Your movie Zombie Hood
- in a few words, what is it about?
about how people would manage without the internet ... but seriously, it's
really about the fact that people would be the main danger in a zombie
epidemic, not the undead.
Basic question, why
a zombie movie, is that a genre you're at all fond of? And with all the
zombie movies hitting the big and small screen lately, what do you think
makes your film stick out of the crowd?
grew up with Hammer horror films and when I first saw
Plague of the
Zombies, it stuck out from the other types of creature features being
shown at the time. I then became a fan of zombie flicks with George Romero
making a huge impact on my viewing pleasure. For me, a good zombie film
isn't about the blood, gore and horror, it's more to do with the impending
doom and there being very little chance of a happy ending.
What were your
inspirations when writing Zombie
Hood? And do talk about your co-creator Pedram Karimfazli for a
inspirations were quite simply my love of the genre. With Pedram I had the
perfect person to bounce ideas off and although we penned most of the film
together, we ended up changing it about 50 times in total.
What can you tell us about your directorial
approach to your story at hand?
a director's point of view, I'm a strong believer that actors shouldn't
require too much direction as they should already be able to act. I like
to plant a seed, give them the character's back story and personality and
then let them be that person in the film. I ask them, "What would
your character do in this situation" and will often alter the script
based on what they feel their character would do or say. So, although the
start and end of a scene will remain the same, the middle can be
dramatically altered by the actors.
Despite its rather
gloomy subject matter, Zombie
Hood does have its spots of comedy - so what can you tell us about
the movie's brand of humour, and do you consider yourself at all a
humourous guy in your private life?
see the funny side of just about everything and I guess I tried to bring
some of that into the film. Using Rik's character, I feel that we managed
to inject just enough humour without turning the film into a comedy.
Of course, no zombie
film without some blood and guts - so do talk about Zombie
Hood's gore scenes for a
bit, and was there ever any line you refused to cross?
me, good horror isn't about what you see; it's what you don't see that
creates the terror. However zombie films require a degree of gore to
please the fan base so we put in as much as we could. Jayne Hyman led the
effects team and done a great job with the zombies, something that helped
raise the production value of the film. I won't include gore for gore's
sake and prefer shock tactics to slasher type filming. The imagination is
a wonderful thing, so I feel it's important to allow the audience to
imagine what's happening some of the time.
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
actually found it fairly easy casting Zombie
Hood as I knew what I wanted
and although we made a couple of early changes, I was really happy with
the final cast line up. Dermott's role was re-cast with Edward Nudd after the first shoot
though, as I felt the original actor wasn't quite right and didn't have
the rapport with Tom Murton's Sam. Jade Blocksidge (Candi) auditioned for a minor role, as did
Alexandra Lyon (Kelly);
however both impressed and were offered much bigger parts in the film. We
had to make a few script changes due to weather conditions and
unavailability, so some characters were written into certain scenes and
removed from others.
can you tell us about the actual shoot, and the on-set atmosphere?
said it was like being with a family on set, feeding on donuts to keep
energy levels up and simply enjoying it. Even some of the very early
starts in cold wet conditions didn't dampen the atmosphere. We encountered
problem after problem, especially with the ever changing weather
conditions, but met them all head in and got through it.
few words about audience and critical reception of Zombie
Hood so far?
Hood being a very low budget film, and this shows in places, I
expected some fairly negative reviews having seen what had been said about
other movies with a similar budget, so the reaction we've had so far has
been truly amazing. After it was chosen to be shown at the UK Zombie Film
Festival, I actually didn't go into the theatre as it was being watched by
hard gore genre fans. If it bombed, I didn't really want to be on a downer
for the rest of the day, but half way through the film, the producer came
out and told me to come in as the reaction was amazing. People were
laughing, cheering and really enjoying the film. The cast members who
attended the event were being asked for autographs and pictures, so we all
got quite a buzz, which for the cast and crew, was well deserved for all
of the hard work they put into the film.
You are presently in pre-production
on a sequel for Zombie Hood,
right? So what can you tell us about that one, and any other future
projects you'd like to share?
two weeks away from filming the first scene for Zurvival, a TV show that
basically starts one year after the initial zombie infection takes hold.
Although I wrote scene 1 of episode 1, the first 6 episodes are being put
together by an amazing script writing team who have really captured the
mood of what I want to film and direct. Zurvival follows Candi, the only
survivor from Zombie
Hood, but her character has developed into more of a
Robin Hood-type persona with an evil streak. The whole concept actually
takes the legend of
Robin Hood, rather fitting as it’s being shot in
Nottingham, and moves it into more of a modern day surrounding. I can’t
give too much away at the moment, but it’ll be dark, it’ll have
zombies and a developing storyline with a few twists and characters that
will hopefully pull in an avid audience.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
started making short films when I was 14 years old, on an old Super8 cine
camera. Basically I was self-taught, learning the art through going out
and filming on a daily basis, learning about shot types, lenses and how
films piece together in an edit. I now teach filmmaking to college
students, but I’m still learning something new every day.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Zombie Hood?
to Zombie Hood I had made lots of short films, done a fair bit of corporate
work, made a few documentaries and spent a lot of time editing other
would you describe yourself as a director?
like to see everything on set, but ideally want to spend the majority of
my time with the actors. For Zurvival, we’ve built a fairly strong team
with everyone taking responsibility for their roles, which allows me to
trust in their ability. I still have the final say, but I believe that
trust is very important and as long as everyone is on the same page, the
end product should be my vision.
who inspire you?
a big fan of Romero, Tarantino and the Coen Brothers.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
original Dawn of the
Dead, Spartacus, the original Get Carter and Harry
and of course, films you really deplore?
hate ‘found footage’ films! The Blair Witch Project and anything shot
like that turns me off big time.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
the moment, I’m all over Zurvival and spending a fair bit of time
teaching film. I’m also in the process of building my own studio for
prosthetic and SFX work as I’m a big fan of practical effects as opposed
to CGI. The Zurvival website is located at
and we also have a Facebook page for Zurvival although it’s still under
the original name of ‘Survival’. The script writing team changed the
name to allow the addition of a Z for zombie.
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
that’s me done. J
for the interview!