Director Marc Price has a confession to make. At the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, the Welsh filmmaker became a major news story when journalists found out that he made his debut movie, a London-set zombie film called Colin, for just 45 pounds sterling, or around $70. To many, that budget seemed impossibly small, and Price now admits the figure was indeed an inaccurate one. “I don’t even know if it cost as much as 14 pounds,” he laughs. “The things that we definitely spent money on for the sole purpose of making the film would be a pack of video tapes, which we didn’t end up using anyway, and a crowbar. I said, ‘It would be really cool to have a crowbar to [kill] a zombie.’ So someone bought a crowbar. I think that was the only real expense. I wish we’d kept a record of the budget, but I’m sure doing that would have cost some money.”
Price was able to make his movie for so little money by recruiting actor pals to play roles — including Alastair Kirton, who essays the titular zombie Colin — and using the most minimal of crews. “It was mainly me and a couple of friends,” says the director. “Whoever I could grab to hold stuff for me.” Needless to say, Price didn’t have the money to clear London streets of pedestrians. “Me and Al were filming some intros for a couple of festivals today,” he says. “And we were saying how it’s nice to have these moments when it feels like a real film. We look at it as the movie we were running around shooting on a camcorder and waiting for the streets to be clear enough to just go for it.”
Price edited the film on his laptop at the London courier company where he still works as a transport coordinator. “It’s not such a creative place for me anymore,” he admits. “We’re a lot busier and I find myself working a lot more!” The director, who had only made a handful of short films before Colin, says he is actually proud that so many people refuse to believe that he could make a movie for basically nothing. “I think that’s one of the highest compliments you can get,” he claims. “It’s really touching when I read that some people — very aggressively — refuse to accept that it didn’t didn’t cost much. But I think when you see it, surely it’s obvious that it really didn’t cost any money.”
True, the star-free– and mostly dialogue-free — film is not going to be confused with, say, Zombieland anytime soon. But the movie shows real invention as it tracks Colin’s transformation into one of the undead and his subsequent picaresque journey through the zombie apocalypse. By the end of the film, it is hard not to feel a genuine sense of sadness for Kirton’s character, even though he’d probably be happy eating your brains for breakfast.
Price says he was inspired to make the movie after watching George A. Romero’s 1985 film Day of the Dead, which itself features a notable zombie in the shambling form of “Bub.” “The brilliant Sherman Howard played this zombie that wasn’t a monster, but was still quite dangerous,” says Price. “I remember watching that with my brother and both of us were disturbed by what we saw. But, at the same time, we were desperately concerned for Bub’s well-being.” Certainly, fans of Romero’s films, and of the horror genre in general, would be well advised to check out Colin, which was released on DVD this week and is playing a clutch of theatrical dates over the next few weeks. (You can find details and the movie’s trailer below.)
Price says he has plans for further films, including one about “a negligent father who crashes his son’s funeral and takes the coffin in order to give his son a fitting burial. It’s very different to Colin.” As a joke, EW suggests that perhaps he should consider doubling the official budget of his previous movie, an make it for ninety pounds.
“It might be about the same as Colin, actually,” says Price. “It might be 45 quid. It depends how much money I can save up between now and when I start shooting it!”
COLIN THEATRICAL DATES
Oct. 21 Sacto Horror Film Fest Sacramento, Calif.
Oct. 21 Spooky Movie Film Festival Washington, D.C.
Oct. 23 Knoxville Horror Film Fest Knoxville, Tenn.
Oct. 23 Zombie Film Feast 3 Albany, N.Y.
Oct. 29 ZombieCon Film Festival Seattle, Wash.
Oct. 30 Geek Gala Charlotte, N.C.
Oct. 30 The Showroom Asbury Park, N.J.
Oct. 30 The Vine Theater Hollywood, Calif.
Nov. 14 Zombie Outbreak Film Fest Chicago, Ill.