Zombie movie set to film in Santa Fe, Española

April 17, 2019

The living dead will soon be roaming Santa Fe and Española.

That’s because those cities will be the main filming locales for Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre, a horror comedy which starts principal photography in mid-April and will shoot into early May, according to the New Mexico State Film Office.

In what may be a nod to those 1960s Mexican horror movies in which masked wrestlers grappled with werewolves, ape men and other monstrosities, Manson Brothers concerns two masked professional wrestling villains in decline who try to make a living “on the shady underbelly of the independent pro-wrestling circuit,” publicity materials say.

“You’re gonna see zombies in the street,” Eric Witt, executive director of the Santa Fe Film Office, said Monday. He said he had few other details to share about its plot, other than it climaxes in a wrestling arena where “zombies may be involved.”

Mona Vista Productions is making the film, which is helmed by actor-director Max Martini (Fifty Shades of Grey, Captain Phillips) and produced by Michael Hagerty. Actors include Mike Carey (Chicago Fire, Crisis), Chris Margetis (Night Fangs, Frankenstein Day of the Beast), Randy Couture (Expendables, Hawaii Five-O, Ballers), Bas Rutten, (Paul Blart, Mall Cop, Zookeeper) and D.B. Sweeney (Hawaii Five-O, The Night Shift).

In a December 2018 interview with L’etage Magazine, Martini said the film has to do with “well… zombies. And hilarious.”

The production will employ about 65 New Mexico crew members, 21 New Mexico actors and 250 New Mexico background talent.

Witt, who said in a press statement the city is ready for the wrestling-related film because “we know how to throw down on a diving elbow drop,” said by phone that Santa Fe can expect a “jumping summer” for film.

“Four other film productions are scouting here right now,” Witt said. “All major productions, all feature films.”

And, he said, if the television series Roswell returns for another season, it likely will shoot in Santa Fe, including at Santa Fe Studios off N.M. 14.

He said he did not know where in Santa Fe the Manson Brothers production will shoot. Film production companies are renowned for keeping their filming locations as secretive as possible. Witt said the production company has not filed for any permits yet for Santa Fe locations.

Angelica Serrano, executive assistant to the mayor and city manager of Española, said the production applied for a permit to film at the Another Man’s Treasure store on Paseo de Oñate in that city. The permit to film has not yet been issued, she said.

The production also will shoot scenes at the Cariños Community Empower Center in Española, a facility that Rio Arriba County bought last year after Cariños Charter School closed in June, said Christopher Madrid, economic development director for Rio Arriba County.

Manson Brothers will benefit from an expanded film incentive program signed into law in March that provides rebates on qualified expenses up to 35 percent and more than doubles the annual cap on payments to film production companies. The new measure also removes the cap altogether for companies that sign a 10-year partnership with New Mexico.

The state has been home to a number of horror movies, including John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998), and the vampire story Let Me In (2010), as well as a couple of low-budget zombie films, such as The Stink of Flesh (2005) and Undead or Alive: A Zombedy (2007).