LEWISTON — People of all ages, shapes and sizes — not to mention varying degrees of undeadness — got their zombie on Sunday afternoon during a movie shoot at University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn College.
"It's absolutely for the fun of it," said Nola Comingore, decked out in her best zombie mom makeup and attire. "They said anybody could come, and I'm a big ham. I'm very excited about it. I want to see more of the industry around here. There's a lot of creative people."
The 49-year-old Auburn woman came out for the film shoot with her 16-year-old daughter, Zoe. Together, the two spent the morning on set filming zombie horde scenes for the upcoming Freight Train Films production "How to Kill a Zombie."
Like the 125 other zombie fanatics who showed up for the shoot, the Comingores weren't paid for their ghastly services. But they did have fun limping, moaning and groaning their way across the school's south parking lot as they stormed the local college.
Cheers accompanied by several grunts rose in the crisp air when Assistant Director P. Seth Roberts congratulated the gruesome bunch on a great take.
"I'm all about getting Maine on the map and about the economy," FTF President and actor Bill McLean said.
This is the second feature-length film by the Monmouth-based production company. Truly a family affair, the original short story and initial script for "How to Kill a Zombie" was written by McLean's 19-year-old son, Ben, and the film's director is his wife, Tiff McLean.
"It's all about this," McLean said as he looked over the eager crowd of costumed extras. "There's 140 people (between cast and crew) out here today, and they're here because they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. The community has been so great."
McLean is committed to putting Maine on the independent film map. FTF's first feature-length movie, 2011's "Scooter McGruder," won the People's Choice Award for Best Feature Film during the Lewiston-Auburn Film Festival. His latest production promises lots of blood, lots of gore, and lots and lots of laughs.
He calls it a "zombedy."
Ben McLean joked how his inspiration for the story spawned from his lifelong fear of zombies. The Monmouth Academy senior's morbid fascination led to a six-page list of ways to dispatch zombies in ways not necessarily sanctioned by the Centers for Disease Control.
Marshmellows and bubble wrap? Who'da thunk it? Toothpicks? For real?
"It's been so much fun," actor and Lewiston Zombie Walk organizer Ron Lawlor said. "It's a more and more accepted form of entertainment. A lot of the kids are excited about being in the film."
Lawlor and fellow LZW organizer Stephan Bernard are encouraging people to come out for the midday walk through downtown Lewiston on Halloween. He hopes many of Sundays actors will find themselves drawn to Simard-Payne Memorial Park next week at high noon to let their inner-zombies roam free once more.
"It's been a blast. There's a lot of good people here," said Dale Mottram, 52, who came from Bedford, N.H., to be part of of the fun. "I'm a zombie enthusiast anyways, so it's interesting to be part of a zombie movie."
Mottram met McLean when he was on his way home to New Hampshire from a Massachusetts business trip late one night and stopped to help McLean with his broken-down vehicle. McLean suddenly popped the question: "You want to be in a movie?"
It caught Mottram off guard at first, but then he listened as McLean went on about the movie, the production company and all things Maine.
"He's very passionate about his production and his production company. And that kind of passion made me want to be part of his movie," Mottram said.