Last winter, writer/director Jake Mulliken won RAW Artist of the Year for film at the RAW Pittsburgh semi-finals awards show. Since then, he has tried to expand his award-winning work, a 30-minute zombie comedy entitled Meltdown, into a feature film. Now, after two years in development, Mulliken and his independent film company Lucky4Productions (formerly Out Of Pocket Productions) will finally make this undead nightmare come true.
The new Meltdown will serve as an extension of the original short, but, as Mulliken points out, the two are vastly different films. Described as a “stylistic mix of Shaun of the Dead and Mad Max,” the feature story follows Zeke (Robert McMurray), Callie (Alicia Marie Marcucci), Les (Seth Gontkovic) and Hunter (Mulliken) on the eve of Hunter’s 29th birthday as they share in a few drinks on a seemingly dull day in their hometown of Somerset. The day takes a turn for the worse as everyone they have ever known are suddenly transformed into aggressively murderous flesh eating freaks. The four comrades are forced to hack and slash their way through the reanimated corpses of their closest friends and loved ones, only to find themselves on the precipice of a post-apocalyptic wasteland littered with monsters and the looming threat of their fellow survivors. The film will feature special effects by Cody Ruch, cinematography by Ara Madzounian, and lighting and sound by Kevin Kukler.
The description suggests a more ambitious offshoot from the first film, a more low-key, Clerks and High Fidelity-inspired indie that was shot in Bloomfield. Considering that Pittsburgh served as the setting for other post-apocalyptic films, including The Road and, more appropriately, Dawn of the Dead, I’m interested to see how Mulliken utilizes the area for his own vision.
Meldown will shoot around Somerset, Venango County, and Pittsburgh. It’s slated to begin production on June 9th and wrap sometime around June 30th. For more information, please visit the official Meltdown website.