Your upcoming film The Undead - in a few words, what's it
going to be about?
fat awesomeness full of zombies and ladies!
How did you get involved with the project in the first place, and
what draws a filmmaker from the UK to Massachusetts to shoot a zombie
I got involved when a very charming young
man called Mark Anthony Del Negro [Mark
Anthony Del Negro interview - click here] sent
me a script called The Heir. I read it, loved it and offered my services
not knowing that this was the plan all along. A wonderful actress (Miss
Suzi Lorraine [Suzi
Lorraine interview - click here]) who worked with me on my first feature
(Three's a Shroud)
had very kindly suggested me to direct. Well, it turns out that there was
another film Mark had in mind that he could get done a lot cheaper and
would be a hell of a lot of fun to shoot. This one was The Undead, again
it was sent to me and again I really liked it. Mark seems to be on the
same wave length so I leapt at the chance to direct this film.
With The Undead being a zombie
movie - a genre at all dear to you, and what will set your film apart from
the usual genre fare?
like zombies, they're like the punk rockers of the horror creature world.
They're pure anarchy and are very good for social commentary.
Not only do they resemble the mass conformity of the ever increasing
consumer culture and mirror our own fears of becoming "one of the
masses" but are also good ways of showing how people react in
situations once the facade of "society" has been stripped away.
This is where Romero really did the genre justice, it wasn't about
the zombies, it was about how people reacted to the situations that they
Do talk about your writer/producer
Mark Anthony Del Negro [Mark
Anthony Del Negro interview - click here] for a bit, and what has
your collaboration been like so far?
He's a complete
tyrant... hahaha, only joking. Mark's got his head on in a serious way. Not
only is he creative enough to come up with cool scripts but he's got a
real business mind on him. He's very open for ideas and I've been working
closely with him on zombie designs (the bear being a favourite of mine) so
we can give this film a our own stamp rather than just another zombie
What can you tell us
about the intended look and feel of The Undead?
am very much influenced by Tobe Hooper and Rob Zombie in terms of style
and cuts. I'm obsessed with extreme close ups and fast cuts, so when you
hold for longer cuts it has more impact. I love the grainy gritty style of
films like The Devil's Rejects and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, so I'm
intending for a very raw film, very in your face.
zombie film without quite some blood and guts - so what can you tell us
about the intended gore effects in The Undead, and is there
a line you refuse to cross (for other than budgetary reasons)?
zombies films I think you either have to be very selective about gore so
when it shows it has real impact, or go for all out spatterfest. For this
one, as it is more people driven the gore will be used sparingly
throughout the script, but when it does happen it'll be graphic. The
zombies themselves will have a much more infected look than
undead. That way we can have a more stylized look without having
to worry about not having Hollywood budgets.
far as I know, The Undead will be starring genre fave (and
good friend of this site) Suzi Lorraine [Suzi
Lorraine interview - click here], with whom you've worked before
on several occasions. So why her, and what are your collaborations with
her usually like?
is amazing, plain and simple. She's diverse, easy to work with, a bloody
good actor and I cast her in every film I can. Case in point, my latest
feature Serial Kaller. Suzi played a TV call-in girl. The role was was a
bitchy character but both Suzi and myself thought that most of the
characters were bitchy, so to make her character stand out more she talked to
me about going for a slightly comedic element. Well, once her scenes
were shot, EVERYONE decided that she should have had more. Suzi (and her
fellow actor Jessica Ann Bonner) brought a new angle to the film and gave
it some much needed comic relief.
What can you tell us about the rest of
your cast yet, and why exactly these people?
are some cast I have not worked with that Mark has chosen, he
has a good eye for talent so I have complete faith in his decisions.
There are others that I have worked with (Suzi Lorraine being one).
worked with an
actress called Ashleigh Lawrence on Serial Kaller
(who is also attached to
this project). Why her? She blew me away in her death scene, absolutely blew
me away. I've shot a lot of people dying but no one has ever made me feel
guilty about it. For someone to pull that off on camera in a room full of
people, I had to get her involved.
the schedule, when will the film go into production, and any idea when
it'll be out yet?
are planning on shooting October this year. Mark wanted it shot in the autumn as
with the coming of winter - it's almost like sunshine and hope is dying so
it mirrors the end of humanity via this infectious outbreak. Also the
colour pallet would be amazing.
Any future projects beyond The Undead?
as mentioned I am attached to The Heir, which last I heard had Robert
Englund himself showing interest [Robert
Englund bio - click here]. I have been offered a vampire film from
Razor Blade Smile star Eileen Daly, there's hoodie horrors and zombie
films and all kinds of cool stuff coming up.
got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
is a long answer haha. About five years ago a friend of mine (who made
films) got sick of me pestering her to make films and dared me to write
one. So I did. When she read it she was amazed that it was actually
quite good, and so was another friend of mine who had just decided to
start doing short films of his own. He asked me to join him and we did
our first short Ouija. Now at this time the best way to
explain how little I knew about film making is by relaying this conversation with
another girl I knew who made films called Sarah.
