The Knackery

Yellow Fever's new gorefest, produced in five weeks with a £100 budget

Yellow Fever Productions, the team that brought us the zombie Orangefest Battle of the Bone, are back with The Knackery. The pesky undead have been relocated to an abandoned warehouse, watched over by the baleful eye of reality TV cameras.

Since the unexpected success of Battle of the Bone, Yellow Fever, under the auspices of managing director George Clarke, have established themselves as something of a thriving cottage industry in Northern Ireland. They’ve single-handedly garnered enough publicity to bring a blush to the cheeks of whole PR departments and, according to their website blurb, ‘absorb 3 Google search pages’ as well as having featured articles on not one but two Hollywood websites.

All of which is extremely impressive, although you still type ‘Yellow Fever’ into Google at your peril.

Put simply, they made waves with Battle of the Bone -

including scooping the much coveted Audience Choice Award at last year’s Freak Show Film Festival in the States - so many, in fact, that they are now in a position to develop their laudable remit to discover, expose and promote new film talent in Northern Ireland.

The first fruits of that missionary zeal have already been delivered. Witness the inaugural and quite brilliant Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival (YFIFF). An impressive international line-up was ably supported by a host of Irish shorts and features in one of the first festivals in the country to showcase genuinely independent films.

First and foremost, though, Yellow Fever are filmmakers. The Knackery turns out to be Clarke’s personal mission to make a film for £100 in just five weeks. Amazingly, he seems to have pulled it off, with the film rush edited just in time to premiere as the grand finale of the YFIFF.

With the same dedicated team in place, The Knackery has fanboy references to Hong Kong kung-fu, zombie gore flicks and not a little slapstick thrown in for good measure. The results are admirable, even if you can see the joins. For the first time, Clarke takes the lead. The strapline reads: 'Six contestants - six million quid - and a sh*tload of zombies'.

Any semblance of a plot is purely coincidental, and isn’t really the point of the film. The Knackery is a reality show where participants fight to the death in a disused building complex. To make matters slightly more cumbersome for contestants, there’s also a skip-full of boiler-suited living-dead types on the rampage. 

This all adds up to just over an hour of frenetic, furious and frequently funny set pieces. From the hilarious Norn Iron-style martial arts athleticism (ie not very athletic), to satisfying amounts of blood squirting over vast distances - not to mention a comedic star turn from Yellow Fever’s Alan Crawford as a loathsome Louisiana huckster - it’s the very definition of good gory fun.

It would take the most mean-spirited of critics to fault the film's charming, ramshackle composition or the deficiencies in plot, acting, or even location. It’s the sheer verve and admirable ethic of going out and getting the thing done in the face of perceived constraints that counts, with the process being nearly as interesting and important as the product itself. 

Thus the gauntlet has been thrown down to others who flatter themselves that they stalk the medium of film with a certain preternatural prowess yet cry poverty when it comes to producing, never mind trying to get their film into the cinema.

Yes, as with Battle of the Bone, Yellow Fever are pushing for a cinematic release for their latest celluloid salvo. First though, Clarke says he wants to re-do the ending with added CGI effects. That may mean breaking the £100 mark, but after The Knackery, Yellow Fever can afford to splash out a little.

Joseph Nawaz

The Knackery is available to buy from our online store.