Dead Gentlemen come to life in Tacoma

The dead have arrived in Tacoma and set up shop. A bad April Fools’ Day joke? Not exactly. Dead Gentlemen Productions, a media production company founded in 2002, celebrated Wednesday the opening of their new office in downtown Tacoma.

Dead Gentlemen Productions is a fledgling film company that began as a group of five “perennially single” guys at Pacific Lutheran University bemoaning the loss of traditional values of chivalry and gentlemanly conduct in today’s society, according to head writer Matt Vancil.

He called it a “male support group” where members could engage in discussions, like a modern day “Dead Poets Society.”

“So let’s use this name. It stuck,” he said. “So we became the Dead Gentlemen.”

The group then turned its attention to making their first feature film, “Demon Hunters.” After a few thousand dollars invested and several months of hard work, the film was received with great acclaim and a sequel, “Demon Hunters: Dead Camper Lake,” was born.

Following that success, the members decided to formalize their relationship and began the long and arduous process of putting together an official business.

“We’ve been entertaining ourselves,” Vancil said, “and others ever since.”
In addition to the the two feature films it has produced, Dead Gentlemen Productions has produced “A Time to Remember,” a documentary focusing on the struggles of gay seminary student to become ordained; and two short films, including “Revamping Doyle,” a story about a vampire in therapy and the critically-acclaimed “The Gamers,” a story about a group of friends who enjoy role-playing games.

“There’s no reason it should’ve succeeded,” Vancil said of the 48-minute film.

But it did, selling some 4,000 units to bring in some much-needed money for the Dead Gentlemen.

“That created the seed fund to get here,” he said of the company’s new location in downtown Tacoma.

The Dead Gentlemen aren’t resting on their laurels, however. A “Demon Hunters Christmas Special” short is in pre-production, and a zombie comedy feature film is currently in development.

“They’re not that hard to escape from,” Vancil said of zombies, noting the focus of the upcoming feature will be a group of people who actually use logic to escape the slow-moving living dead that have bedeviled so many in various horror films.

For example, there will be a scene in the movie where a zombie will have trouble catching up to an elderly gentleman who uses a walker. “I embrace the fact I’m a low budget hack,” he said.

Vancil enjoys his work, which allows him to be creative, as well as affording him the opportunity to see movies as research. “It’s more fun than having an office job,” he pointed out.

Ben Dobyns, director of development for Dead Gentlemen Productions, said he was thankful for the support of the community. Director of operations Michael Boltorff agreed regarding the move into the office in downtown Tacoma: “It’s really been excellent for us.”

Dead Gentlemen Productions currently consists of 17 shareholders, as well as the friends and fans of their work who have helped support them. Their office is located at 1901 Jefferson Ave., Suite 110. For more information, visit their Website at