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Zombie film set in Romford’s Mercury Mall proves it isn’t just vampires that are stopped by sunlight

PUBLISHED: 16:20 16 July 2013

A still from Death Walks, filmed on Monday night and Tuesday morning at Romford's Mercury Mall

A still from Death Walks, filmed on Monday night and Tuesday morning at Romford's Mercury Mall

Archant

Most of us are delighted to see summer at long last – but for budding filmmaker Spencer Hawken the sunshine hasn’t been quite so welcome.

The shopping centre fills with zombiesThe shopping centre fills with zombies

Spencer, 40, spent Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday shooting his debut zombie thriller Death Walks in Romford’s Mercury Mall – but the cloudless sky and long daylight hours made it impossible to shoot past 5am as the film is set entirely at night.

It isn’t just vampires that are neutralised by sunlight, then.

“We hadn’t run out of energy,” said Spencer, “but the sun came up far too early, and we need darkness for the shots – so we had to put a bit of a stop on it.”

As reported in the Recorder last month, Spencer’s zero-budget flick stars hundreds of volunteers, and the equipment, cameramen and security staff are all free.

A still from Death Walks, filmed on Monday night and Tuesday morning at Romford's Mercury MallA still from Death Walks, filmed on Monday night and Tuesday morning at Romford's Mercury Mall

Once it was finally dark, the actors got their teeth into the script and managed to film 56 minutes in the course of the evening.

“We didn’t achieve it in one night as planned,” Spencer conceded, “but it got dark really late so we had about three hours less than we were supposed to.”

Spencer reckons about 25 minutes of the film remain, and is now organising a date for the sizeable cast to return to the shopping centre to round things off.

So what was it like seeing the story (and the dead) come to life?

Dream Team actor Lucinda Rhodes-Flaherty, who appears in the filmDream Team actor Lucinda Rhodes-Flaherty, who appears in the film

“It was good, but quite painful at times,” said the dad-of-three, who lives in Brentwood. “Our camera guys were fastidious so we spent an hour filming one two-minute scene.

“But we got an awful lot in the can. There were some fantastic shots.”

Spencer hopes to have a couple of scenes ready for Frightfest next month, while Death Walks should premiere at the Premiere Cinema – which is housed in the Mercury Mall – towards the of the year.


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