ULSTER'S first kung-fu zombie movie is set for a perfectly-timed premiere at the height of the marching season.
The low-budget gore-fest – in which rival gangs from both sides of the community are forced to team up to fight hordes of flesh-eaters on July 12 – finished filming just weeks ago in Downpatrick.
Battle of the Bone sees an army of the undead invade Belfast city centre as Orangemen and nationalist protestors are about to face off at a flashpoint.
George Clarke, 30, who wrote, produced and directed the blood-drenched flick, said yesterday: "It would have been nice to have the premiere on the Twelfth but all the cinemas are shut.
"We've decided on July 17 at the Odyssey Arena for the screening, and we can promise there will be a few celebrities there."
The former cartoonist, who had to raise financing for the 10,000 project himself, already has a grisly sequel in the pipeline.
George plans to make The Slash My Father Wore, set at Stormont, with his assistant director Johnny Kirk.
He promised it would be even more shocking than Battle of the Bone.
"It will be more intense, chilling and more controversial if we can get it off the ground," said George.
Despite the shoestring budget this time around, the filmmaker said his team have pulled off impressively gruesome effects.
"We had to improvise. To create scenes where zombies chew on flesh, we were using pasta and strawberry sauce. Big-budget computer generated images just weren't an option."
The father-of-two added that when a rough cut was screened for professional film-makers, they were "blown away" by the entrails on show.
George is now buried in the editing room adding sound to the movie before it is unveiled, but a diary of the shoot has been posted on the Myspace website.
He said: "I was inspired to do the film to put a fun spin on the usual heavy Troubles themes that dominate films from Northern Ireland.
"I thought adding the kung-fu to a concept about the Twelfth would be the most absurd way to do it.
"But more seriously it asks what extremes we have to go to for peace. Hopefully it will be an inspiration to other film-makers who think they're restricted because of budgets."
Shooting wrapped last month in the final location – an abandoned wing of Downshire Psychiatric Hospital.
Actor John Gallagher said on one of the last days of filming: "How many people can say they went to work, got wheeled about in a wheelchair and stabbed to death? I've always wanted to be in a zombie movie."
George and assistant director Johnny set up Yellow Fever Productions to see the project through – and they have high hopes for the new company.
"One of our missions with Yellow Fever is to give new talent a start," said George.
"We want the company to help people in Northern Ireland who have been turned away."