Town of the Living Dead – Episode 2 “Premature Explosion”

Town of the Living Dead (Photo: Syfy)
Town of the Living Dead (Photo: Syfy)

In episode two, the crew of Thr33 Days Dead either disprove the theory of evolution or terrify the audience by showing that they are the smartest Jasper, AL has to offer.

Recap

Since the production and Tina have both run out of money, Tina took out a mortgage on her house and has donated the entire $17,000 to the production1. What is the main reason this money is needed for now? Because Terry2 suggested that a boat explosion be added to the movie. As anyone could have predicted, this did not end well.

Film school thoughts

The first and impressive explosion (Photo: Syfy)
The first and impressive explosion (Photo: Syfy)

Terry decides that there are two things and only two things he needs to do to be able to create explosions that would give Michael Bay a run for his money: going to the library to read about explosions and getting his sister’s boyfriend, Chance, to help since Chance loves blowing things up. The incompetent duo buy numerous chemicals and dynamite for the explosion.

The second and underwhelming explosion (Photo: Syfy)
The second and underwhelming explosion (Photo: Syfy)

These people on Town of the Living Dead keep discussing how they consider themselves to be professionals and how seriously they take their work. You know what real professionals do for a scene like this? They get insurance, permits, back up props, rehearse the scene numerous times, block the action before arriving on set, hire professionals to control the explosives, and, most importantly, they don’t buy detonators on eBay. It’s a miracle no one has been killed on the set of this movie yet.

Stop digging; we’ve struck gold

Pictured: a guy whose basement the police should definitely check (Photo: Syfy)
Pictured: a guy whose basement the police should definitely check (Photo: Syfy)

Chance. His name says it all. He claims to have three loves in his life: women, explosions, and food3. Truly, he is a Renaissance man for the ages.

After jury-rigging the boat with explosives, Chance hands Terry the detonator he got off of eBay. The men hook the wires to the detonator, and while the rest of the crew is rehearsing their blocking with the cameras off, the boat explodes. Terry repeatedly insists that he did not touch the detonator that is in his hands4.

Realizing they need5 another boat, Tina lies to a boat owner’s face to get his boat, insisting she will bring it back completely unscathed. They put another round of explosives on this new boat and call action. When this “explosion” happens, it’s the equivalent of 3 smoke bombs going off: zero fire and just some lazy smoke hanging around the boat6. The best part is that Bryan walks directly in front of the camera, which blocks most of the shot of the “explosion.” Yet another time film school would’ve come in handy.

Throughout all of this, Chance is always waiting in the wings with a maniacal smile and giddy eagerness to blow something up.  Chance is the 21st century Lennie, if Lennie had a thing for explosives instead of rabbits.  The producers of Town of the Living Dead will find a way to keep Chance on the show if they want good ratings7, regardless of the liability he posses to himself and others around him.

Bless your heart

John might have a heart attack before filming is completed.  He is first uncomfortable with Tina taking a mortgage out on her house to finance the film.  Then, he opposes Terry’s idea about the boat explosion, stating that they should first finish shooting the script before spending time and money to film a scene they haven’t planned for and that isn’t in the script.  Tina overrules John8 and it’s very obvious that he’s choking back words of opposition.  Toward the end of the episode, John says, “I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me later in my career.” That line made me want to give him a warm cup of tea and a hug while telling him, “Oh, sweetheart, you’re never going to have a career in film.”  Bless your heart, John; you’re trying.

Best quotes

Tina: A lot of people think [the film] is religious [because of the title, Thr33 Days Dead]. No, no. In fact, the first zombie was in the Bible, if you look. It says when Christ died, the dead rose up and walked the earth.9

 

Bryan: I’m an actor and, uh, I get real anxious and panicky. I’m just looking for something to help with anxiety – cure it, take the edge off.

“Pharmacist”10: I would probably try St. John’s wort, then. That’s gonna be your easiest thing.

Bryan: Who is St. John? Like in the Bible?

 

Chance: There’s a lot of tears that were shed yesterday, but today, we’re about to do an explosion! I’m trying to blow a chicken’s ass out. I feel like a welfare child on Christmas Day! You know what I’m saying?11

 

  1. This now puts her total investments into this film at $42,000. She is the only investor  
  2. the special effects guy  
  3. It’s hard to believe that he was the strongest swimmer out of millions  
  4. He insists that it must have been a faulty detonator. So, wait, are you telling me something you bought off of eBay was not up to professional standards?! What’s next? Is that Nigerian prince I wired my bank account information to not going to pay me back?!  
  5. need = want even though it’s pointless  
  6. At least they’ll be able to give the guy his boat back. They were originally intending to destroy it without telling him  
  7. or any ratings at all  
  8. Welcome to Hollywood, kid! She who has the gold makes the rules  
  9. Get it, girl. But don’t forget the O.G. of zombies, Lazarus.  
  10. He’s behind the pharmacy counter, but he has a “we needed someone immediately so the boom mic operator stepped in front of the camera” feeling about him. Maybe that glazed look is just how everyone in Jasper is  
  11. I absolutely do not, and I don’t think anyone else does either.  

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About Becca Marshall 36 Articles
Becca has been writing about film and television since convincing her junior high English teacher that comparing and contrasting the film and stage versions of Romero and Juliet was a good idea for a term research paper. After getting her BA in English and film studies, she doubled down on liberal arts and got an MA in television, radio, and film from Syracuse University. Becca is incredibly proud to be an Aggie and entertains her non-Texan friends with Southern colloquialisms. Her hobbies include watching Golden Girls and her interests include all things zombies - she's simple, not basic. Email: becca@whatelseison.tv