Waco movie multiplexes fill with horror movies as Halloween approaches and the next few days will see smaller screens at the Waco Hippodrome and McLennan Community College get into the act, one with an annual horror movie festival, the other with Waco’s own zombie film from 2008.
The festival, the Dark Mirror Film Festival, looks at how societal issues get reflected in horror and terror movies and comes courtesy of MCC, which will host it from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday at Room 111 of MCC’s Michaelis Academic Center.
Three movies are on the schedule: “Gremlins,” at 3 p.m.; “Evil Dead 2” at 5 p.m.; and “Shaun of the Dead” at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
“Risen,” the filmed-in-Waco zombie film, gets its screening at 7 p.m. Monday at the Waco Hippodrome with director Damon Crump, lead actress GiGi Erneta and possibly Stephen Lee of Belton planning on intending.
The movie, written and co-produced by David Talbot, was filmed in the Waco area — Waco, Bellmead, Lacy Lakeview, Hewitt, Woodway and Crawford, to be specific, with a climactic zombie assault on the Bellmead Convention Center — back in 2005. The film took longer to finish and was officially released in 2008, said Crump, a Waco videographer, director and producer.
Shot at the high end of a five-figure budget, “Risen” followed a Texas couple and their son who find their neighborhood, then city, under attack by relentless zombies — years before AMC’s television series “The Walking Dead” became a national sensation.
“For the budget we had, it was a pretty ambitious film,” Crump said. It also featured scores of local residents as zombie extras, many of whom went cheerfully through gory makeup work for each major shot.
It’s been several years since “Risen” appeared on the big screen and Crump said the openness of the Waco Hippodrome to show independent, non-studio films made him decide to try a Halloween weekend showing.
“Risen” had screenings at several film festivals and a few movie theaters after its release, but its distribution deal didn’t cover a DVD release in the United States, which means the film’s viewing audience overseas may be as large as its domestic one. Recent years also have seen the collapse of the DVD market, making an American DVD release unlikely at this point, Crump said.
The movie is known as “Risen” in the United States — though a 2016 major studio film about a Roman centurion investigating Jesus Christ’s resurrection now bears the same title — but viewers in other countries saw other titles attached, Crump said.
In the United Kingdom, it’s “Armageddon of the Dead.” Japan’s DVD version has it “World Dead” while Germany’s is called “World of Living Dead,” the Waco director noted, adding that the box art for the Japanese and German releases also look suspiciously like the artwork for the first season of “The Walking Dead.”
It’s not just the titles that take artistic liberty, either. A blurb for the UK release called the Waco zombie movie “one of the most terrifying movies ever made,” Crump said. “I hope that people don’t show up Monday thinking that’s the case,” he said.