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Taylorville filmmaker premieres 'Zombie Movie' at Lincoln Friday

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DECATUR - More than 200 Central Illinois residents were bitten by the Hollywood bug and transformed into zombies for Brandon Clayton's latest film, "Zombie Movie."

"Zombie Movie" makes its premiere tonight at the Lincoln Square Theatre. The locals either worked on the film or played a role in the movie.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and will also include a showing of Clayton's other film, "Six Degrees of Stardom."

Clayton, 24, moved back to his hometown Taylorville a year ago from Los Angeles to work on the movie.

"I still like the heartwarming area of the Midwest," Clayton said about why he decided to film in Taylorville, adding that it was cheaper to film at home than in Los Angeles.

Set in the fictional town of Equinox, Ill., the film focuses on four main characters bitten by zombies.

With their fate already decided, the contaminated survivors lock themselves away from the world, awaiting their transformation into the undead, said the movie's MySpace Web page.

"It's more comedy than horror," Clayton said.

Clayton describes all of his films as "straying away from the norm." His work includes "The Taylorville Chainsaw Massacre" (1999), "Ace of Spades" (2002) and "For Glory and Gashes," which won the Best Documentary at the Little Muddy Film Festival and Audience Favorite Documentary at the Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield, both in 2006.

"Six Degrees of Stardom" - the full title is "Six Degrees of Stardom or How Ronald Reagan Remembers the Life of Brandon Clayton" - is a film Clayton said he's gotten a lot of flack about.

The movie is based on Clayton's life during his spring 2005 semester at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, with an added twist of him discovering time travel and changing history accordingly, according to the Hazard Films Web site, Clayton's independent film company.

The film touches on such issues as the Columbine shooting, the John F. Kennedy assassination and 9/11.

"Some of the things we say in the film can be taken as controversial, but it was never intended," Clayton said.

Filmed in black-and-white, "Zombie Movie" imitates classic zombie movies.

"(There's) nobody roughly too famous (in this film), until hopefully this film comes out," he said. "I think the Midwest crowd will enjoy it."

Clayton said that if he can fill the seats at the Lincoln, he will eat his shoe on stage - "Seriously," he added.

"I try to promote every film as a bad film," Clayton said, "because if it's a bad film, it's not a lie. If it's a good film, it's a pleasant surprise."

WHAT: "Zombie Movie," a Brandon Clayton film.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today.

WHERE: Lincoln Square Theatre, Decatur.

ADMISSION: Free.

EXTRA: Concessions and alcoholic beverages will be available to customers over 21.

ON THE WEB:

www.hazardfilms.com

www.747productions.net

www.myspace.com/zombiemoviethemovie

Alicia Spates can be reached at aspates@herald-review.com or 421-6986.

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