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An infestation of zombies recently invaded Grant County as a movie crew came to town to film the western horror film “Revelation Trail.”
The film, directed by John Gibson of Ft. Thomas, shot footage at on the farm of Judy Mullins and at Mullins Log Cabin in Berry.
“It was just wild to look out my windows and see zombies and cowboys sitting on my front porch, walking up and down my drive, in the fields, just everywhere,” Mullins said.
“Revelation Trail” tells the story of a frontier preacher whose life is destroyed when a gruesome power consumes the land and he must join the town lawman to fight the undead,
“While we’ve tried not to make too many comparisons to other films, the best way to describe it in those terms would be to say that it is “Unforgiven” meets “Dawn of the Dead,” Gibson said.
Gibson’s cinematic background is mostly in short film work, including 48-hour film projects.
For the past three years, he has been a lecturer with the Electronic Media and Broadcasting program at Northern Kentucky University.
The concept for Gibson’s first feature, “Revelation Trail,” was born about five years ago in a conversation with a friend.
“We really wanted to make a western film, and somehow the undead wandered into the concept,” he said. “Five years later, we’re making that western that ghouls just happen to wander into.”
For a story set in the 1800s, Gibson needed to find a log cabin that fit his needs.
He stumbled upon Mullins Log Cabin while doing a Google search and instantly fell in love with it.
“Mullins Log Cabin was a dream location,” Gibson said. “Rustic, secluded, and just an all-around beautiful location.
Several folks on the crew fell in love with it, and while the daily drive was a bit of a haul for them, they all felt that it was worth it.”
Mullins’ family farm with its rolling hills, scatted tree groves, and land as far as the eye can see also provided great scenery, said Gibson.
“It was a beautiful location that fit perfectly into the film’s storyline, and really gives off a sense that we are in another time,” he said.
Mullins said Gibson visited three times before filming started.
Once it did, Mullins’ property became a living, breathing film set just like in Hollywood.
“I just wish more people could have seen this movie in the making,” she said. “A few neighbors got to see parts of it, and helped out with use of their electricity, and a couple that I go to church with let them use two of their horses.”
Mullins especially was impressed with the work of the makeup artists who turned actors into the living dead.
“One of my grandchildren was a little scared when he saw one of the zombies at night,” she said.
The film will also be shooting in Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois, where some of the crew are originally from.
The goal is to have a completed movie by July 2012 and eventually release it on DVD and Video on Demand, as well as limited theatrical screens in Northern Kentucky a few other select regions.
Gibson said he would love to host a screening in Grant County if possible.
“Grant County was a dream location for shooting,” he said. “I fully believe when we cut it together with the locations we’re capturing down here, we really will feel like we’re back in the 1880s. My biggest hope is that they feel they didn’t just watch a horror film, but instead watched a really good drama where horror is only a secondary part of the story. I also hope they see a lot of the passion that has gone into this project; the blood, sweat and tears of five years of work from an independent film crew comprised of friends and coworkers.”
As former tourism director for Grant County, Mullins also is happy about any small economic boost the filming brought to the area.
“I am thrilled that this film has brought a few thousand dollars into our local economy,” she said. “They rented three rooms and stayed four nights at Comfort Inn in Dry Ridge. They fed 25 or 30 people each day, bought needed supplies at our stores, bought gas at our stations and who knows what else.”
For now, things are back to normal at Mullins Log Cabin.
No more zombies are haunting the grounds and the cowboys have unmounted their horses.
Gibson is expected to return in late September or early October to interview Mullins for a promotional DVD.
After her first taste of movie making, Mullins hopes her property’s 15 minutes of fame isn’t quite over yet.
“My ultimate goal is for other film companies to use my cabin,” she said. “In turn, hopefully more people will want to spend the night in the cabin where the movie “Revelation Trail” was filmed.”