John Gibson, who co-wrote, directed and produced the film explained about 60 percent of the movie was filmed in western Kentucky and southern Illinois. In Kentucky, he filmed on private land in Ballard County and at “Copper Canyon,” in Hopkinsville. Locations in Illinois included Round Knob in Massac County and Brownfield in Pope County.
His cast and crew spent about three weeks in the summer of 2011 and one week in the winter filming in Massac County, which is where his wife Candice (Beggs) Gibson is from. “It was nice coming home,” he said.
Gibson also points out that he has always said the rolling bluffs of southern Illinois and rolling hills of northern Kentucky are wonderful locations for filming.
Gibson initially intended to film half of the zombie western at Fort Massac State Park, but in 2011, historic flooding almost botched the film project, because two weeks before filming began, the fort was closed to the public.
“People were super supportive. The environment was not,” Gibson said. “Far from being a hindrance, the people in the community saved us.”
Because Fort Massac was unavailable, Gibson and his crew came up with the idea of constructing their own fort. Gibson said the replica was not exact and was about one-third to one-half the size of Fort Massac and did not have as many buildings. He said it resembled more of a “shanty fort,” and had a more “run down” look to it.
He admits when his historical advisor James Burnett said he could build a fort in about a month, he laughed with a mixture of fear, not knowing what the fort was going to look like.
“With our own fort, we had more flexibility,” said Gibson, recalling that on early in the morning on Dec. 31, 2011 there were about 30 people pounding on a wall, which eventually fell. “I think the people had fun doing that in the cold,” he said.
Three people, Burnett, of Clarksville, and Michael Hein and Gabriel Carter, both of Metropolis, were the main ones building the fort, but Gibson said there were several people who volunteered their time to help get the fort constructed. In addition to that, he said there were several businesses that donated materials and equipment for the construction of the fort.
According to Gibson, the team split its production and built its own fort in Round Knob, just north of Metropolis. He said he relied heavily on local volunteers to build a structure and appear as extras in the film.
“There’s no telling how many people volunteered wood, tools ... it was very appreciated,” said Gibson.
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