Search

Spencer Hawken prepares to turn Mercury Mall, Romford, into the set of a horror film - literally

18:00 29 June 2013

Action: Spencer Hawken with centre manager Sarah Rolls and security workers Jon Guerriero and Kris Tiwari - who appear in Death Walks as themselves

Action: Spencer Hawken with centre manager Sarah Rolls and security workers Jon Guerriero and Kris Tiwari - who appear in Death Walks as themselves

Archant

“We won’t have people getting their faces ripped off and their brains eaten, although there is a relatively high body count.”

Action: Spencer Hawken with centre manager Sarah Rolls and security workers Jon Guerriero and Kris Tiwari - who appear in Death Walks as themselvesAction: Spencer Hawken with centre manager Sarah Rolls and security workers Jon Guerriero and Kris Tiwari - who appear in Death Walks as themselves

Nothing to worry about, then.

Dad-of-three Spencer Hawken – who grew up in Harold Wood and now lives in Brentwood – is planning a night out in Romford like no other.

On the evening of July 15, the Mercury Mall will be transformed into the set of a horror film – quite literally – as crews and actors descend on the Mercury Gardens shopping centre to shoot Death Walks.

“When I first suggested filming it in Romford, people said: ‘You won’t need to use any makeup’,” the 40-year-old quipped.

It all started when Spencer, who had worked for Debenham’s, was made redundant last year.

Deciding to pursue a long-held interest in horror films, he signed himself up for some film-making courses at last year’s Raindance Festival – and by January he’d written a script.

But finding bigger studios unwilling to invest in an unknown, he turned to crowdsourcing – and was astonished by the response he received.

As well as the Mercury Mall agreeing to donate its space, other suppliers have gifted or loaned equipment for nothing.

And a staggering (or lurching) 1,400 people have applied to be extras in the film, ranging from students to a 93-year-old man – a veritable apocalypse.

“About 90 per cent of the people in this group are from Romford and they’re doing it out of the goodness of their hearts,” he said. “Considering it’s a horror film, there’s a real community spirit about this.”

If we read between the lines there could be some big names on board, too.

“There’s someone from the past and someone from the present who’s in the media spotlight,” Spencer hinted.

So what can we expect to see as Romford forays onto the big screen?

“I’d been writing horror film reviews for a decade,” explained Spencer, “but I’ve never anything that’s touched a nerve.

“That’s what I’m hoping to achieve.

“They don’t look or act like conventional zombies, and they certainly don’t move like conventional zombies. This is a thinking person’s zombie film.

“I’m trying to keep the plot close to my chest, but it starts with a group of people in a shopping centre at night. The cinema’s closing up and there are stores that have been open late and some security guards.

“Someone comes to the door and they’re concerned about the welfare of this lady.

“They bring her into the centre – and in doing so they unwittingly invite something else in.”

Of course, it’s all a bit of fun.

But if fiction should ever become reality, Spencer’s pretty sure we know how to handle ourselves.

“Should some sort of outbreak occur that creates zombie-like effects, I think the people of Romford would be fairly tough,” he said.

“They would certainly all team together and overthrow whatever it was.

“These aren’t people to mess about.”

Footage from Death Walks will be screened at Frightfest, which takes place in Leicester Square at the end of August.

And Spencer expects to take the full film on tour from January.

But it’ll definitely be appearing in Romford.

“It was made here – it should be seen here,” said Spencer.

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 15:00
Amanda Poll competes in Summer of Sound

Hundreds gathered to watch musicians fill a Romford mall with song on Saturday as the latest round of Summer of Sound saw eight contestants selected for the next heat.

Yesterday, 12:00
Snake found Havering Police on Monday  Credit: @MPSHavering

Police are trying to trace the owner of a pet snake discovered on the loose.

Yesterday, 10:00
Aiden Mahony, known to friends as Oggy, was stabbed in January

A man accused of stabbing a football fan to death in a Hornchurch pub will face a retrial, after the jury failed to reach a verdict yesterday (Friday).

Fri, 16:37
Time FM Steve Allen.

Brexit, floods and homework were the topics debated in this week’s Time 107.5FM paper review today.

Fri, 16:33
Market Place, Romford

Traders and shoppers have said how happy they are about the UK leaving the European Union.

Fri, 14:28
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Redbridge Conservative leader Keith Prince talk to the press at Gants Hill, ahead of the local elections in May 22th

GLA member for Redbridge and Havering Keith Prince is already backing Boris Johnson to be the next prime minister.

Fri, 12:03
Champion Ganda, of Harold Hill, was stabbed to death in Forest Gate.

A third man has been charged with the murder of a Harold Hill teenager.

Fri, 11:27
Romford Market stall holders pictures this week.

Business experts called on companies in Havering and across the UK to embrace the opportunities offered to them after the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU).

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe