Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center gets in on zombie act
The plastic human torso at the gate of the Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center in Bethel was a dead giveaway that the park was offering more than ecological tours this weekend.
The Ford City Library and the walking dead took over the environmental center for 24 hours Saturday into Sunday morning to write, film and edit a teen zombie movie.
Make that a short film, with the working title “Zombie Apocalypse.”
The library offered the event free to local teenagers as part of its program this summer on art.
A makeup artist, a prop manager, a videographer and a writer donated their time to shepherd seven local teenagers in movie-making.
Librarian Tiffany Harkleroad got the cameras rolling as she ran her Chevy Cobalt into several garbage cans, causing three teenagers to jump out of the car screaming and running.
But that was nothing compared to the bite taken out of Harkleroad's forearm by a hungry zombie, courtesy of Tom Slagle.
“Once I add the blood, it will look a lot better,” said Slagle, who puts his 20 years of experience as an EMT to work as a makeup artist for amateur films.
Harkleroad was transformed into a full zombie for the film.
“I made a deal with the kids that they could turn me into a zombie and kill me if seven of them would make the movie.”
The local teens seemed to enjoy screaming for the cameras as they were chased by their flesh-eating foes.
Isaac Cousins, 14, of Manor Township said he enjoyed helping to write the script as well as playing the guy who gets everybody killed.
“I like zombies, and I haven't done anything all summer,” he said.
Amy Repak, a Greensburg resident originally from Kittanning, thought nothing of volunteering.
“I had the most body parts laying around our house,” said Repak, who, along with her husband Steve, has been staging elaborate haunted house scenes for Halloween at their home.
“I'm ready to set up a full cemetery if they need it,” she said.
The Repaks' trail of ghoulish gear ranged from bloodstained sheets to a variety of plastic evil-looking sculptures.
Kittanning author Jeff Boarts, who worked with the teen movie-makers on script-writing, said: “It's educational as well as something fun for the kids. Plus, we have fun, too.”
In the spirit of the film, after everyone viewed the final version of the movie on Saturday evening, they planned to stay up all night watching zombie movies.
Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or firstname.lastname@example.org.