CERN — Before the heady days of the Higgs Boson discovery and $3 million awards from Russian billionaires, 50 percent of people probably thought the Large Hadron Collider was a big waste of $4.75 billion.
The other 50 percent most likely thought it was an apocalyptic accident waiting to happen.
For the above reasons, and possible more, a group of researchers and technicians at CERN — the particle physics lab outside Geneva, Switzerland — decided to make a zombie movie.
Their intention was to put a little fun into learning about science, as well as an attempt to demystify some of the anxiety people had about what was going on up at the big bang creating Large Hadron Collider.
Burton DeWilde, a physics Ph.D. and director of photography-editor for the film that was eventually made, explains:
“The idea of filming a zombie movie at CERN was originally conceived by Luke Thompson (writer-director) and Hugo Day (props master) while exploring the lab’s creepy labyrinth of underground maintenance tunnels.”
“It was agreed that they would make an excellent setting for a horror film. From there, the story evolved into a cheeky riff on the black hole hysteria: The Large Hadron Coller didn’t produce earth-devouring black holes after all — but have you considered brain-devouring zombies?”
“Concerns about the Higgs, in particular, [the Higgs Boson, the particle from a field that bestows mass on other particles, was announced by CERN scientists in July 2012], and cliches of mad scientists were also mixed in. We took all these worries to a totally ridiculous place.”
The result, is Decay – the movie.
Made for $5, 645 (£3, 500), with a running time of 75 minutes, Decay is a gratuitous, gore-fest, riddled with ludicrous plots, shameless shocks, and physics “in-jokes.”
Slatereveals that behind the fun of making the movie, however, was a serious intent. The team involved were earnest about reassuring and introducing a lay audience to the environment where groundbreaking physics was done.
Although CERN’s administration have nothing to do with the film, DeWilde says:
“I think CERN recognizes that every time people engage with particle physics, there’s potential for a learning experience.”
Decay, in full, is linked below.