Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn’t watched Fear the Walking Dead Episode 9.
Nobody was getting gross with their beverage and food choices this week on Fear the Walking Dead, thankfully. The action shifted in part to focus on Madison, Strand, Alicia and Ophelia as they stumbled upon a potentially safe and secure new location in a dark and looming hotel, a horror staple that offers up one of this series’ best visuals in all those zombies plummeting from the balconies. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Alycia Debnam-Carey about the show, and I asked what scared her the most about filming there.
“She’s alone in a hotel, and that already is just such a creepy idea. When we were filming it, parts of it were all blacked out, and we’d have sectioned off pockets of zombies in each room, and so when I’d open up doors, it was horrible! [laughs] It was like, ‘Oh no, there’s too many of them!’ So it became really not a fun thing.”
Sometimes all you want to do when you’re done with a scene is get to craft services to grab a bottle of water and calm down, but you can’t do that when other rooms are temporary homes for handfuls of ghastly zombies. Filming on locations means every bit of space is generally utilized, so the extras-as-zombies – can I call them “hellhops” in this scenario? – can’t wander too far. Plus, I mean sometimes they’re actually in the scene, as we saw in tonight’s episode. You’d think Alycia Debnam-Carey would get used to it, but some things are just impossible to adapt to, I guess, and it’s probably okay that “walking in on zombie hordes in dark rooms” is one of them.
Through most of “Los Muertos,” the hotel had more than most places to offer by way of shade and beds. Madison and Strand got ripped and took a load off, while also developing a bit of a flirtatious bond, though Alicia and Ofelia weren’t quite so lucky with their serious conversations. No one was really lucky in the end, as it became clear everyone had let their collective guard down at a particularly bad time, and you know that more hard times are coming for this frazzled group of survivors.
Alycia Debnam-Carey told me it wasn’t even just the zombies that creeped her out while filming this part of Fear the Walking Dead’s sophomore season.
“In terms of scary, just shooting at a hotel at night time is a bit weird. And that hotel is new but still gives you a little shiver up your spine if you think about it too long. . . . We were living and working in the same hotel. That was actually the scariest part. It was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m living in Groundhog Day.’ Living upstairs and shooting downstairs. It was so weird.”
I imagine that would get unnerving after a while as the brain starts to anticipate seeing undead folks milling about the living areas, as well as the sets. I spent years working in the hotel biz (and am currently not regretting moving away from it), but my fascination for them long before that, and I’m glad Fear the Walking Dead found a way to introduce one in such an effective manner, while also giving us a lovely musical performance. I want to see a high-rise get built in Alexandria in The Walking Dead Season 7, too, with a water fountain that is timed to music.
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC, with Season 3 coming next year. To see when everything else will be hitting the small screen later this year, check out our fall TV schedule.