“Apex Rising” is a far more than a mere zombie fest. While it would be inappropriate to divulge too much information this early on, suffice it to say that this movie, while featuring zombies, is much more about exploring certain aspects of human nature. The project is the brainchild of Jim Terriaca, head of Big Thunder Productions, and director, writer and producer of the film.
An amazing day of filming took place on August 26 in Holbrook, NY at Momo’s Sports Bar and Grill, which was kind enough to open its doors for the shoot. Jim had his hands full with mass numbers of zombies and a number of bar patrons who were signed on to be extras. His son James Joseph served very well as Assistant Director and Cinematographer, and Bryan Woodward, who also acted in the film, provided directorial and cinematography assistance as well. Mike Cicchetti stood behind a camera and Brian Laube operated the boom. Food was provided for all.
On set, the Big Thunder Productions team, which included the makeup talents of Susan Bannon and a large team of makeup artists, created a very believable zombie swarm. Bob and Frank Socci had their hands full corralling Zombies. The day was long – shooting started around 1:30PM and the set wasn’t wrapped until midnight – but the enthusiasm was palpable. Cheers and standing ovations went up during a zombie attack scene, and all the extras in the crowd of zombies couldn’t wait to be filmed “on the march.”
When it came time to shoot the zombie horde seeking food or trying to break into the bar, the film that was captured was epic. Each and every one of the 150 or so zombies gave it their all, and the scenes clearly benefited from it. Keeler Vernon (aka Jason) deserves a lot of credit for both his work as casting director and as an important character in the film. Matt Burns, who will be on tour with the Broadway musical “Shrek,” plays the sidekick to Keeler’s character. Joe Ciminera, known for his tv show “Taste This TV” and most recently for his films “Purification” and “Acedia,” is a villain in this film; and Larry Costa, having recently starred in Gabe Rodriguez’s “Havana in Bushwick” and “Larry Ravioli,” will also have an important role.
With several successful days of shooting under wraps, the story is still far from told. Jim Terriaca’s ability to bring out the best in everyone is a huge plus and will likely be the deciding factor in the future of the franchise. “Apex Rising” is a prime example of how motivation and the hard work of many people of professional grade talent can bring a project to life. And much more is still to come.