Jesse Dayton, Austin musician, music producer, actor and director brings some more zombie into your life with his new feature film, Zombex. Currently in post-production, the zombie throwback is based in New Orleans and is also shot in his hometown, Austin. The movie has an impressive cast with the iconic Malcolm McDowell (extensive films and Clockwork Orange, duh), Sig Haig (his filmography also extensive, but I have to mention one of my faves, Spider Baby); Lew Temple, David Christopher and Emily Kaye (every horror movie needs a bad-ass hottie in my opinion).
What’s the plot? From Jesse, “Zombex is a classic American zombie film set in New Orleans about a pharmaceutical company that’s giving pills to post Katrina stress victims.” The story follows Charlie Thibideaux, a locally famous Zydeco player in New Orleans, as he slowly begins to discover why seemingly normal people are starting to turn into the undead, with all signs pointing to a new experimental drug given to post-Katrina survivors. A private military contracting firm, and a caravan to Austin, Texas for the vaccine, is the only hope for surviving the zombie outbreak.
Jesse has spent years as a local, successful musician, including a weekly gig at the legendary honky tonk, Broken Spoke and the movie spin off band, Captain Clegg and the Nightcreatures, as seen in Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 film. Inspired by friend and fellow horror-movie maker/rocker, Rob Zombie, Jesse is trying his hand at directing and, as a longtime horror fan with the knowledge and love we dig, we can’t wait to see this old-school horror flick and we’re proud that it is squirming around in the horror scene here in our town.
Here are a few questions we got to ask the country-twangin’, gun-loving, soul food-eating, booze-drinking, zombie-killing Texan.
Zombex … slow zombies or fast? Definetly FAST zombies!
When did the filming start and do you have a release date yet? We started filming a year ago at Mardi Gras in the French Quarter and depending on the studios time schedule we’d like to release it this Halloween.
Do you appear in the movie at all? I have no part in the film, although I do appear for a second in one of the Mardi Gras shots in a large crowd.
Zombex was filmed in New Orleans, Pittsburg, TX and Austin. Where did you shoot in Austin? We filmed out at Austin Studios and on the east side. We wanted to feel part of it here because this is my hometown and the film scene here is where I’ve gotten my start.
Pros and cons of shooting in Austin? The pros of shooting in Austin is that I have lots of resources here because I know so many people. Cons are, Austin has become very populated so it’s not always easy to control shooting locations as far as people driving by and making noise. We plan on making part of my next film here.
Next film? Do tell … In talks about doing Zombex 2 but also discussing directing a horror film in South America.
Any weird stories/facts about shooting Zombex in Austin? Shooting Kinky Friedman’s cameo in Austin was a hoot. People instantly know him by his mustache, black cowboy hat & cigar. They kept driving by yelling “ we love you Kinky!”
Tell us about one of your many music projects, Captain Clegg and The Night Creatures. Are you currently performing and are there any future plans for the group? I’m taking a break from doing any Clegg shows right now — focusing on the film full time. But Clegg will have a big song on the end title for Zombex — which will relaunch another brand new Clegg record.
About your gig at Broken Spoke. I know it’s a “normal, non-horror” gig for you, but any chance you’ll bust out some country zombie makeup there someday? We’d love to see a bunch of zombies two-stepping Texas style. Probably not going to see any zombies at the Broken Spoke, but you’ll see a hell a lot of them at the next Capt. Clegg Halloween show.
The first horror movie you saw and how old were you? First horror movie I saw was Black Sunday on an old horror TV show one weekend. I was probably 7 yrs. old and had a thing for Barbara Steele!
Do you have a favorite type of horror movie? I like ’em all — vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. — but I don’t have a favorite type. I just want to see a good movie.
Any horror types that don’t interest you much? I wasn’t really into Human Centipede. I just thought it was like “hey, let’s get through this tension and see what happens when they sew his lips to the guys ass …” Not my thing.
Top three favorite horror movies? Black Sunday, The Thing (the original not that new one) and Evil Dead 2.
Most over-rated horror movie(s)? Most over rated horror movie? … hmm … I’d say any new remake of an old horror movie where people say “wow, it’s better than the original!” I was in Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 and I thought he did a hell of a job with that one, considering he was trying to do something fresh & unique with the franchise.
Favorite horror movie quote? My favorite tag line is from my film Zombex when Malcolm McDowell says “well …. I wouldn’t exactly say HUMAN!” You’ll see when it comes out!
A scenario: It’s the last day before the zombie apocalypse. Like any good zombie fan, you have prepared well for the war to come, but you have one day/night left in Austin before the undead rise. Any last plans to enjoy Austin? Eat, go, do? Last night in Austin before the zombies come, huh? Probably get my shit together and head to the gun store, buy as much ammo and firearms as I could afford, then lock & load and get ready for the kill! I might stop by and pick up some food from Hoovers and hit the Continental Club for a few shots of bourbon courage!