New film follows 2 zombie moviemakers with Down syndrome

New film follows 2 zombie moviemakers with Down syndrome

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AP

FILE - In this July 12, 2016, file photo, Sam Suchmann, left, and Mattie Zufelt pose with ghoulish figures at Sam's home in Providence, R.I. The two young men who caused a sensation four years ago when they created their own gory zombie movie are back, this time in a documentary championed by a Hollywood luminary that chronicles their tenacious, years-long effort to see their silver screen dream come to fruition. "Sam & Mattie Make a Zombie Movie," was released Tuesday, April 6, 2021, on Apple TV. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Two best friends with Down syndrome who caused a sensation four years ago when they created their own gory zombie movie are back, this time in a documentary championed by a Hollywood luminary.

“Sam & Mattie Make a Zombie Movie,” released Tuesday on Apple TV, follows Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt on their tenacious 10-year quest to storyboard, script, produce, cast and star in 2016′s “Spring Break Zombie Massacre,” a comedy slasher movie complete with severed heads and spurting arteries.

The original movie earned national attention and an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s show for the two Rhode Island natives.

Suchmann and Zufelt, both 25, loved the attention then — and they're loving it again now.

“I’ve always been the shy guy,” Suchmann said. “Now I’m experiencing what the cool kids are experiencing.”

But talk to anyone who knows them, and it’s not overcoming a disability that makes their story remarkable — it’s the sheer determination they showed in getting the movie made.

“They’re a whirlwind of energy and happiness,” Peter Farrelly, a fellow Rhode Islander and executive producer of the documentary, said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “These guys are really sharp and they knew what they wanted. Our job was to help them but not get in their way.”

Farrelly, producer of the Oscar-winning film “Green Book,” and his brother, Bobby, have for years cast actors with disabilities in their movies and pushed for other Hollywood powerbrokers to do the same. Their 2005 movie “The Ringer,” about someone pretending to have a disability and competing in the Special Olympics, had about 150 extras with Down syndrome.