Beware of the zombies at Binswood Hall

If you go down to the woods today - you might come face to face with blood-spattered zombies infected with avian flu.

But don’t panic. Fortunately they are not part of an apocalyptic disaster but actors starring in a horror film.

And Leamington-based company Green Manalishi Productions is heading up the low-budget but highly ambitious project.

Filming has been taking place for several weeks in woods just outside the village of Wroxton, Banbury and cast and crew will also visit Leamington’s Binswood Avenue to film laboratory scenes on-location in Binswood Hall.

The feature-length ‘modern day’ horror film tells the story of two groups of people who come into contact with avian flu after a wild animal smuggler brings a rare bird into the country from the far East.

Actress Lorraine Pilkington, who has starred in Human Traffic and Monarch of the Glen, RSC actor James Chalmers and Remy Bennett (Tony’s granddaughter) are among those taking part.

Makeup artist Michelle Webb, who has worked on films including X-Men3, Click and Closer and video shoots with Justin Timberlake and Fallout Boy, has enacted suitably gory transformations on the actors to bring them into the realm of the undead.

Leamington producer Richard Adams explained the choice of storyline and location.

He said: “The set was chosen by director Luke Massey as it was somewhere he visited on holiday when he was younger.

“It had the right combination of scary cabin and woods that were needed to make the ambience feel just right.

“The influenza background was carefully worked into the storyline to reflect a growing concern with the potential outcome of the disease and how it could affect the future of the human race.”

While filming the majority of the scenes in the isolated, woodland setting, cast and crew often found themselves working until 5am. Richard described the process as “harrowing, manic and fraught but ultimately very rewarding”.

Crew members, who have worked on projects including Skins, Casualty and Doctor Who, adopted a ‘back to basis’ approach to filming, allowing the cinematography and camera work to come to the fore.

And word of the project is spreading with a Facebook site attracting more than 500 members so far.

Green Manalishi Productions also makes music and videos for bands and hope the film will go international after its UK release.

q www.withinthewoodsthefilm.co.uk