If you see people in zombie makeup shambling around South Royalton this week, don’t be amazed — or scared. On Monday, Dustin Rikert, a Randolph native, started shooting a feature film there called Dug Up.
It’s a horror comedy with “a zombie aspect,” says Rob McShinsky, the unit production manager on the film. McShinsky grew up with Rikert, who left Vermont to attend the University of Southern California’s film school and has written, produced and directed a number of genre films, including The Gundown, Haunted Airplane and the belated sequel Easy Rider: The Ride Back.
McShinsky says Rikert, who now lives in Arizona, has been looking for a chance to return to his home state. Dug Up, with its Evil Dead-like plot about a young man who seeks treasure in a graveyard and unleashes a curse, offered “the right script and genre for Vermont.” The lower-budget film will probably have a “nontraditional release,” says McShinsky, with strong social-media marketing.
The crew of 25 or 30 — plus 10 paid actors — will shoot through July 10 in locations such as a real graveyard — with the town’s permission — the South Royalton B&B Antiqued INN Time, a Tunbridge back road and various covered bridges. Right now, says McShinsky, they’re using “a lot of greenscreen” so they can employ computer effects to brighten up the weather in postproduction.
And they’ve found some local extras who are “interested in being zombies on a Monday afternoon, walking through a graveyard,” says McShinsky. Beats being a cubicle zombie on Monday morning...