Cameras are ready to roll on '80s splatter-master Gregory Lamberson's latest film project, "Slime City Massacre," which will bring horror cinema to our area and local talent to the genre.
In pre-production for the past six weeks, this sequel to Lamberson's 1988 cult-classic, "Slime City," is set to begin filming in Buffalo on July 10 - more than 20 years after the original splattered across the midnight movie scene.
And just like its forerunner, "Slime City Massacre" promises to combine all that's memorable about the genre and the time period, leaving a bloody imprint on a whole new generation of horror film fanatics.
Gregory Lamberson’s Slime City Massacre is set to begin filming in Buffalo this July.
"It's a much more ambitious project than any of my previous films," Lamberson, whose directing resume also includes "Undying Love" and "Naked Fear," said. "It's full of action and really outrageous, over the top gore sequences, as you would expect from any film aimed at fans of 1980s horror flicks."
According to Lamberson, "Slime City Massacre" will serve as both a prequel and sequel to the original film.
Flashbacks to 1959 depict how cult leader Zachary Devon formed his Coven of Flesh and why its members committed ritual suicide, setting the stage for the original "Slime City" movie and providing a deeper insight into events for fans.
Meanwhile, the new film's main storyline is set in a post-apocalyptic New York City and follows four survivors who discover Zachary's elixir and "Himalayan yogurt" in the ruins of his soup kitchen, ultimately becoming possessed by the spirits of the dead cult members. The ensuing story focuses on a battle between three factions: the survivors turned "Slime Heads," cannibals and mercenaries.
However, despite all the history behind and references to the original "Slime City" movie, Lamberson said "Slime City Massacre" will appeal to both fans of the first film and newcomers to the series.
"It's sort of like The Godfather II, in that's it's both a prequel to the first film and a sequel to the first film," he explained, "but set up in such a way that you don't need to have seen the first film to understand the mythology."
So how did this film come to be, and, more importantly, how did it come to be filmed in Buffalo?
According to Lamberson, a sequel to "Slime City" was never in his plans - at least not when he wrapped up filming 20 years ago. Nor did he really ever think one would be realized until the script was actually written. In fact, even as the idea began to take shape and root in his mind, he said he held off on writing the script because he knew once he started there was no turning back.
But when the 20th anniversary of "Slime City" arrived and Lamberson started discussing the possibility of a sequel with some of the actors from the original, he began to have a change of heart.
"I never planned to do a sequel," he said. "I mean, I left the first one open because that's what you did back in the '80s, so when my foreign sales distributer said we should do a sequel, I said no. ... There was no creative reason to do it, so I wasn't going to do it for the same kind of money, but then when we started to do the 20th anniversary screening last year and I started hanging out with some of the other actors, some ideas starting coming to me and I started talking it over with them and they thought it would be fun."
As if fated, Lamberson said he was on location for a film two or three years ago when he toured the buildings around the Central Terminal station in Buffalo and decided it was the perfect time and setting for a sequel.
Lamberson said he feels the location will add so much to the scope of the story and really make it look like a big-budget film. Even the city itself, which over the past decade has begun to look like the capital of some post-apocalyptic world, was made for his purposes.
In addition, having lived in Buffalo for the past six years, Lamberson said he's gotten to know various artists and filmmakers in the area. He's been cateloging them and deciding who does what best, he explained,which has allowed him to put together an extremely talented, and local, group of people to work on the film, including both actors and production crew.
There will be five different people from Buffalo working on special effects alone, as well as a local cinematographer working on the film.
"I feel like I'm taking everything the area has to offer my areas of interest and putting them to work," Lamberson said, adding, "... The rust belt is ideally suited to this, and, in fact, somewhat inspired it."
The film will utilize a combination of old-style latex special make-up effects - such as those used in the original "Slime City" movie - and cutting edge digital work. Special make-up effects will be handled by Craig Lindberg in New York City and Zombified Studios in Buffalo, with R.J. Sevin - one of the founders of Creeping Hemlock Press - creating the digital effects to enhance the post-apocalyptic world scenery.
"The film is really a celebration of that whole era of 1980s filmmaking, not just my film, but the Troma films, "Street Trash," "Frankenhooker," "Basketcase," and there are references to all of them in there," Lamberson said. "Fans are going to have a lot of fun with it."
The film is being produced by Marc Makowski, who co-produced the original "Slime City" movie. Popular actress and Fangoria Radio hostess, Debbie Rochon; award-winning horror author Kealan Patrick Burke; as well as newcomer and local actress Jennifer Bihl - who appeared in Lamberson's short film "Gruesome - join SLIME CITY" stars Robert C. Sabin (Zachary) and Mary Bogle for this new chapter in the slime saga. Other parts will be played by scream-queen Brooke Lewis; erotic/horror author and tarot card reader Sephera Giron; and Tommy Sweeney, who starred in Lamberson's Undying Love and co-starred in "Naked Fear."
In addition, Lamberson is still looking for extras to play homeless people who will be massacred by mercenaries. No headshots are required, but interested individuals need to contact Michael O'Hear at email@example.com and report to 59 Memorial Drive - an abandoned postal building next to the old Central Terminal station - looking scruffy and in old clothes, without any copyrighted logos, on Saturday, July 18. Extras should arrive no later than 8 a.m. and can expect to stay for about five hours.
The bulk of the filming is scheduled to officially wrap up on July 27, with two "pick up" days slated for the first weekend in August. All locations will be in Buffalo, except for a single day at a soundstage in Rochester.
Lamberson said the goal is to have the film finished before the end of the year, though it will depend on how soon the special effects can be completed.
"Once it's done, the plan is to spend maybe as much as a year touring on the film festival circuit with it in the United States while we make foreign sales," he explained.
Lamberson also has plans for some screenings in the area, which will be announced at a later date.
Fans of Lamberson, Slime City or the horror genre can keep posted on the progress of the film by visiting glamberson.livejournal.com.
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