We Spoke to the Director of This Insane Aussie Zombie TV Show

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A young woman awakens to find herself tied to a cage inside a claustrophobic torture chamber. It’s littered with zombies and people dressed in biohazard suits mashing human bodies into some kind of grinding machine and extracting their blood for… well, it’s not entirely clear why.

It’s damn entertaining, however, and if the words “Early Sam Raimi and Tarantino crossed with Sergio Leone on an acid trip” seem like the kind of thing you’re into, then… enjoy:

The trailer, released today, is for upcoming Australian TV series Wyrmwood, directed by Kiah Roache-Turner and produced by his brother Tristan.

If the name Wyrmwood sounds familiar, that might be because you already illegally downloaded the original movie. Made by the duo on a shoestring budget and released in 2015, it became a surprise hit and a blood-soaked example of the perils and potential of indie filmmaking in the digital age.

If Wyrmwood had been released in the ’90s I would own a house now.

The film was funded through an IndieGogo campaign after a ten minute concept trailer went viral. The campaign allowed the Roache-Turner brothers to quit their jobs and put their minds to making one of the most bloodthirsty pieces of cinema to hit Australian screens. Most importantly, it allowed them the creative freedom to make the film outside the normal channels of Australian cinema.

Wyrmwood Director Kiah Rouche-Turner on set with leading actress Bianca Bradey

Wyrmwood Director Kiah Roache-Turner on set with leading actress Bianca Bradey

But the internet wasn’t all nice. Upon release, Wyrmwood quickly became the most illegally downloaded film in the world, a bittersweet moment for its director.

“It was like getting a kiss from the prettiest girl in school only to have her turn around and slap you in the face as hard as she can,” said Roache-Turner.

“The internet is definitely a majestical double-edged sword. On the one hand millions of people are watching your film and your movie has become an instant cult-classic. On the other hand nobody is paying for it which means profit is almost non-existent.”

“If Wyrmwood had been released in the ’90s I would own a house now, however it might not have gained any traction for ten years, so I can’t really whinge because now I have a career. You’ve just got to embrace what’s happening now rather than dream about how things used to be.”

That indie attitude has allowed Roache-Turner to concentrate on expanding the Wyrmwood universe with Wyrmwood TV, which looks even more insane than the film it’s based on.

“The series picks up where the original film left off and just goes ballistic for eight hours,” Roache-Turner told Junkee.

Inspired by the awe he’s felt watching the recent golden age of television, he wants Wyrmwood to leave its mark on Australian screens.

“My hopes and dreams for the show is to make a TV series that can explode a film fan’s brain in the same way I had my own brain melted by shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Fargo, Mad Men and Rome.”

But despite the low-budget, indie credentials of the original film, Roache-Turner is hoping to work with more traditional networks to get Wyrmwood TV made.

“It will allow us to get a budget so we make something with enough breadth and scope that you can reach out of the small screen and grab the audience by the throat and make them stay tuned for the entire season!”