Would you commit more than $25,000 of your own money to a movie that may never get completed?
Most people would say no, but that is exactly what Tina Teeter did to begin financing “Thr33 Days Dead,” her independent zombie film that has been in the works for almost six years and is not even close to finished. In the premiere episode of “Town of the Living Dead,” she goes even further and mortgages her home in order to afford explosives and special effects before even approving them with the town.
The way Jasper, Alabama is framed is part Stars Hollow and part Mayberry, a town with quirks that would prefer to maintain its steady pace and small town charm independent of this group of troublesome filmmakers. Whether that is how the community is in real life or not, it makes for some hilarious moments of the crew being thwarted from getting the movie made.
Most of their run-ins with authority come when they fail to operate with any sort of shooting permits or approval from the town government. The two biggest laughs of the episode come from these difficulties, the first when a deputy moseys over to the team while they are attempting to film a car chase and the second when Tina goes to the town board for an important permit.
The looks on the faces of the committee when she tells them about wanting to blow up a boat are priceless, as if the sheer thought of letting untrained people stage an explosion in the town lake might lose them their jobs. Even better are the looks on the actors’ faces when the explosion fails to go as planned not once but twice.
One trap that the show might fall into is the depressing idea that the movie not only fails to get made but at every turn the crew fails to accomplish their goals. All the fun in a show like this is watching a rag tag team of amateurs work hard and eventually reach the finish line. Without substantial progress throughout the show risks becoming a depressing fable about what happens when a group of small town artists bankrupt themselves chasing a dream.