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

Relat­ed con­tent:

Watch Night of the Liv­ing Dead, the Sem­i­nal Zom­bie Movie, Free Online

Tro­ma Enter­tain­ment, the Mak­er of Acclaimed B‑Movies, Puts 150 Free Films on YouTube

The Large Hadron Col­lid­er Rap, Yo

The Hig­gs Boson, AKA the God Par­ti­cle, Explained with Ani­ma­tion

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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  • 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:

  • socratus says:

    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 /
    Does one physi­cist hand know that the oth­er hand makes?
    ( maybe with­out vac­u­um the CERN is good place for formula‑I
    com­pe­ti­tion . . ? ! )


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