In time for Halloween, the short film ZOMBIE from writer and star Bill Connington and director Thomas Caruso, is making the rounds again.
ZOMBIE is a 19 minute short film, based on the award-winning novella ZOMBIE by literary icon Joyce Carol Oates. It has been screened at 18 film festivals, and won 5 awards. ZOMBIE was first performed as a play that had three separate productions in New York, and received critical raves. The project is now in development as a feature film. ZOMBIE tells the story of a mild-mannered Jeffrey Dahmer-esque serial killer (played by Bill Connington from “Poughkeepsie is for Lovers“) who attempts to turn his victims into his “zombie” slaves. The New York Times says the piece “leaves us wondering exactly what kind of people are walking the streets alongside us.” The film asks the question, “What makes a seemingly-normal person crack?” The unsettling answer is: we don’t know.
Bill Connington’s Statement:
“I adapted the novella from Joyce Carol Oates into a play which was first done at the New York Fringe Festival, and then had an extended run on Theatre Row on 42nd Street. It was then mounted again at John Jay College in their theater. Finally, a short film was made. It went to 21 film festivals around the country. We got quite a bit of publicity because of the subject matter, and Joyce. The critics feel that is loosely based on Jeffery Dahmer, and other real life serial killers. Psychiatrists who specialize in working with serial killers have said that Joyce’s work characterized serial killer accurately. I’m proud of the film, and I’m excited for a new generation to experience it.”
“Bill Connington . . . perfectly counterfeits the experience of sitting in a room with a serial killer, which is even less comfortable than it sounds . . . [his] ingenious performance gives the skin-crawling piece such an authentic texture . . . Connington is not interested in performing a whodunit (he did it, after all) but in re-creating a truly evil character down to the last detail. Thus, for the entire play, the actor seems to be channeling the weirdness of an utterly amoral psychopath . . . When Quentin turns to speak to the audience, we really feel like we’re in the presence of someone morally empty . . . it’s hard to overstate the effectiveness of Connington’ unblinking gaze, weird cadence and surprising, and off-kilter swearing. Impressive, too, is helmer Thomas Caruso’s direction . . .”
–Sam Thielman, Variety
“Shocking . . . a chilling one-man study of perversity . . . Mr. Connington commits totally to this haunting characterization and leaves us wondering exactly what kind of people are walking the streets alongside us.”
–Anita Gates, The New York Times
“Harrowing . . . Connington delivers a haunting characterization . . . unnerving . . . The piece is further enhanced by Thomas Caruso’s intense staging.”
–Frank Scheck, New York Post