The tongue-in-cheek zombie flick Hide
and Creep (TV Guide calls it "delightfully cockamamy")
was filmed in Alabama, the home state of a chunk of the RevolutionSF
staff. In fact, part of it was filmed about five miles from
my mom's house. Friends of ours filmed it and acted in it, and
a flesh-ripping good time was had. So we asked them to talk
about it. We think it's fun and we think you will, too.
Hide and Creep gets its world cable television premiere
May 11 on the SciFi channel at 7 p.m., EST. That's right --
our friends and Starbuck, just two peas in a pod.
Devil Took the Wheel
by Kenn McCracken
If there's one thing that stands out in my head about the days
I spent on the sets of Hide and Creep, it's the cold.
I remember standing in the cemetary just outside of Montevallo,
Alabama, in particular, filming the scenes that feature the
first meeting of Chuck, Chris, Michael, and the mysterious government
These scenes, along with others, spotlight Michael naked (having
lost his pants in what may or may not have been an alien abduction
the night prior), and we didn't have any sort of budget on this
film. No special effects, no body doubles -- that's really Michael
Shelton naked on screen.
RevolutionSF alumnus Kenn McCracken, coming to a SciFi
Channel near you.
Here's a behind-the-scenes factoid to keep in mind when you
watch the movie: It was around 20 degrees the day we shot those
scenes. I was suffering from the peak of peripheral neuropathy
at the time (a side effect of my CIPD, peripheral neuropathy
is the loss of sensation in your extremities -- hands, feet,
nose, etc.) -- walking only with the aid of a cane, since I
couldn't feel when my feet had hit the ground and thus was prone
to falling down a lot -- and within an hour, I could feel (through
two pairs of socks, heavy boots, and nerves that worked as well
as George Lucas' idea of prequels) the pain of the cold.
All this to say: Don't be too hard on Michael.
I had worked with directors Chance Shirley and Chuck Hartsell
before, doing the score for their short film The Seven Year
Switch; they, in turn, were kind enough to kick start my
filmmaking resume by providing invaluable assistance with the
making of my first short, Goodnight Moon. And that's
the way the Birmingham film scene is -- lots of people with
varying abilities and degrees of experience, pitching in to
help out other people of varying abilities and degrees of experience.
Productions group -- Chance, his wife Stacey, and Chuck
-- had shot a couple of shorts prior to the undertaking of H&C,
and so they knew what was coming; they're not called Crewless
for nothing, and that's one of the reasons that working with
them is so rewarding. Keep in mind that a big-budget film shoot
is a unionized affair of specialties: Everyone has one job and
one job only. Costumes, set, direction, camera. A small-budget
independent film, on the other hand, has no such room for titles,
and it's nice to see the director and producer doing the grunt
work as much as anyone else.
My credit on H&C is for "Boom Operator" (guy who holds
the microphone just out of frame) and "Sound Mixer" (which is
misleading, since I didn't actually do any mixing that I can
recall); I also knew in advance that I would have a small role
in the film, as Chance had written myself and my (now ex) wife
Melissa into the script playing ever-so-slight-deviations of
Things change, of course; Melissa ended up getting one of the
starring roles, and I play the complex bit part of Kenn, a guy
who goes to a church for the first time in years to borrow money
and curse a lot.
(Yeah, I know. Big stretch. And I still don't pull it off very
convincingly. Though I did get the best death in the entire
movie, hands-down. I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen
it, but I will say that if I had to choose a way to go, this
would be on the list.)
Kenn suffers for his art.
Over the course of the months of shooting (mostly weekends
only), I also played three different zombies, shot behind-the-scenes
footage, handled props, helped recruit extras, cleaned up fake
blood, recorded sound effects, cleaned up audio in post, and
recorded the soundtrack for the film with the Exhibit(s).
And everything I did, Chance did, too, and then some, as did
Stacey, and Chuck, and everyone else involved with the film.
It's nice to be a part of creative ventures where no one is
a diva, and everyone involved is ready and willing to do any
job (no matter how mundane or banal) to get the best end result
All the hard work paid off. Hide and Creep debuted to
a huge crowd at the opening night of the 2004 Sidewalk Film
Festival, and has since gotten DVD distribution (there's something
slightly surreal about popping in to a Blockbuster in Chicago
and seeing your movie on the shelf), made it to tens if not
twenties of Netflix queues across the world, and gotten reviews
that range from scathing (those people just don't get it) to
painfully flattering (those people got it -- it being the cash
I and others sent along with the review copies). None of us
got rich off of the movie, but that was never the point (at
least, not for most of us).
In the end, we helped Chance and Chuck and Stacey make their
first feature film -- and as a short filmmaker, I'll be quick
to point out that's a huge accomplishment, in and of itself.