Sarah - "Right, Dan, we're shooting on location so first thing we
have to know is do they have any lights."
Me - "Of course they have lights, they live in a house."
the mishmash that was my first attempt I was hooked. I started making my
own micro horror films, greatly inspired by the Fewdio Company
(my films can be seen here: www.youtube.com/brandbcorporation).
I got around enough to get enough money to do my first funded short
about a killer teddy called Bear Scary, this got enough attention to do
my first anthology Three's a Shroud (which I produced, executive
produced and directed sections of). That won two awards and got me
enough attention to do my first full on feature Serial Kaller. As a
friend of mine once said "you can go to uni and learn to make films
or you can make a film", it's all one big learning curve and if you
keep the good people around you, treat everyone with respect and have
true passion you'd be surprised what you can do.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to The Undead?
see above, haha. I really have been experimenting with film. All my micro
horrors are nice little ideas, most of them massively influenced by
my favorite films. I started off doing everything and then
started to delegate duties to other people so that I
had at least a basic understanding of how everything worked. I can tell
you you'll learn a lot more by not having the right equipment and people
on board than having everything going perfectly. The screw ups have given
me more confidence than the things that have gone right. Me standing there
explaining to someone who obviously knew shit all about horror on how to
shoot a scene made me so much more confident in myself as it backed up the
fact that I KNEW what I wanted and could explain it. If the person knew
what they were doing I wouldn't have had the self clarification. Now I'm
not saying fill your crew with idiots, but learn from every mistake.
So far, most of
your movies seem to be of the horror-variety - a genre at all dear to you,
and why (not)?
Horror is the
most beautiful genre because it's just so dam diverse. If a comedy's not
funny it failed. If a thriller's not tense, it failed. Horror can be
tense, funny, silly, creepy, scary, political. People think that's a cop
out or an excuse to make non-scary films and call them horror, but it's
what has kept the genre so strong and constantly evolving.
How would you describe yourself as a
not sure I'm qualified enough to answer that haha. Actors and crew that
I've worked with always seem to get a lot out of the experience so
I can only assume I'm good at it it at some level. I'm passionate about
what I do, I love collaborating, I love creating. I think film is an
ever-evolving art form that never ceases to impress me. It can change your
life, make sense of a senseless world and bring people together.
It's such an effective medium that when I'm swimming in a local swimming
pool (in East London) if it's empty I still get scared that there's a
shark behind me thanks to watching Jaws. A moving camera just off shore
put a life long fear into me, Jesus that's powerful. Not sure if
that really answers your question but hopefully it's a little insightful
into my director brain.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
love, love Rob Zombie. I think he's the best horror director out there at
the moment. He takes risks and creates wonderful worlds of dark crazy
action. I'm a fan of Jake West, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven and a score of
other directors that are toom many to list. There are so many creative people
out there making films and some scenes from films you are just "wow,
that scene was amazing." I massively rate,
look past the extreme nature and it's a bloody well put together dark political satire,
and at the same time Killer Klowns from Outer Space is my all time favorite film.
I like lots of things for different reasons and as a director (though I
always sound stupid saying stuff like that) it's my goal to put all these together into
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
(Stephen Chiodo) - best film ever, the creatures
are amazing, the kills inventive and the whole tone just such a
wonderfully bizarre pastiche on alien invasion films.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper) - the original and the
best, brutal unforgiving. Changed the face of horror and is
still one of the most influential film to the genre ever.
of 1000 Corpses (Rob Zombie) - his best and not yet beaten head fuck, roller
coaster of colour, kills and bizarre characters. This to me is
chainsaw massacre pinball. Such a rich source of visual material and
styles, just genius.
The Blob (Chuck Russel) - The Blob was made
before CGI, can you imagine if they tried to remake this, all those
lovely colours and textured sinew of the creature would be lost, and the
gore was amazing in this film.
(aka The Expelled) (Johannes Roberts) - this film made me fall in love
with hoodie horrors. I met the director and he said this was his answer
to Assault on Precinct 13. With strong creepy, malevolent yet
still competently human antagonists this film mixes beautiful
cinematography, a Goblin-esque score and a the open wilderness of an
nearly emptied school to create something truly terrifying.
... and of course, films you really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
I really don't like disaster movies... don't know
why, they just aggravate the hell out of me. Apart from that, not a fan of
period dramas, general rom coms (especially by the way they're referred to
as that). I mean all film is great to a certain extent. Making a film is a
bloody hard thing to do and even though I may have the subject matter or
intentions behind the studio that did it, a lot of people put their heart
and sole into that film so can't really degrade them to much.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
These are the best ways to keep up with my
films and films goings on
Hopefully there will be loads more to come!
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
why the hell can't you get root beer in England? I mean you can in
specialist shops but not from normal shops. That's some bullshit right
Thanks for the interview!