I suppose it started with a name. Zombre. Conjuring up images of Clint Eastwood’s mysterious stranger, but as a zombie who hunts other zombies, it was compelling. J. Madmartigan came up with the name, and provided some initial concept art. But concept art for what, exactly, we didn’t know. I had written both comic books and screenplays at that point, and he had done illustrations and comic book sequential art, but neither of us were in the position to turn this into a real project.
I used the character in a story for my writing group and shared it around. My friend and writing inspiration Arinn Dembo read the story and was, as I recall, bitten by some Zombre! fever. We talked about the project, and how to turn it into a screenplay – something that could be theoretically be filmed by a dedicated indie film company. We started talking about this concept of “resurrection men,” something that made me think of old west medicine shows. She suggested the historical figure who became Sam Jones in the screenplay as the antagonist.
Working from these inspirations, I threw in some Civil War reconstruction elements, a reluctant hero named William Hoyle (who in my head can only ever be played by Robert Carlisle,) and a second resurrection man, someone to help balance and tie the whole thing together. I knocked the original draft of ZOMBRE! out in a month during Script Frenzy five years ago.
It was a hoot, playing with the language of the western which I grew up with and translating it into a full on zombie story. Only one problem. There was no way we could film this – certainly not with any little independent film crew. Horses are expensive to use. There was a big cast, and two different towns, to say nothing of the remote, crumbling mission church. If we had 3 million dollars, a good director could have knocked it out of the park. We didn’t have 100th of that.
J. did an eight-page ashcan comic and tried to pitch it as a comic, but the market wasn’t right.
So ZOMBRE! went away.
But like the Man with No Face, the script named after him refused to go down quietly. How could we have know we were ahead of our time? We still don’t have 3 million dollars, but damned if the screenplay isn’t a fun read!
So we turned to Kickstarter to get it into as many hands as possible — just for the sake if getting Zombre! out there. If someone wants to produce it, that’s great. Have your people call my people and their machines can do lunch. Until then, we have something fun for you to read. Provided we get the backers to print this beast (and all the ephemera), that is.