Sam & Mattie’s Big Movie Premiere

sammattieIt is the dream of many people to someday make their own movie, but few ever get the opportunity. However, two lucky friends here in RI were able to make their dream come true with some crowdfunding and the friendly assistance of a few film industry professionals. Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt are a pair of enthusiastic teens who wanted to make their own movie, a zombie action comedy, and they were determined not to let the fact that they both have Down syndrome stand in the way of that dream.

With the help of family and friends, Sam and Mattie launched a successful crowdfunding campaign and worked diligently on their script and storyboards. Once the campaign started to pick up momentum via social networks, the support really started rolling in and the duo were able to get the involvement of industry professionals, which boosted both the technical potential and public awareness of their project. By the end of their campaign, Sam and Mattie had exceeded their crowdfunding expectations and secured top quality talent both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. With the help of supportive producers like Jesse Suchmann and Suzy Beck and director Robert Carnevale, the whole gang was ready to make their movie!

Now somehow, even though I am both a film buff and horror enthusiast, this entire promotional frenzy passed me by entirely and when I received an invite to attend the premiere of Sam & Mattie’s Spring Break Zombie Massacre I was just expecting to check out a new local indie film. On July 7 I arrived at The Columbus Theatre to what can only be described as the Providence film event of the year; we’re talking full scale Hollywood style spectacle with a red carpet, local celebrities and the arrival of the film’s stars in a blood- and zombie-covered SUV. That is when I realized that I really missed out on something and was very excited and to see the film and be a part of this event.

So on to the film. Spring Break Zombie Massacre opens with Sam and Mattie performing as the band American Mind Freak and quickly flashes back to explain that upon their birth, the duo were hailed as bionic heroes and that the devil is their arch enemy and killed their mothers. Back in the present, Sam and Mattie fight bullies and when the devil turns the bullies into demonic zombies, they activate their bionic powers to fight them. I won’t give away everything, but suffice to say there are numerous obstacles to overcome, zombies to kill, spring breaking and of course, a houseboat party.

Spring Break Zombie Massacre is a thoroughly entertaining short film that is quirky and honestly represents the vision of its creators like good indie cinema should. Now looking at it from a critic’s viewpoint I must admit that the story is jumbled and shifts jarringly at times, but I can’t discredit the film for that because it is more about the overall experience of the story and the execution of Sam and Mattie’s ideas than it is about conventional storytelling. What we are given is an odd Troma-esque mash-up of genre trappings culled from horror, action, buddy comedies and coming-of-age films that delivers a fun viewing experience. Plus it’s bloody as heck. The film is jam-packed with over-the-top practical gore effects and even utilizes some low tech visual effects that harken back to the silent era, for great effect.

I’m not sure what the future plans are for Spring Break Zombie Massacre, but everyone involved should be proud of their accomplishments. If you enjoy horror comedies or any of the above mentioned film genres, then I recommend you check this movie out. For more info, future screening dates and release plans you can check out Rock On! Go Wild!

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