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On a sloping field about six miles outside of Elizabethtown off U.S. 62, a team of survivalists clad in dark coats and camouflage gather in the chilly Sunday morning air around their newest weapon in the fight against zombies: a “Doom Buggy.”
“There’s apparently an apocalypse,” said Tim Garrett, a leader of the Zombie Killers who is rattling off to the team the Doom Buggy’s accouterments, which include a Browning 1919 machine gun. “It’s very bad.”
Outside the circle are Adam Fox and Evan Stone, producers from Los Angeles who were filming a promotional reel Saturday and Sunday in Elizabethtown to market a show about zombie shooting competitions to television networks.
The team’s subject is Elizabethtown resident Frank Jardim’s Zombie Shooters United competitions. The shooting competitions are set in Jardim’s fictional world of Live E’town and the participants are survivors of a zombie apocalypse who have joined together as a security force known as the Zombie Killers.
Last fall, Fox and Stone were in the area developing a show called “Guntucky” about the Sumner family, who owns Knob Creek Gun Range, Fox said. The show will air in April on CMT.
While they were shooting “Guntucky,” he said they met Jardim and read his book titled “Zombie Killer Handbook.”
Jardim said the producers attended one of the story-driven shooting competitions in September and later ran into him again at Knob Creek.
“They approached me about the idea of doing a possible reality television shooting competition show based on this genre,” he said. “What fascinated them about it was the realism.”
In most zombie shooting competitions, he said participants use paper and steel targets that don’t resemble zombies commonly seen in films. Jardim, however, fashions his own zombie mannequins to use as targets.
Fox and Stone decided to pursue a show based on Jardim’s book.
The producers describe their idea as a “hybrid.” If it is picked up, the show, which as a working title of “Zombie Apocalypse Survivor,” would be part reality shooting competition and part fantasy that is set in Jardim’s fictional world of Live E’town, according to the producers.
“There is nothing quite like it on TV,” Stone said.
When he spoke to Stone and Fox in September, Jardim said he never thought the idea would come to fruition.
Yet less than six months later, he stood next to one of his zombie mannequins and explained to a Los Angeles TV producer bearing a film camera how the homemade target works.
“After having worked with them for three days, I’m impressed with their creativity,” Jardim said, “their ability to kind of pull these little things together that go into making a really neat video presentation and to make people who are really just farmers and paint store owners and mechanics actors. That was what was really neat.”
For those interested in the next Zombie Shooters United competition, the next event is March 9 at Knob Creek Gun Range. Pre-registration is $65 and can be done at www.zombieshootingcompetiton.com.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.