Zombies plan invasion of film festival

Ross Kidder and Michael McKiddy star in "DEADHEADS." Its world premiere will be at Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas on April 29 during the Newport Beach Film Festival.
(Hand In)

Just four days after tickets to the Newport Beach Film Festival went on sale, the oft slow-moving “walking undead” proved to be among the festival’s fastest-moving ticket buyers.

A horde of fans dressed as zombies are expected to descend on the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas on April 29 for the sold-out world premiere of comedy horror film “DeadHeads,” said the film’s co-director and co-writer Brett Pierce on Wednesday.

“We’re setting it up as a kind of a slogan that zombies are people, too,” Pierce said of contacting a group in San Diego that organizes mass “zombie walks” to amp up the excitement of the night.

The premiere coincides with showings of documentaries “Becoming Santa” and “Superheroes.”

“It actually might be a fun photo opportunity,” festival co-founder Todd Quartararo said of the jumble of expected festivalgoers dressed as zombies, caped crusaders or in Santa suits.

“Deadheads” is the only festival movie that has sold out for its premier night as of Wednesday afternoon, confirmed festival spokeswoman Cory Ceizler.

“This is pretty typically,” Quartararo said of the rapid sell-out for the zombie fan flick. “This is why we encourage people to buy tickets ahead of time.”

However, even for sold-out films, people can also check the box office for last-minute available tickets, he added.

For Pierce, the sold-out status of the film is almost too good to believe. The film is Pierce’s and his brother, Drew’s, first film.

The Chicago natives began as a team about five years ago to write and direct the comedy horror flick together after being inspired by their father’s involvement as a special effects artist for the 1980s movie trilogy “Evil Dead.”

“When we were kids, our mom invited the ‘Evil Dead’ filmmakers to sort of take over our house to complete the film,” Pierce said. “I was fascinated with comedy and horror. It’s a weird mix, but I kind of liked it.”

While the film has the scares and laughs the zombie comedy horror genre fans know to expect, it also has a surprisingly tender side as one of the characters experiences romance, Pierce said.

“We’re really happy with the movie,” Pierce said. “The cast and crew were even more devoted after seeing the film and they’re really happy with it. I feel like we’ve made a fun movie that people will really want to come to the theater see.”

If You Go

Tickets to see the second screening of “Deadheads” at 7:45 p.m. May 3 at the Starlight Triangle Square Cinemas are available at