Decay: Zombies Invade the Large Hadron Collider in Movie Made by Ph.D. Students

Though far from the most astute scholar of physics or zombie cinema, I have to believe that this marks the first time physicists have made a contribution to the field. But perhaps only they would think to set their movie inside the Large Hadron Collider, the European Organization for Nuclear Research’s particle accelerator of record-setting size and power. (Hands up if you even knew one could go inside it.) The device has received much press for its potential to either prove or disprove the existence of a predicted elementary particle called the Higgs boson, and Decay speculates about one particular consequence of this high-profile scientific quest: what if the Higgs boson turns people into zombies? Doing his Ph.D. at the University of Manchester, writer-director Luke Thompson realized that — and here I quote the press release — “the tunnels under CERN would be ideal for a zombie film.” £2000, a couple borrowed cameras, and a great deal of scavenged props and improvised filmmaking gear  later, we can watch the whole thing free online.

Thompson’s entry into the zombie canon follows “a small group of students (played by physicists) after a disastrous malfunction in the world’s biggest particle accelerator. As they try desperately to escape from the underground maintenance tunnels, they are hunted by the remains of a maintenance team, who have become less than human.” This use of actual young physicists running around the actual nooks and crannies of CERN lends the project a scrappy realism, and the practice of making do with any resource at hand has a proud history in zombie filmmaking. Recall that George A. Romero, shooting the genre-defining Night of the Living Dead (also free to watch on the internet), could only raise $6,000 at a time, which forced him to find horror wherever he could. Like every strong zombie picture, Decay not only operates on meager resources but performs a certain social satire as well, in this case to do with how the nonscientific world perceives science. But no need to take it too seriously: “This film has not been authorized or endorsed by CERN,” reads the first title card. “It is purely a work of fiction.” Whew.

via Metafilter

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Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.



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  1. David Pablo Cohn says . . . | December 26, 2012 / 7:13 am

    Ah – but zombie physicist movies are old hat at the South Pole, where some of the harshest conditions and craziest physics experiments are a way of life. For reference, please consider: http://roadtrip.somerandom.com/2011/08/brief-note-on-antarctic-winterover-film.html

  2. socratus says . . . | February 5, 2013 / 11:43 pm

    It is impossible using particle accelerators to understand
    god-particles and the ultimate truth of nature as physicists hope.
    =.
    To create particle accelerators is needed reference frame of vacuum.(!)
    It means that physicists take vacuum as a reflector of the real (!)
    structure of nature: the space between billions and billions galaxies.

    But on the other hand, today’s physicists refuse to take vacuum
    T=0K as real fundament of Universe.
    ‘ It is true . . . there is such a thing as absolute zero; we cannot
    reach temperatures below absolute zero not because we are not
    sufficiently clever but because temperatures below absolute zero
    simple have no meaning.’
    / Book : ‘Dreams of a final theory’ Page 138.
    By Steven Weinberg. The Nobel Prize in Physics 1979 /
    =.
    Question:
    Does one physicist hand know that the other hand makes?
    =.
    ( maybe without vacuum the CERN is good place for formula-I
    competition . . ? ! )
    =.
    Socratus

    ==.

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