is what scares me–and what should scare all of us. Eilenstine said, “People who feel that the lives of other people are worthless, and those who believe people who think differently than them deserve to die.”

“They are the true monsters,” he finished, “they scare the hell out of me.”

While low on budget, the SOULLESS appears to be in depth on horror on even more on the big pictures in life. One big picture is death. Eilenstine revealed, “The Soulless does explore these ideas, and in ways that will be fresh and thought provoking for those who view it. It is my sincere hope that when THE SOULLESS becomes a series it will be a show people passionately discuss and think about.”
The HORROR REPORT looks forward to thinking about it, and seeing the film. We will certainly pass along any other information as it becomes available.

THE SOULLESS is a trilogy Part One: Z-DAY is scheduled for December 2014 with Part 2: Sanctuary for the late spring and Part 3: Revelations in the late summer, 2015.