Below is the next installment of the unpublished interview with the Director of Zombie Abomination - The Italian Zombie Movie. The name of the reporter and his magazine are being withheld for copyright reasons.
REPORTER: Why make an “Italian” zombie movie?
DIRECTOR: This goes back to Halloween in 1975. My and Bruno’s mothers both had simultaneous brainfarts and took us to see “Night of the Living Dead” at the Harbor Theatre that night. We were 9 and 11 years old at the time. We never recovered.
REPORTER: Yes, and back to my original question?
DIRECTOR: Fast forward to a fall day in 1985 that, for whatever reason, I recall with great clarity: Crazy Larry’s had recently moved their video rental store into the back of a local Marathon Station. Having recently rented the then X-Rated “Dawn of the Dead”, Bruno and I were desperate for more zombie mayhem. We rented four videos from Crazy Larry’s that day: “Zombie”, “Night of the Zombies”, “City of the Walking Dead” and (for a change of pace) “Return of the Alien’s Deadly Spawn”. What a gruesome zombie movie marathon we were going to have!
REPORTER: Gosh that all sounds “very exciting” but could you possibly get around to answering my original question please?
DIRECTOR: Oh, of course, sorry for digressing. Anyway, to make a long story short, well, we really enjoyed “Return of the Alien’s Deadly Spawn”… We absolutely HATED the zombie movies! None of them was anything like “Dawn of the Dead” (except for “Night of the Zombies”, which ripped off Goblin’s soundtrack from the film directly). These movies were foreign and laughably dubbed with bad effects and stupid characters and well heck they just made us mad! So mad in fact we thought, ‘We could make movies like these!’ And so we did.
REPORTER: You made movies? I find that particularly hard to believe.
DIRECTOR: At first we tried to parody the ones we’d just rented (no mean feat there) by making short films like “Revenge of the Cripples”; which was somewhat of an underground “hit” for us. We continued making short parodies for while, which was fun but it got old quick. I got out of filmmaking altogether for the next 10 years because film was just too expensive to pursue as a hobby and I didn’t think the lifestyle of a Hollywood filmmaker was what I wanted. I got into music instead. I played in a few bands with Jeremiah, The Colonel and Sprinkles, built a recording studio and wrote music including some theme songs for radio shows. Bruno, meanwhile, joined the Special Forces.
REPORTER: Please tell me you’re done boring our readers with what you did over those ten years?
DIRECTOR: Sorry. I’ll get back on track then. Bruno and I got back on the zombie movie subject sometime in 1998. By then, I was building a digital video studio (financed in part by shooting wedding videos - ugh!) and working on my first music video. I decided to try making a fake preview for “The Italian Zombie Movie” to stick on the end of the video. Sprinkles had been getting into 3D digital effects at the time so I asked him to add a few effects. The preview turned out pretty well so I decided I wanted to try writing a feature length script. To accomplish this, I knew I had to see more Italian zombie films. For the next year or so I tracked down and rented or bought every Italian (and later international) zombie movie I could find and I and watched them all (usually alone – who else would want to watch them?) I took copious notes on each film for later use in my own script development.
REPORTER: My God, does this guy even stop to breathe?
DIRECTOR: Finally, in the late fall of 2001, Bruno, Ruggerro and I shot some “test footage” with the idea that perhaps we’d make another preview. (This “test footage” later became the first scene in the movie.) These shots turned out pretty well, so from around Thanksgiving to Christmas in 2001 I worked in earnest on the script. Bruno was the first to read one of my early drafts and he said he enjoyed it, so I figured I was on the right track. By about the middle of January 2002, the Italian Zombie Movie had a script and was officially about to get started…
REPORTER: Okay, that’s it! Stop right there. Now look at me. Look right at me. Can you read body language? Do I look the least bit interested in anything you’ve been saying so far?
DIRECTOR: Well, no, but I thought maybe you were having stomach cramps or something so I kept talking. I was trying not to embarrass you. This is an interview, right?
REPORTER: An interview? Yes, this is an interview, but bloody hell, that was just the FIRST question! “Why make an “Italian” zombie movie?” I expected a simple answer, something like "we did it for the money", not your entire stinking life story! You’re family must absolutely loathe talking to you! What’s next: An in-depth explanation of your mundane preproduction process?
DIRECTOR: Well, preproduction WAS next, starting with determining the budget. This was the easy part because, well, there was no budget. We didn’t have a portfolio or anything to woo investors with. Pretty much everything we needed I either had to buy myself, schmooze someone in cast or crew into buying, or we’d just have to do without. This wasn’t really as much of an obstacle as you might think because I wrote the movie with this in mind. I wrote all of scenes with the plan that we either already had access to the necessary locations or we’d do some guerilla filmmaking and get in and out quicker than anyone could call the police. We did manage to get thrown out of the local morgue even though we had specific permission to film there. We think this was a political move by the hospital, although an urban legend grew out of the incident: “Our scenes were too gross even for the morgue staff…” We could live with that kind of publicity.
REPORTER: This is the single worst experience of my entire life. I’m going to kill myself right here and now. He’ll never even notice. He'll just keep talking and talking...
DIRECTOR: Anyway, even with no budget we were adamant that we were going to make the most elaborate no-budget film ever. Not some lame “three pimply kids in dirty t-shirts who can’t act shoot fake guns at other kids dressed like zombies in the head for 75 minutes” film. We were going to make an epic zombie film with real characters, exciting locations, a sense of humor, a complex plot and good special effects. We were going to have so many things going at once that on no one would even notice our budget was nonexistent.
REPORTER: Look, I know you probably can’t even hear me through all your self-serving egocentric blathering, and I’m going to kill myself in a moment anyway, but before I do, please, as a final request, could you actually answer just one question for me. Could you do that?
DIRECTOR: Um, sure…
REPORTER: Could you please tell me WHAT ANY OF THIS HAS TO DO WITH ME?
TO BE CONTINUED...
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