Alumni Premiere TV Movie, 'Zombies'
February 21, 2018
The television movie, Zombies, written and co-produced by alumni Joseph Raso '04 and David Light '02, premiered on the Disney Channel on February 16th, 2018. Described as “High School Musical meets iZombie,” the telefilm’s premiere “drew over 1.14 million viewers and a 4.8 rating in the kids 6-11 demo—beating that night’s Winter Olympics coverage—and went on to lure 10.3 million combined viewers over eight airings,” according to an article by Erik Pederson of Deadline.
Originally pitched by Raso and Light as a television pilot that never made it to series, the musical telefilm follows a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance between a teen zombie football player teen and a cheerleader. In the movie, a power-plant explosion has caused civilians to mutate into zombies, and although a device keeps zombie-humans from eating others, a prejudice still exists against zombies. Conflicts arise when “students from Zombietown transfer to Seabrook High and struggle to coexist alongside human students.”
In an interview with Ellen Gray of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Light stated the movie’s message of “being fiercely open hearted, generous and kind, and true to yourself... your authentic self, your true voice” as crucial in today’s political and social climate. “We’re in a moment of polarization,” he said. “And so a message of decency, I think, really resonates.”
“Look in my eyes/We’re the same but different/Just like you/I got hopes and wishes,” sings the zombie-teen protagonist, Zed, in a scene where he serenades his cheerleader love interest in a warehouse rave. The film’s musical score was written by George S. Clinton and choreographed by Christopher Scott and Jeffrey Hornaday.
Among Joseph Raso’s credits include writing the TV movie Forever Boys and the TV series Seed, among others. David Light previously worked as an animator, and then a development exec with Nickelodeon and MTV Animation.