The Living Want Me Dead: Short Horror Film by Bill Palmer

The Living Want Me Dead‘ is a short independent horror film that’s won a bunch of awards at festivals because it deserves to. I enjoyed every minute of this wild ride along with a desperate slacker as he realizes that he’s been contaminated with a substance that causes everyone within sniffing distance to want to disembowel, devour, decapitate and dismember him. He’s hounded by vomiting, mouth-foaming lunatics who simply won’t rest until he’s dead. It’s a clever commentary on the overdone zombie genre that manages somehow to be frightening and hilarious at the same time. The film was written and directed by Bill Palmer who employes techniques typically seen in independent feature films. Vimeo is full of filmmakers who want to strut their pro-quality stuff, but very few of them make anything I can watch for more than several seconds. I’m sure that director of photography Jeremy Hayward had a lot to do with this because the camera work is fluid and clear, even when following intense action and movement.

Director Palmer handles his equipment, crew and actors without letting the job overwhelm his natural instinct for telling a ripping good story and making us want to know what’s going to happen next. In fact, he made much of his own equipment, including a simple rig for filming underwater! He used water guns to shoot fake blood. I love that kind of filmmaking. And I love that he did it all without ridiculous shooting permits. He just hit the side streets with his little crew and turned the whole neighborhood into what I imagine was a hell of fun time. He has created a tight little view into a California suburb at Christmas time by littering the landscape with decorations that lend a sort of lunatic and false joy to the dark comedy and spurting blood.

So the main character, played to intense and despairing perfection by Adam Conger, tries to get away from his attackers by lying low at a friend’s house. Conger really hits his role on the money. He’s perfect as the overwhelmed slacker-type dude who’s actually fairly driven and maniacal in survival mode. But he just can’t seem to find a good way to explain the desperate situation to his friend who is played with great comic ability by Tony Nunes. I believe that during the violent proceedings in his backyard, this friend is primarily engaged with heating up a HotPocket. Needless to say, the hero’s plan for lying low does not work out very well!

One thought on “The Living Want Me Dead: Short Horror Film by Bill Palmer

  1. Wow. Alessandro, thank you. This is truly flattering. Thanks so much for not only watching the film, but for taking the time to research how we put it together, guerilla-style, which I think is one of the best things about it. All the stuff with Adam running in the suburban streets was just patched together, piece by piece. We’d decorate my sister’s house, do a bit where he runs through her lawn, then drive across town to friend’s place and repeat. So the little opening sequence where he runs down the block was actually done in front of four different houses in four different neighborhoods. Just stuff like that made it a pretty interesting shoot. We spent very little money on it.

    Also, I have to give credit where credit is due. Jeremy Hayward took it upon himself to make that underwater rig. It was a plastic tupperware bin. He cut a square out in the front and made a little plexiglass window for the lens. Pretty simple, badass stuff. Also, I want to mention my other camera op for a lot of the action stuff, Pete Thompson. He’s a DP in his own right. Because of him, we were able to double down our coverage and save a ton of time when we were pushing the limits of what we could get away with without permits.

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