Town of the Living Dead‘s 9th & 10th episodes show the light and dark sides of indie filmmaking. However, even the dark sides aren’t that dark when they involve the director wearing a wrestling unitard and Mexican wrestling mask.
Exercise is the name of the game in episode 9 (“Zombie Fun Run”) of Town of the Living Dead. Out of money, Tina & Co. decide to raise funds by having – you guessed it – a zombie fun run. In his own B story, Chase enlists the skills of Master Ferrell1 in order to lose some weight. This storyline is quickly dropped, just as I assume Chase quickly dropped his efforts to get in shape.
Episode 10 (“Nightmare in Jasper”) is when things take a turn for the worse. After receiving a cease and desist at the end of the last episode and having production shut down, John decides that enough is enough and quits. Poor John tries to acclimate to life outside Thr33 Days Dead filming, but the crew and the rest of the town won’t give him a moment’s peace about it. I really, really hope that somewhere on the cutting room floor at Syfy2 there is footage of John saying this.
Film school thoughts
Episode 9 reminded me of another film that famously ran out of funding during filming: Apocalypse Now. All I could think of during this episode was how Coppola could’ve had a fun run in the jungle. Hearts of Darkness would’ve been a drastically different movie if this had happened. Actually, Coppola could’ve just billed a footrace between Brando and a 14 year-old Laurence Fishburne and made double his original budget.
As far as TotLD goes, it must asked: exactly how many dream/fantasy sequences does one movie need? I’m guessing Tina & Co. got their answer from Hitchhiker’s Guide, and the answer is 42. I expect to see 42 dream/fantasy sequences in Thr33 Days Dead, which is 42 more dream/fantasy sequences than there should be.
Also, kids, don’t think you can ambush someone in film – in this case, Robert Englund, AKA Freddy Krueger – without someone from a major network or studio greasing the wheels for you beforehand. While Tina & Co. were successful in “convincing” Mr. Englund to come to Jasper to talk to John about resuming his directorial duties, any layperson trying this will simply succeed in being escorted off the premises.
Stop digging; we’ve struck gold
During his sabbatical, John decides to take some time for himself. He does some yoga, learns to swim, and even dabbles with a juice cleanse3. The real gold, though, comes after John attends a wrestling match with his brother and decides that he is going to return to his first love: wrestling. Seeing John dressed up in a wrestling unitard and a Mexican wrestling mask while shadowboxing in his living room was priceless4. It’s clearly being played up for laughings when his mother shows up and he throws on a robe but leaves his mask on when answering the door, but it still works.
Bless your heart
Chase. I really don’t have to say anything more, but I will. After working out once with Master Ferrell, Chase proclaims that he is going to get in shape and finally have a good body. This is preceded by a scene where Chase sat on a bench and ate foods that all have the descriptor “fried” in their names5. It’s almost sad to see the levels of self-delusion this man has reached. He eats more calories in one sitting than most people should consume in a day6, and he still thinks he can get in shape? Luckily, this sadness doesn’t stick around for long because the last scene we see of Chase’s health journey is Chase getting beaten up by a children’s class at Master Ferrell’s karate studio. Bless your heart, Chase, I guess getting taken down a peg or two7 by a young girl in a gi was too much to handle.
Laura [while helping Tina go through receipts for bookkeeping]: Why do we have a receipt for a dildo?
Tina: Honestly, there are no stupid suggestions – except for Chase’s, of course.
Tina [while Chase is stripping down to his tighty whities for a scene]: Chase, do NOT show me your hairy Ewok! I just seen the end of the earth.
Gary: Quit lookin’!
Tina: I can’t help it! He was pulling his socks off, and it winked at me!8
- the karate “master” from episode 4 ↵
- and by that, I mean a hard drive in an editing bay ↵
- Pro tip: if your juice cleanse doesn’t involve a flask, you’re doing it wrong. Maybe we share the same heroes: Marilyn Truman and Lucille Bluth ↵
- Pretty sure there was a Kinect offscreen, but shadowboxing seemed so much cooler ↵
- He even ate food off the sidewalk that he’d dropped ↵
- unless you’re Michael Phelps ↵
- both physically and verbally ↵
- This just became my favorite exchange on this show. I know there are a couple more episodes to air, but I don’t think this can be beaten. ↵