A few dozen onlookers in downtown Portland were getting a firsthand look at what it takes to make a zombie movie on Monday afternoon.

The filming of a low-budget zombie comedy called “Night of the Living Deb” began at the corner of India and Newbury streets Monday morning and by early afternoon the crowd had watched several blood-covered zombies stumble into the street and fall flat on the pavement. They also watched a 1970s vintage Cadillac back down Newbury Street several times, at a high speed once or twice. Later the car and the zombies will be paired on film so that it looks like the car hit the zombies.

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Shortly after lunch Monday the crowd watched the Cadillac smash into a 207 Taxi company cab. The Cadillac was going 15 mph, but the cab had its engine and suspension removed so it crumbled on impact. The crowd also got to watch one zombie crushed (or it appeared that way) between the two cars.

Filming began in Coffee by Design near the corner of Newbury Street around 6 a.m., then spilled out onto the street later.

A spectators tent was set up at India and Newbury streets.

Because of the filming, India Street was to be open only to local traffic, between Middle and Federal streets, for most of the day until about 4:30 p.m. Newbury Street between Hampshire and Hancock streets was to be open to local traffic as well.

Police officers were on site Monday morning to direct traffic.

The film is being made by York native Kyle Rankin, who has spent the last decade in Los Angeles making horror, comedy and science fiction films. He is crowd-funding this film, described as a romantic comedy set amid a zombie outbreak. Rankin began filming in Maine last week, in South Portland, but Monday was his first outdoor shoot in view of the public. The film crew will be in Maine until early July, Rankin said.

The movie is being made “on spec,” meaning Rankin doesn’t know yet how or when it will be distributed.