In some ways, Cody Knotts is glad the main financial backer for his new venture, pulled out.
Because now, Knotts, a two-time Republican state House candidate, said the future of the movie is in the hands of fans.
Which is just fine with the resident.
"We're not going to let this fail," he said.
So Knotts and crew have enlisted the help of website Kickstarter, an online fundraising platform, to collect $30,000 in 30 days.
Part of that crew is Shane Douglas, known to fans as “The Franchise,” who is helping with choreography and casting direction, and who will star in the final film. Local actors and wrestlers from West Virginia and Pennsylvania will be used in the feature.
Knotts has been clear: This isn’t supposed to be a campy throwback. The premise of the film is similar to other zombie films with relatively ordinary folks fending off the zombie horde—they just happen to be pro wrestlers who are all in one place when the epidemic breaks.
The deadline to give is 2 a.m. March 2.
And fans have multiple tiers of support to choose from—each with its own perks. A donation of $25, for example, will get a fan a copy of the DVD signed by a cast member, a post card signed by a cast member and a bumber sticker emblazoned with the slogan: "I Love Good Old American Violence."
Those willing to up the ante a little more can give $100, which gets them all that plus an associate producer credit and Skype interview with Knotts himself.
That's not all.
"For $1,500, one of the pro wrestlers will kill you on screen," Knotts said excitedly. "You will get to be a zombie who gets killed by a famous pro wrestler."
Pledges top out at $10,000.
And he's joked with friends that the crew will do whatever it takes to raise the necessary money to produce the film.
"We'll have one of the females squeeze your head between her thighs is that's what it takes," Knotts said with a laugh.
He said the money raised will go toward the development of the film, including talent acquisition. Knotts and his crew will then attempt to find a foreign distributor for the film.
"People always say they want to be part of a movie—so here's their chance," he added.
And besides, Knotts said,"What' better than hot babes with machetes cutting up zombies?" then adding: "Didn't you always want to see a zombie in a pile drive?"
“Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies” is the second of three ongoing projects Knotts has filmed—the first, writing, directing, and starring in The trailer is here, with the feature release aimed for April, according to Knotts.
As of Monday morning, Knotts had 21 backers and had raised more than $1,200. But unless all $30,000 is raised, the campaign is a no-go.
For more information on the film, or to donate, click here.