That the film is fun to watch, even after spending as much time
as we all did reading and rereading subsequent drafts of the
script, getting up at 4:30 a.m. (after playing gigs until 2
a.m. the night before) to drive fifty miles to backwoods Alabama
locations in sometimes brutal cold, and watching edit after
edit of the movie; that's a miracle.
Not quite on par with coming back from the dead, but hey --
at least none of us have a hunger for human flesh.
Not one that's associated with being undead, at least.
I Was A Middle-Aged Gazebo Zombie
By Kenneth Carter
My ex-wife had always said I was dead inside. Now was my chance
to finally prove it. My friend Chuck Hartsell was making a movie.
But not just any movie. He was making a zombie movie named Hide
He called me up and told me he had the perfect part for me
to play -- the pivotal role of a "Gazebo Zombie."
Needless to say, I was a more than a little apprehensive about
taking on such an important part. Could I pull it off? What
would be my motivation? Would there be snacks?
I immediately began to piece together my character. I found
some old clothes and shredded them. After all, I wasn't going
to be just some run-of-the-mill gazebo zombie. In my mind, my
off-screen transformation into a flesh-eating supernatural creature
would have come at great anguish and pain.
I arrived at a small business in Leeds near dusk. The scene
was to take place outside the Thorsby Police Department (for
which the small business was doubling). As I prepared myself
inwardly, I was also transformed outwardly. White makeup was
applied to my face. More black makeup turned my eyes into lifeless
pits. And then, I was splashed and slathered with fake blood.
I would have thought it too cool, but I was already darkening
my soul with the single-minded directive of the living dead.
As my fellow gazebo zombies and I slowly marched beneath a,
well, a gazebo, my face remained blank despite the sudden epiphany
of how my character was named.
My scene comes at the climax of the movie. At the time where
all is revealed -- the moment the protagonists realize how to
defeat the evil, undead horde.
But try not to clutter your head too much with such revelatory
thoughts, or you'll miss my big scene.
Oh yeah, and don't blink either.
Behind the Scenes with "Doug the Bartender"
by Bryan Crowson
I stood behind the bar with a dishrag and a pistol close at
hand -- tools of the trade for a bartender. I searched the depths
of my soul for my motivation . . . yes, there it is, the inner
bartender that lies deep within the psyche.
I had shed the trappings of my normal self and become "Doug
the Bartender," a man who believes unflinchingly in the God-given
rights to drink, watch TV and bear arms. It was my first step
into a larger world, the chance to practice my craft before
the camera for the filming of Hide and Creep.
My theatrical experience was finally paying off. I earned the
trophies for of "Best Actor" in both the junior and senior class
plays in 1980 and 1981 at Bibb County High School, with all
the respect and acclaim that come with the title. I took an
acting class at Auburn University from a teacher who had previously
taught Victoria Jackson, but this sullen thespian failed to
recognize my native talent. Consequently, I was discouraged,
and my yearning for the stage had lain dormant for more than
Then my friend Chuck Hartsell, one of the driving forces behind
Hide and Creep, invited me to be an extra in the film.
I showed up on a Sunday at a Fultondale bar to film a scene.
Another friend of mine and Chuck's, Shawn Ryan, was to be in
the scene, too.
Then an opportunity arrived like a free beer: The dude who
was supposed to play Doug the Bartender didn't show up. Chuck
put two pages of script into my hands.
RevolutionSF contributor Bryan Crowson makes his mark
on Tinseltown. (Fultondale, anyway.)
Could I learn two pages of dialogue in 20 minutes? You bet
. I began reading, although I was somewhat distracted
by the spectacle of scantily clad women being adorned with ghoulish
We were in position. Me behind the bar. The scantily clad barmaid
standing nearby. Shawn, who had lived the life of "Man at Bar"
and was no stranger to his character's wants and needs, wore
his role like a glove. He stared, mesmerized and unblinking,
at the fetching barmaid.
Action! I slid into character and performed my part. I even
interpreted the role and ad-libbed a bit, deliberately mispronouncing
"ak-ee-hol" as I thought Doug might for comic effect. The directors
seemed to like it and didn't object. They really knew how to
get the best out of their actors.
My only regret was that I was unable to hang around for a later
scene and be one of the men devoured by topless zombie women
in the bar. It remains one of my goals, as an actor.
I hope the Sci-Fi Channel doesn't delete my scene when Hide
and Creep is on television Thursday night, because of the
scantily clad barmaid. If they do, you can still see my compelling
performance by renting or buying the movie. Just tell them Doug
See co-director Chance Shirley's account of casting me as Doug