Welcome to The Dead Club

Last weekend, Midnight Pictures was invited to travel up north to the seaside town of Ballycastle, to do a one-day filmmaking workshop with the town’s already established Film Club run by our friend Harry Hamill (who stars in several of our own films). Only two people showed up to take part (maybe due to the rain), which meant we couldn’t film our intended story. Nevertheless, Andrew Harrison and I didn’t let that dampen our enthusiasm. A quick scout around an adjacent ruined building got us thinking along post-apocalypse lines. It really was a fantastic location (as you’ll see). And what post-apocalyptic scenario did we choose? Do you really need to ask? Well, for the first time since 1993, Midnight Pictures returns to where it all began … zombies!

I’m quite proud of how this movie turned out. We managed to record a complete six-minute movie in the space of five hours, complete with zombie make-up and blood (courtesy of some art paint we found on the premises). I spent yesterday and today editing the movie, and it was a real joy seeing it come together. I was especially pleased with the climactic fight scene, which felt genuinely tense to watch.

Hope you enjoy The Dead Club

18 thoughts on “Welcome to The Dead Club

  1. Ed

    You know Darryl you could’ve made soundtracks for any of Argentos films!

    Like Goblin’s soundtracks?

  2. Darryl Sloan

    Whoops! I’d better fess up. The soundtrack to The Dead Club (as well as the various school club movies) has been, er, “borrowed.” It didn’t occur to me that people might assume I composed it. It takes a lot of work to compose music, so I generally only do it for official Midnight Pictures movies. When it’s a movie-for-fun, I use a shortcut.

    I do indeed like Goblin’s soundtracks. They’re terrific. Phenomena is my favourite album of theirs.

    Here are the true music credits for The Dead Club:

    The cemetery scene (at the beginning and end) features a track from Christopher Franke’s New Music for Films, Vol. 1. As the kids wander through the ruins, we hear a track from Ken Freeman’s soundrack to The Tripods. When the fingers come through the slits, we switch to something from Claudio Simonetti’s (Goblin member) Evil Tracks. The part where the kids wander through the house and the end title theme are by ex-videogame artist Bjorn Lynne. The former is from his album Colony and the latter a non-album track called “Boomer.” And finally, the fight scene is from Tangerine Dream’s Near Dark soundtrack.

  3. Michael Reed

    Great stuff, very entertaining. Particularly impressive for five hours filming work.

    If I had to put my finger on my favourite aspect, it would be the editing and use of insert/long shots. Just adds a bit of a extra movie feel.

    Perhaps a bit too much camera movement but I’m sure that there were points at which you opted for hand-held for expediency rather than for artistic reasons.

    Overall a great job and shame that you were so time constrained. It would have been interesting to see what you could have done with the same set-up of cast, crew, gear, and location but with an additional day for some story boarding and make up etc.

    Did you stumble onto any new tricks from the shoot?

  4. Darryl Sloan

    No new tricks, as such, but the experience made me realise something about writing movies. If I had sat down to write a script for The Dead Club without having seen the location, it wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting. For instance, the bit where the hands come through the slits and the zombie bursts through – that only occurred to us when we were filming at the spot. Totally unplanned, but great.

    As a screenwriter, it made me realise that I should incorporate location hunting into the writing process itself.

    Glad you liked to movie, Mike. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Anonymous

    Liked it Darryl. I too thought the music was familiar (Goblinesque) and was surprised it wasn’t composed by you. The funny bit for me was when the bitten kid pulls his jumper down and stands stock still. Unfortunately made the ending that little bit more obvious.

    Lee – Eibonfilms

  6. Darryl Sloan

    Hi, Lee.

    Oh, the ending is a total cliche. We were just just having fun and not caring a great deal about originality. Couldn’t afford to, with the clock ticking.

    Glad you enjoyed it. If the music sounded like I composed it, it’s because the likes of Goblin and Tangerine Dream are heavy influences on my own style.

  7. megsy800

    Another great video darryl, how do you manage to make the videos look as good as they are? I’m sure it took a lot of effort so well done!!

  8. Darryl Sloan

    Heh! Seventeen years of experience, that’s how. Not sure if you were even born when we were getting started!

    Glad you enjoyed the movie.

  9. Good laugh! Well done all – especially Lee and Daniel. Great careers in front of them… Some great angles/shots. Very atmospheric. As someone involved in the Youth Links building where it was filmed I was pleased to see such good use made of it all. Particularly interesting to see how useful the derelict garage proved to be. Something about sow’s ears and silk purses, and, if you want something to go with other bits of your website, about the potential and even beauty in what may seem ugly and useless to those who can’t see. So, thanks for recording the garage for posterity, before it all becomes the Community Cinema, Youth Cafe, Recording studios and rehearsal rooms we are working towards… Maybe meet you next time you’re all up here. Good luck.

  10. Thanks, David. Harry has invited Andrew and I to do another filmmaking workshop for Halloween. So, hopefully see you there.

    I was on your site. Love the idea of a solar cinema!

  11. A fun short, Darryl! Nice to see you done up as a zombie again!

    A quick question: have you cast yerself as a villain in all of the Midnight Pictures films, and if so why? (Various walkers in Zombie Genocide, the boss-baddie in The Wages of Sin, the even the spacealien in Encounter at Black Ridge) Just wondering!

    I keep asking authors to name a villain after me, but so far this quirky wish has only been granted once.

    Thanks again!


  12. Casting is something that Andrew takes fairly seriously, and he arranges proper auditions where we carefully select who plays what based on their acting ability. My sheer size (6ft 4, large frame) is often a factor in determining who I play. Basically, the bigger you are, the meaner you can look. But I do like playing baddies; you get to have more fun.

    I’ll keep your wish in mind, Mick!

  13. Many thanks, Darryl!

    After seeing that one of the baddies in Philip Henry’s Mind’s Eye was a guy named Mr. Sloan who works at the narrator’s school, I was wondering if it was a tribute or if you had a similar wish.

    Cheers for the PH recommendation, BTW! Very enjoyable.


  14. Ah, I’m glad you picked up Phil’s novel. The character Mr. Sloan isn’t a tribute to me. Wasn’t he a scoundrel in the novel? 🙂 I can’t remember. There is a reason behind the naming of the character (and other characters) in the novel, but I’m not sure Phil wants those reasons made public. You’ll have to ask him. 🙂

  15. Swifty

    Really enjoyed that zombie film, the two lads did a great job ! I heard ‘is there anybody out there’ story and really enjoyed that too 🙂
    Keep up the good work !

  16. Thanks, Matt. Check out “The Siren,” too, which we also made with Ballycastle Film Club.

    I decided to be selective on the film page, just to place emphasis on what I consider to be our most important and popular works. “Saul’s Pupils” and the others were on YouTube for a while, but they really weren’t getting many downloads. Ignorance by over-saturation, I think.

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