Trainer even at one point had a Los Angeles screenwriter pen a script for him. But like characters in zombie movies, the movie died.
Now, also like the walking dead, Trainer’s zombie movie has come back to life, stronger than ever.
“Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard,” a thriller starring “Titanic” alum Billy Zane, “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” star Dee Wallace and “The O.C.” star Mischa Barton, was shot in the Poconos this summer and is set for commercial release in February.
Originally conceived as a film that would be offered via the video streaming the event center has developed for boxing and concerts, the film now has been picked up for distribution by Anchor Bay, one of the world’s largest entertainment companies and also distributor of “The Walking Dead.”
The film likely will premiere with a zombie-themed gala showing at the event center, Trainer says.
The film also involves the burgeoning sport of paintball. It’s set in a small post-apocalyptic town defended from the undead by a team of young guns trained by Zane’s anti-hero character through paintball games.
That, Trainer says, not only sets the film apart, but also opens up all kinds of marketing possibilities.
So much buzz has been generated that a sequel already is planned and “Zombie Killers” is likely to become a trilogy, officials say.
“This is not your typical zombie movie,” writer-director B. Harrison Smith says. “An analogy is this is sort of how ‘Star Wars’ was, a smaller film, and the next one, we’re hoping, is our ‘Empire Strikes Back.’”
Rising from the grave
Trainer, a Lehigh Valley developer who also opened Bethlehem’s Steel Ice Center in 2003, says his movie idea got new life with the announcement of the event center’s streaming capabilities and its tie-in to the Internet video streaming service Ustream in 2013, along with a paranormal and horror convention, Parafest, held at the event center around the same time.