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Army of the Dead Extras Attended Zombie School To Work On The Film


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Army of the Dead producer Deborah Snyder reveals that 200 film extras attended “Zombie School” during production. Directed by Zack Snyder, the action horror movie follows a group of soldiers as they infiltrate a Las Vegas casino infested with zombies. With the city completely quarantined and facing a nuclear strike, the mercenaries must work quickly to finish their mission. The film features a star-studded cast, including Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Anna de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Raúl Castillo, Huma Qureshi, and Garrett Dillahunt. Currently playing in select theaters, the movie will begin streaming on Netflix this Friday.

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For Snyder, Army of the Dead is not his first time embracing the genre of the undead. The director notably made his feature film debut with his 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. In this story, a few survivors of the zombie apocalypse seek haven at an abandoned shopping mall. Like the characters in Army of the Dead, they must navigate an emotionally fraught and dangerous situation in close quarters, with a swarm of zombies threatening their safety at every turn. With his new film, Snyder returns to his horror roots.

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While speaking to the Boston Herald, the Snyders described the process of making Army of the Dead. During this interview, Deborah Snyder shared the reality of having to train the extras for the film:

 “For the hordes of zombies we had Zombie School, where the stunt team, who already knew how to move like a zombie, would teach 200 extras. They didn’t have the training that the stunt people did, so we had to train them how to move and act like a zombie.”

This is far from the first time that background actors have had to prepare for a role as a flesh-eating zombie. In the wildly popular horror series The Walking Dead, extras have had to similarly prove their abilities as a member of the undead before making it to set. Many of these actors had to attend “zombie seminars” to learn how, exactly, to emulate a walking corpse. When it comes to the horror genre, this type of training indeed takes work. As mentioned above, Snyder has experience with this genre thanks to Dawn of the Dead, so he understands the importance of proper training.

Overall, it certainly makes sense why Army of the Dead would invest in “zombie training.” In these horror films, a commitment to the ruthless and bloody story at hand is crucial. To incite true fear and surprise, viewers need to believe the uncanny strangeness and violence of the zombies onscreen in order to up the ante. As more horror fans head to theaters, it will be interesting to hear what they have to say about Snyder’s take on the beloved genre.

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