Throughout the history of film and TV, horror has proven to be one of the most popular – and enduring – genres of entertainment. Amidst the myriad of ghouls, goblins and monsters depicted over the years, one type of character continues to have staying power: vampires. While many countless films and TV shows, including the wildly successful TWILIGHT books and movies, have portrayed both the villainous and romantic sides of those creatures, the new web series GABRIEL CUSHING VERSUS THE ZOMBIE VAMPIRES puts a completely new twist on the sub-genre. The eight episode series, which debuted last October, was produced by the UK-based production company The Great Escape, and directed by Mark Adams.

David Curtis stars as the titular protagonist, an old-fashioned monster hunter who has successfully fought various demons and nasties – but none quite like the ghouls he now finds himself up against. The cast also includes Connor McKenzy (from the 2011 British indie comedy BUFFERING and the web series UNDERWATER REALM) as Ben Romanov, who, despite his best efforts of hiding his “total geek” personality, is captivated by all things supernatural. Newcomer Sam Herbert plays Melanie Lancley, who along with Romanov, help Cushing battle some of the most dreaded zombie vampires: Marley Hamilton (as Lucinda), Nick Orrchard (the Ancient Vampire), and Andy Chaplin (as the Hoodie Zombie Vampire).

Adams, who also wrote the series, developed GABRIEL CUSHING with his friends and fellow filmmakers, each of whom are big fans of science fiction and horror films, including the long-running British sci-fi series DOCTOR WHO. In addition, they’ve been making short movies for years, leading to the show’s title character being introduced in a short film called TERROR OF THE KILLER CARNIVOROUS COAT. Yet, says Adams, each member of the Great Escape production team had bigger ambitions for the character. “A web series seemed the best route to get something out there, (and) let people see it and hopefully get feedback. Ultimately, we’re all big nerds – fantasy, science-fiction, horror, so we wanted to make stuff we’d enjoy watching.  So I sat down and thought about what I’d really want to do and came up with Zombie Vampires.”

Each episode is a throwback to the classic horror films of the past, especially the output of Hammer Studios, which featured multiple films starring such icons as Christopher Lee as Dracula, and Peter Cushing as vampire hunter Van Helsing. Yet, the series is also influenced by more recent works, including George Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD. However, Adams took a unique approach to his blood-sucking ghouls. “The idea behind them was really to look at how absurd vampire legends used to be. That’s what these guys are, vampires whose rules are not the conventional Hollywood ones. They’re rotting for one thing, so they have to drink blood and I wanted the Romero DAWN look of gray skin for many of them, old school. There’s old myths and stories we reference throughout, like having to be buried at a crossroads, or burying themselves in graves to sleep in the ground. I wanted to play it straight, but use the more unconventional legends as a starting point.”

In addition to the series, there’s also “Great Escapes”, a self-published companion novel of short stories, poetry and micro-fiction, not to mention a forthcoming graphic novel featuring Gabriel Cushing. All of this ties into a web series that will not only attract fans of classic horror and sci-fi, but will also win audiences with its innovative, escapist storytelling. Says Adams: “We want people to see it. Really, that’s what its about, seeing the show, enjoying the show, and hopefully supporting us as we move on to other projects, including further adventures for Gabriel Cushing (a Kickstarter campaign for another serial featuring the character, GABRIEL CUSHING AT THE CARNIVAL OF SORROWS, began May 11th). We’ve already shot a very low budget short with the character, and hope to have a series comprised of these out at the end of the year. But we’d love to really do another large project like Zombie Vampires and to do that we’d need support and to know people are enjoying our stuff. So at this stage, really, our main aim is to be able to afford to do more!”




TWITTER: @thegreatesc and @GabrielCushing