Higgs zombies? CERN students make 'scientist fiction' film in Large Hadron Collider

 

Murderous zombies are stalking the dark underground passageways of the renowned CERN physics centre near Geneva, hunting young scientists who have survived a devastating failure in its world-famous particle collider.

Gaunt men with peeling faces and stony-eyed women dripping blood from their mouths leer around corners and loom from behind wrecked equipment, impervious to the bullets from a gun wielded by one of their would-be victims.

And it is all happening right at the heart of the multi-billion dollar complex where, last July, physicists announced the discovery of what they think is the particle -- the Higgs boson -- which made life and the universe possible.

Well, happening at least on the Internet (www.decayfilm.com). Scientists at the centre on Wednesday said they were pursuing their efforts to reveal the great mysteries of the cosmos and had not noticed anything unusual.

"But that does explain why my neighbour shouted: 'Watch for the Zombies,' when I left for work this morning," said one puzzled physicist who is part of one of the two large teams which jointly tracked down the Higgs.

The gory action comes in an 80-minute horror film, "Decay", shot in 2010 around open areas of the sprawling CERN complex at weekends by budding young scientists from Britain and the United States, without formal management approval.

"They asked for CERN's endorsement once the whole thing was in the can," said spokesman James Gillies. "Clearly we can't endorse such a thing, but nor were we going to stop it. After all, it's just students doing the kind of thing students do."

The movie burst onto the World Wide Web, itself invented at CERN 20 years ago. A notice on its site and a press release from the makers, H2ZZ Productions, declares: "This film has not been authorised or endorsed by CERN."

The cinematic mayhem follows a disaster in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), releasing the Higgs and its associated particle field which turn dozens of the technicians working around the subterranean complex into "living dead" flesh-eaters.

A group of scientists is isolated in the control room -- which the filmmakers move underground from its actual location on the surface -- and as they try to break out to safety they are picked off one by one by their zombie colleagues.

"It's a bit of fun in the best tradition of B-series Zombie movies," said a CERN researcher who followed the project. "It's well done, but I can't say the acting is Oscar quality."

"They wanted to make the film as unbelievable as possible, and the scientific 'facts' cited in it are laughable, so no-one could take it seriously."

The producers are at pains to underline that in making their technicolour epic they had no access to the actual 27-km (17-mile) circular tunnel where the LHC and the giant particle detectors and magnets are housed.

The writer and director of the film was Luke Thompson, who apart from his studies at CERN is a physicist and doctoral student at Britain's Manchester University, where the film had an early showing at the end of last month.

Co-producer and director of photography was Burton de Wilde, who holds a physics doctorate from Stony Brook University in the United States. The actors came from among CERN's several hundred doctoral or summer students.

The company set up to market the film says it has showings scheduled for several places in Britain, the United States and Europe.

"It might just turn out to be one of those off-the-wall successes," the CERN researcher said.

Reuters

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor