Dallas filmmaker Israel Luna is working feverishly to put the finishing touches on his latest film, Kicking Zombie Ass For Jesus, which will premier Monday, Aug. 28, at The Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Show time is at 7:30 p.m., and fans of Israel’s films — old fans, new fans and fans yet-to-be — can expect to see many of their favorite LaLuna actors — Richard D. Curtin, Krystal Summers, Cassie Nova, Jenna Skyy, Willam Belli, Chaselyn Wade, Brad Pritchett and others — in what Israel proudly describes as “incorporating the jittery, sloppy editing and outrageously violent and sometimes bizarre subject matter that places it in the category of a modern-day grindhouse film.”
The premise of the movie is that a “miracle pill” intended to cure all the viral infectious diseases (like HIV) has instead turned everyone who took it into a zombie. And in one small Texas town, the only non-zombies left are a right-wing preacher, his crazy congregation and a group of LGBT folks, who now have to band together and try to overcome their own differences as they struggle to survive the zombie onslaught.
Who wouldn’t want to see THIS film? I mean, seriously, grindhouse zombies, Bible-thumpers and the gays (and lesbians and trans folk)?! Personally, I cannot wait. I am rounding up all my friends to be there on the 28th!
But apparently, some folks aren’t as excited as I am.
Israel and his cast and crew headed out to Graham, Texas to film a large portion of the movie. Graham, in case you didn’t know, is about two-and-a-half hours northwest of the DFW Metroplex. Graham is the county seat of Young County. It covers about 5.6 square miles and, as of last year, had a population of about 8,800 people.
According to Wikipedia, is the hometown of Rebecca Beale, who won the second season of the Kids Baking Championship, former Pantera bass player Rex Brown, NFL Hall of Famer Bob Lilly, PGA champ Bob Estes, former congressman Willliam D. McFarlane, Ronald Reagan’s national security advisor Robert McFarlane, 1952 track and field Olympic gold medalist Dean Smith, AND “Owen J. Baggett, the WWII B-24 Liberator crew member who on March 31, 1943 killed a Japanese pilot in his Zero aircraft while dangling from a parachute — the best shot by a .45-caliber M1911 pistol of ALL TIME.”
But what Graham is NOT, is interested in seeing the movie that Israel Luna shot there.
Now, Israel already knew that not everybody in Graham was happy to have his cast and crew there making this movie. While some of his own younger relatives had spread the word that Israel was looking for younger folks to serve as zombie extras, some of the teachers at the school were warning their students to steer clear of the movie folks. And, Israel said, one man who had talked to Richard Curtin about his kid (the town resident’s kid, not Richard’s) being a zombie extra, later went on Facebook to warn his fellow Graham residents that the cast and crew was full of homos and other perverts who were looking for children (apparently to recruit them to homosexuality or something).
But Israel had gotten help from Pam and Dave Scott, proprietors of the local Graham Drive-In Theater. And so he was looking forward to taking his finished film back to Graham, for a screening at the drive-in. But the Scotts turned him down:
“Hello Israel. Glad you are still producing film and working in the area. Unfortunately I do not think the movie you have produced will work in our area. We are a strong Baptist community and I think even the title of your film would be offensive to many. In a small community I have to be careful about the product I put on screen. I wish you the best of luck with the new film and your future productions.
Thankfully, the folks at the Texas Theatre aren’t so prudish. Or Baptist. Or whatever.