Making a horror film can be a challenge, especially when you’ve never done it before and have only a shoestring budget at your command.
This couldn’t be truer for fellow horror film-geek Stephani Lofthouse, who within the span of approximately one year was able to produce a feature-length horror film. The product; Level 7– a zombie flick which takes place in her native North Carolina. Following the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster, a virus breaks out which causes people to turn into flesh eaters. Simple enough, right?
Sure, it’s a jump on the zombie bandwagon, but it’s not without its merit or originality. And the feature zombies look fan-fucking-tastic.
The film follows Felicia, a dingy, at-times annoying and ‘typical’ American woman, as she struggles to survive the zombie apocalypse. It’s a rude awakening for the protagonist, as she goes from valley girl consumerism to journeying lonely roads as she searches for sanctuary from the living dead.
The film asks the viewer many important, and existential questions; Is there a god? In the end, are we ultimately alone? How fragile is western materialism? Is humanity deserving of survival? Why am I checking out that Felicia character so damned much?
“It was definitely a challenge making the film,” said Lofthouse. “With what I had to work with to make the film, it was definitely a challenge and a lot of work. But it was fun.” Lofthouse attributed her small Western North Carolina community as a big part of making the production happen. “Everyone I know was willing to help out in some way and everyone was supportive. Who doesn’t love a zombie movie?” Lofthouse added that for her next film venture, she will improve on her planning, as that was the biggest challenge of the Level 7 filmmaking experience.
But why make an indie horror film?
Whether it was a way to preserve the memory of a friend who had passed away in 2011 (of which there are a few tips of the hat to the departed throughout the film), or the pursuit of a medium she had always wanted to pursue, or an homage to idol filmmakers such as Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, Frank Darabont or Wes Craven–it is clear Lofthouse had numerous reasons to make the film, with no shortage of passion.
“Steph is definitely a spirited filmmaker and a very serious one at that,” remarked Davin Eldridge, a Level 7 contributing writer and comic relief character in the film. “She had a vision and she went ahead and made it manifest. We had a ball [making the film].”
So far, the film has made its rounds at a few horror conventions including Full Moon Tattoo & Horror Festival and Dead Winter Horror Convention. Over the last month, since it went to DVD, it has sold over 100 copies– a modest yield for a debut film.
Lofthouse begins shooting her next film in June of this year. Those interested in ordering the DVD ($10) may contact Stephani Lofthouse at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the film, all you brainless flesh-eaters can go to facebook.com/level7movie.