“I walk in and before I can even introduce myself, I’m cast,” says Taylor Jarvis, a recent Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School graduate who was along for the ride, and hoping to observe some of the shooting of “Day of the Living Dead,” an independent horror thriller now shooting in Schenectady. Jarvis got more than he bargained for. Director David Tanner cast Jarvis on the spot as a human survivor of a zombie apocalypse taking place in the wake of a portal opening in Schenectady.
Jarvis didn’t survive long. After a number of shots in which, along with a crowd of other “survivors, Jarvis rushes into an abandoned building seeking refuge, he was shunted into a small room off a hallway along with co-survivor Roma Sabino. The two were attacked in short order by two zombies. Sabino actually got the messier end of the deal, being drenched in stage blood as several feet of prop intestine were pulled from her shirt.
“I never really gave acting much thought but something about being in front of that camera, in that dark, dank building, with two zombies staring me in face was sort of, morbidly wonderful,” Jarvis says.
His sentiments were echoed by other members of the cast.
“I love this!” said Faith Scantiello, another survivor of Schenectady’s zombie apocalypse, as she waited to be called for a scene. “It’s hot but it’s worth it.”
The cast and crew, who are all local, are clearly not there for the glamour. Tuesday’s night shooting continued in an abandoned building in downtown Schenectady, which suffered substantial fire damage in the past. There are few amenities, let alone the often lavish catering of major studio productions and customized RV’s used as location dressing rooms for major Hollywood stars. But the exposed drywall, plaster and burned beams seem just right for a zombie movie.
Nearby, two actors in zombie makeup also wait for the call.
“He tastes like chicken,” one zombie says, pointing to an actor playing a survivor. “I don’t know what you taste like.”
One is reasonably sure he’s kidding.
“Day of the Living Dead” will continue shooting throughout the summer at various locations in and around Schenectady.