First Look: The Bloody & Gruesome Puppet Film, “Frank & Zed”

“Long ago, a foul wizard was cut down by cursed weapons of tremendous power, leaving behind two servants, Frank and Zed. “For centuries, the two monsters have survived by working together: Frank hunts for squirrels to feed Zed, and Zed hooks Frank up to a lightning rod to charge. But just as their decrepit bodies crumble beyond repair, a new threat arises in the nearby village.

“In a dark grab for power, the Lord Regent of the village deliberately triggers the curse by sending innocent civilians into the woods. Frank mistakes the wayward villagers for threats, cutting them down and serving their brains to Zed. This awakens a thirst for human flesh in Zed and stirs memories of his tragic past in Frank. In the ensuing chaos, their friendship is torn asunder.

“Convinced that killing the monsters is the only way to save themselves, the villagers dig up the cursed weapons and storm the castle. Now, Frank and Zed must come together if they are to survive The Orgy of Blood.”

Frank & Zed is the gargantuan work of writer-director-puppeteer Jesse Blanchard. In 2011, Blanchard founded his company Puppetcore with two mandates: make sure the characters are real, even if they’re puppets, and use practical effects whenever possible. With that in mind, and two successful Kickstarter campaigns to fund the film, Blanchard spent seven years filming Frank & Zed. The feature length Gothic horror adventure required over 40 handmade puppet characters, intricate miniatures, practical cloud tank effects, and honest-to-god fire. Now, finally, audiences can see it.

Frank & Zed will have its world premiere as part of Nightstream, a virtual cabal made up of five different small genre festivals. (Boston Underground, Brooklyn Horror, North Bend, Overlook, and Popcorn Frights to be specific.) Pooling their efforts, Nightstream will have dozens of movies and events allowing more people than ever to experience festivals in the safety and comfort of their own home.

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