Don’t let the title Silent Night, Zombie Night fool you. While writer/director Sean Cain is clearly paying homage to the campy 80s slasher flick Silent Night, Deadly Night, there’s nothing campy about his latest film.
“SNZN is really the story of three people who emotionally fall apart and come together during a zombie pandemic,” explained Cain. “So while yes, the movie is about zombies, it’s really about these three people dealing with their own issues during a horrific ordeal.”
Taking place a week before Christmas, SNZN is about a viral outbreak that’s unleashed, turning LA citizens into the feral undead. While facing the devastating effects of the outbreak, LAPD officer Frank Talbot (Jack Forcinito) is also faced with the decision of whether or not to leave both his wife Sarah (Nadine Stenovitch) and his partner Nash (Andy Hopper).
Other SNZN cast members include genre favorites Lew Temple (The Devil’s Rejects) and Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), as well as veteran character actor Vernon Wells (Commando, The Road Warrior).
Cain’s experience filming SNZN vastly differed when compared to his experience directing his first feature, Naked Beneath the Water. In fact, Cain said that what prepared him to get ready to make SNZN was his work on someone else’s film, not his own movie.
“Naked was mostly shot on weekends over a period of time with mostly non-professional actors, so making SNZN was in a whole different arena for me,” said Cain. “I really gained a better understanding for movie-making when I produced a film called Someone’s Knocking on the Door, which had an 11 day shoot.
“For that film, I was the producer/1st A.D. so I had make the nuts and bolts come together each day so we could get what we needed,” Cain continued. “Like SNZN, the pre-production was about a month but SNZN had less money, so that meant less people to assist me.”
Filming for the 12-day shoot for SNZN started off well enough but near the end, Cain described the experience as “nothing short of brutal.”
Cain discussed the shoot hardships by saying, “First, we had one of our lead actors get into an accident the very same morning that they had a major scene to shoot. He even had to have surgery, so that set us back a bit. Thank God that in the end, he was fine.
“We had another shoot location where everyone got sick and I realized that there was no way we were going to get that scene in the film,” Cain added. “I have to say that I am in the editing process right now and I am not really missing that scene so luckily, it all worked out.”
Cain even had a bit of a run-in with local law enforcement. During one of the scenes that was filmed near a duplex bordering an industrial area, the police mistook the large group of the zombie actors assembled in the area for a bunch of gang-bangers.
“I was inside and heard the cops and had no idea what was going on,” said Cain. “I suddenly realized just what the situation was and thought to myself ‘oh shit, that’s us.’ I just wish someone had thought to get some behind-the-scenes footage because it was totally surreal. Once they saw our permits, everything worked out.”
Cain decided to set SNZN around Christmas so the holiday itself would serve as a poignant backdrop for the main characters in the film.
“I think people sometimes don’t realize that you can tell an interesting story within the context of a horror movie, just as long as it’s a good story,” said Cain. “If you make a movie that shows as a director you are obviously invested in the characters and the premise you are presenting, then audiences will want to care too.”
While the director is still in post-production with SNZN, he’s already looking towards his next project, Breath of Hate, which will again team him with ArsonCuff Entertainment (Wes Laurie of ArsonCuff penned the Breath of Hate script), who are prodcing SNZN. Cain describes it as, “Jack Ketchum-esque horror. It’s not just a horror movie but more of a film that is about the horror that we do to each other.”
Cain recently launched the website for SNZN. While Cain is the first to admit that he’s faced a lot of uphill battles early on in his directing career, he’s happy with how everything has turned out professionally so far.
“My whole life has been working towards these moments,” he enthused, “Even though it’s been tough and brutal and I’ve dealt with my fair share of bullshit over the years, I really wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s been an amazing ride so far.”
Keep it on Dread Central for more Silent Night, Zombie Night updates as the film nears completion!
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