We had a chance to meet up with Chuck, James, Mandy and your host Jim Goza – better known as Zombie Go Boom – on the set of a recent shoot at Chris Mills’ Silver Shamrock Lab in Los Angeles. Chris Mills is the brains behind the, er, um, brains that the ZGB crew slice, smash and skewer every week on YouTube.
While you may not think of Fayetteville, Arkansas when you think of film production, ZGB doesn’t let clichés stop them. Using blood-filled dummies shipped in from L.A., this ragtag band of Fayette-villains (as Jim likes to call them) set up cameras and get to work doing the research most of us only theorize about when it comes to killing zombies.
Using a mix of manufactured weapons, practical items, and cinematic paradigms the ZGB crew puts to test all the ideas we’ve taken for granted as fool-proof. But sometimes the results are surprising.
CHUCK: I hate to say it. The chainsaw is the worst.
JIM: Yeah. Arguably the worst weapon ever.
And not for the reasons you’re thinking (heavy, needs gas, loud). As you can see in their Chainsaw vs. Machete episode (SEE BELOW), the same chainsaw that can down a rock solid oak tree, gets hung up on flimsy cotton shirts. Not to mention it sprays infected zombie blood right back into your body. So yeah, you might look like a badass, until you turn into a shambler.
JAMES: It’s good for video games. But, this kind of information is good to know.
Well thanks for doing the test for us guys.
While they have a decades long fascination with zombies (Jim secretly fell in love with Night of the Living Dead at a friends house when he was just 6 years old – sorry Mom!) that isn’t where the research ends. They focus heavily on general survival skills. Like how to protect your crops and supplies, what non-lethal weapons work well on the living and who to have in your survival group.
JIM: Remember, you need a member in your party – at least one – to be female. You know, for the obvious reasons.
HFZ: Right. The cooking and cleaning and stuff.
After a quick laugh amongst the boys, Mandy schooled us.
MANDY: Actually all you need is one male. One female is gonna take forever to repopulate. 10 ladies and one guy, you got it goin’.
JIM: That guy’s gonna need a lot of Red Bull then.
Guys. I will reluctantly volunteer to be that man.
The dummies that they use are no joke. They are ballistics dummies designed to replicate the skin tension and bone strength of a living human. They aren’t only used in the movies either, Chris told me these dummies are used in military weapons testing and training. Handling one first hand, I can see why.
The dummy skin is thick. Like the dummy is made of pure muscle, not the bones or fat most of us are dragging around. And the bones have some sort of hi-grade plasticine injection I won’t even pretend to try to pronounce. Any damage you’re doing to the dummy would be amplified on your average human.
So while the ZGB crew have their handful of YouTube trolls saying the dummies are weak, I don’t see any of these portly little web crawlers volunteering to take the place of the dummies.
The first thing that pops out at you in their videos is all the blood. Mostly because they get great camera angles. But also, because there’s a lot of it. Chuck said before he hooked up with Silver Shamrock they drove around to costume shops the day after Halloween and spent $700 on blood and body parts. But those days are over. Thanks to Chris who sends the dummies filled with blood.
CHRIS: Each head has about a quarter gallon. 4 blood bags.
Shooting 3-4 episodes a weekend with 2-3 heads per, that’s almost two gallons of blood a week. That’s about 50% more blood than I have in my entire body. It’s about 100 times more than Lindsay Lohan has in hers. I hear she has a lot of nosebleeds.
All this blood looks great on tape. Looks bad on your clothes.
CHUCK: I walked into this gas station with blood all over me…
JIM: And a trunk full of blood covered weapons in his car
CHUCK: Yeah. And two police officers were there, looking at me weird… But they didn’t say anything. They tried to follow me and I just sped off… The way I figured – if they don’t turn their lights on, I’m gone.
It’s like I’ve always said, speeding away covered in blood always implies innocence.
Ballistics dummies. Trunks full of weapons. Blood. These guys like to stay realistic. So, how close are we to seeing cadavers?
CHUCK: [LAUGHS] You tell us where we could get some…
We all agreed that even if we could find dead bodies on eBay, the shipping wouldn’t be worth it unless you bought in bulk.
Zombie Go Boom has come a long way. From blood-filled coconuts to military grade ballistic dummies. After less than a year of working together, they’ve amassed a huge online following (33,400 YouTube subscribers as of this writing) and have hooked up with one of the biggest online networks – Machinima. They’ve got big things headed down the pipeline including projects with cast members of the web series Bite Me and melee weapons manufacturer Cold Steel.
Definitely Like them on Facebook and Subscribe if you’re on YouTube. These guys got nowhere to go but up. Make sure you’re there for the ride. We had a great time on set for their upcoming skateboard demo and SPOILER ALERT: there will be blood.
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Adam Hammer is a comedian from Los Angeles. When he’s not writing zombie killing pieces on HFZ, he’s killing audiences on comedy stages. Follow Adam on Twitter. Like him on Facebook. Check out his Tour Schedule.