Local horror director Terence Muncy wants to resurrect the past.
That wish will come true this week when his 2008 zombie film, Hell Walks the Earth, plays at the Skyline Drive-In the same night its inspiration, Night of the Living Dead, made its drive-in debut on a chilly fall evening 46 years ago.
Screening Thursday, Oct. 2 at 8:15 p.m., Hell Walks the Earth is a black-and-white homage to the 1968 film that birthed the zombie genre. Like Muncy, its protagonist brings the past back to life, unearthing an heirloom that awakens those resting underneath his hometown, Darkside.
Like the Skyline Drive-In, Muncy’s company, Warbranch Productions, offers “old school movies for a new age.” Hell Walks the Earth has been paired in a double feature with Muncy’s slasher film, Slice, which is also shot through a nostalgic lens.
“It’s like a drive-in slasher picture from the ’80s where a guy kills off girls in sexy outfits,” Muncy said.
Muncy’s films are not for the faint of heart. They’re as gritty in style as they are in subject matter. “He has a rough, raw talent but talent nonetheless,” said Famous Monsters of Filmland convention promoter Philip Kim when NUVO wrote about Muncy in 2010.
But if you look closely, there’s a beauty beneath the blood-splattered surface of Muncy's films, which are imbued with an endearing innocence. In Hell Walks the Earth, you can sense his actors having fun as they shamble and moan in zombie makeup, like mischievous big brothers whose tongues almost poke through their cheeks when pulling a prank. Muncy’s films aim to playfully spook viewers, making them jump, laugh, and have a good time rather than merely squirm in fear or disgust.
The night after Muncy's double feature, Oct. 3, Skyline will begin its Skyline Scares series, featuring a variety of classic and not-so-classic horror. Tickets are $7 and $3 for children brave enough to go.
Take note of the lineup on Oct. 10 and 11, featuring three classic countryside thrillers that inspired much of Muncy’s work — 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 1972’s Deliverance and 1977's Eaten Alive, Chainsaw director Tobe Hooper’s lesser-known entry in the hillbilly horror genre. Eaten Alive follows a psychotic redneck hotel owner who feeds guests to the crocodile he keeps as a pet in a nearby swamp. It’s the kind of horror Muncy tries to recreate in the backwoods and rural areas of Indiana. “This can be a wonderfully eerie place to live,” he said.