WYRMWOOD Tristan Roache-Turner


Four years ago the Roache-Turner brothers (Tristan and Kiah) set out to make a movie similar to the action and horror movies that had dominated their youth. Now after countless hours of work, the complete transformation of a yellow HiLux into a zombie-fuelled death machine, and setting a man’s head on fire (in strictly controlled stunt conditions), Guerilla Films is about to release the high-octane zombiefest, Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead. X-Press caught up with one half of the team; producer, production designer, co-writer and occasional zombie extra, Tristan Roache-Turner.

With Wyrmwood displaying such a love of Ozplotation and horror, it is easy to see the  filmic touchstones that the brothers have. Mad Max is the obvious comparison, but there are strong horror influences. “It has to be Evil Dead 2 and Bad Taste. I watched both those movies as a young fella. Evil Dead 2 was really scary, but had mad production values. It had that maniacal sense of humour that I really appreciated. Bad Taste from Peter Jackson… I just fell in love with that movie. That was what really gave myself and Kiah (director) the self belief that you can make a movie off your own back and find a following for it.”

Hence, with a minuscule budget, the brothers set out to make the film they wanted. “It was difficult but it was so much fun. That made it easier. Looking back I’m amazed we got it down in four years. There were definitely times it was very hard. We had a cast and a crew that ..well…none of them were getting paid up front, everyone was there for the love of film making. It just gave us the team we needed to get everything done.”

Of course with a shoestring budget, Tristan found himself wearing multiple hats on Wyrmwood. “Produced it, wrote it with my brother, designed and built a lot of the props and costumes. I did a lot of crew work on set, production managing and making sure everyone was on time, and organised – but by the end of the day I’d have a tool-belt on running around repairing things in between shots… I was a zombie multiple times, I performed a lot of small scale stunts, and I was safety as well.” Due to an electrician background Tristan was highly safety orientated. Hence when it came time to actually set a man’s head on fire as part of the climactic end battle, Tristan was part of the team that day (along with a stunt coordinator).

He is also responsible for bringing much of the iconic look of the film into reality, including the zombie-mobile.  After buying an appropriate base from eBay, it just required some salvaged scrap metal, a few trips to Bunnings and the help of a couple of tradie mates to “transform it from an average yellow HiLux to the beast it is today.”

As for what’s next for the two filmmakers; as much as they would love to do a sequel for Wyrmwood, “Any plans for that are on the backburner as we have a kick-arse ghost story planned. Sort of an R-rated Ghostbusters.