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DefTone Pictures to stage zombie invasion in Angola ; Main St. due for transformation as local studio shoots horror movie, 'The Final Night and Day'

Think you can survive the zombie apocalypse?

You can find out Saturday in Angola when DefTone Pictures Studios floods Main Street from Lake to Center streets with close to 300 members of the living dead to film a scene for its upcoming horror movie, "The Final Night and Day."

According to Adam Steigert, co-founder of DefTone and one of the writers for the movie, the one-block section of Main Street will be filled with demolished cars, smoke machines and other garbage strewn in the midst of the zombie onslaught.

The movie follows a group of eight inmates who are being transferred to a different prison when their bus crashes in Metsburg, a fictional town that has been the setting for each of the DefTone film releases to date. Much of the film's action centers on Metsburg and the zombie hordes that the stranded inmates encounter there.

Extras who will be playing zombies will arrive in Angola at noon Saturday, Steigert said. It will take about five hours for makeup artists from Lackawanna's Zombified Studios to transform the actors into zombies, after which filming will continue until about midnight.

The film will be the fifth release for DefTone, which has been a pet project for co-founders Stephanie Wlosinski and Steigert since 2005, when they both attended Hamburg High School.

Mark Mendola, 46, of West Seneca, the assistant director for "The Final Night and Day," is given partial credit on DefTone's Web site for writing the screenplay and producing the film. He also plays Axe, an inmate who is incarcerated for rape.

"I wasn't supposed to have a part," said Mendola. He previously worked with DefTone on "GORE" and "BITEZ," and was already filling multiple roles with "The Final Night and Day" when he was asked to play Axe. "There are just so many things that have to be done, and we're a small outfit," Mendola said.

"The 19th [Saturday] is the day we're living for," said Steigert, 23, of Hamburg. "We really want to make it look like an apocalyptic setting."

Steigert believes that Western New York could have a thriving film community and offers the wide range of zombie extra applicants as proof. "It's not just 15-year-olds," he said. "We have people who are 63, 70, 50, 40. Every age group, there's somebody coming."

Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark says the Western New York film industry has been growing at a healthy pace. "Every day of the week, there's something shooting here," said Clark, who was involved with a total of 469 shooting days for different film projects in 2009.

Although larger production companies come into town with a distribution deal in hand, smaller companies like DefTone face many problems when trying to promote their releases.

"It's a lot of old-fashioned shoe leather work to go out and find a distributor," Clark said. However, he noted that self-distribution through the Internet has made the task much easier for smaller companies.

"I like to look for things that are difficult to do and try to bring the community together," said Steigert. All of DefTone's releases have been horror films, but this is mainly because of Steigert's interest in special effects.

"It isn't because I like seeing people cut up," said Steigert, who also noted that DefTone was currently working on a comedic documentary and had future plans to film a romantic comedy.

"I think it's marvelous," Angola Mayor Howard "Hub" Frawley said of the project. Frawley is no stranger to zombies, having been a fan of the 1936 film "The Walking Dead," which starred Boris Karloff.

Frawley could not recall any other movies that had been filmed in Angola, aside from a small film project in 1998 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the village's incorporation.

According to Frawley, a number of municipal services are being offered to support DefTone during Saturday's filming. A small force from the Town of Evans Police Department will be on hand to maintain order, and eight to 10 fire police from the village's Fire Department are volunteering their time to help direct traffic.

The Taste of Midway, located at Center and Main streets, has volunteered its facilities for Zombified's makeup artists.

e-mail: sbrachmann@buffnews.com

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