East Hampton photographer Dell Cullum has long had an interest in horror makeup, so when the popularity of zombies rose with the success of The Walking Dead he decided to combine his passions to make a zombie photo calendar set in the Hamptons.
The 2013 calendar was so well received he couldn’t keep them in stock. With Halloween approaching, he’s released his second annual Zombies of the Hamptons calendar.
Halloween is his favorite holiday. “It’s the one time of year when adults can act like kids again,” he said.
Cullum, an Amagansett native who now lives in East Hampton Village, typically produces four photo calendars annually: Hamptons sunrise, Hamptons scenes, Hamptons wildlife and a fourth theme that changes; this time around it was foxes.
But for 2013, he added a fifth calendar. Using two models in zombie makeup, Lori and Barbara Shultz, he made a 12-month calendar around the Hamptons. He ordered 50 copies, and they sold out in a day, he said. He ordered a second run of 50, and was out of them just a few days after they arrived. Cullum said he did not expect that kind of response.
This summer and into September, Cullum shot for his 2014 zombie calendar. This time, instead of using the same models for multiple shoots, he got different models for each month using local volunteers. He said he picked some well-known Hamptons locations around East Hampton and Amagansett, plus some scenes that will not be instantly recognizable.
Photos include a zombie enjoying a leisurely bicycle ride on the backroads, a zombie garbageman collecting trash, and a zombie in a graduation gown on a high school football field. Cullum designed the makeup for each zombie himself, using professional-grade materials.
Cullum’s interest in movie makeup began when he was a teenager.
“When I was 15 I went to Hollywood and picked up a makeup kit,” he said. “I’ve been doing it ever since. I’m 50 now.”
He explained that his mother was a member of the Sweet Adelines then, and he accompanied her on a trip to Los Angeles. While she was at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with her singing group, he spent his time at Universal Studios, fascinated.
Before the Internet, he said, getting Hollywood-quality makeup outside of Los Angeles was very difficult. But he found Ronjo Magic and Costume in Port Jefferson Station and could once again get access to the materials he first discovered at Universal Studios. He said the makeup for the 2014 calendar “was extravagant and beautiful.”
The new calendar is accompanied by a short film. It includes behind-the-scenes looks at the making of both the 2013 and 2014 calendars, and some creepy and spooky makeup and special effects. Named Muerta: The Movie, the film can be seen on YouTube and it is being screened at the Groundworks @ Hrens Trail of Terror in East Hampton. Remaining trail dates are Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26.
Cullum said that in order to keep the calendars affordable, he sells them directly without a big retail markup. To order calendars for $16 each plus shipping, email Cullum at email@example.com. He will also arrange for local pickup to spare the shipping costs.