FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG Interview With Guy Pigden Director Of I Survived A Zombie Holocaust
By James Whittington, Saturday 23rd August 2014
Zombies are in short supply this FrightFest, luckily one movie, I Survived A Zombie Holocaust has enough of the shambling dead to fill a number of movies.
We've been lucky enough to chat to the director of this blood-splattered shocker, Guy Pigden.
HC: Is it true that I Survived A Zombie Holocaust is your first full length feature?
GP: That is true, in the past I've done a few low budget shorts and a lot of Web content. I've written for other producers and tried to get few TV shows off the ground, but this is my first feature.
HC: Where did the idea for the movie come from?
GP: The idea came from two things. Obviously I'm a huge fan of zombie films since I started playing the Resident Evil games. And at 19 I was writing my first Zombie script, which had a much different concept (Demons possessing dead bodies to work for the government). But within this other film the characters stumbled across a director and his assistant filming a Zombie film as real Zombies attacked them. And it was just one scene, but that idea stayed with me. A few years later I was watching television late at night and came across a straight to DVD film I think starring Casper Van Dien, which had New Zealand subbing for America. There where all these New Zealand actors pretending to be American, and all these locations that to me where obviously not America. They were probably shooting in NZ to save money, but that whole concept was really interesting and funny to me. So I kind of expanded out those two ideas and combined them to become the first treatment for ISAZH.
HC: Did you find it difficult to balance the horror and comedy elements?
GP: Yes absolutely. Tone is always very difficult, because if things are too funny there's no sense of jeopardy and you stop caring about the characters, but if they're too serious, you lose that sense of fun. I also have kind of a weird sense of humour where I enjoy slapstick as much as I do satire. So in the edit it was a real juggling act trying to walk the finest of fine lines between the two. I'm still not sure we got it quite right.
HC: Did you base any of the outrageous characters on people you’ve met during your time on film sets?
GP: The characters are more based on film making folklore than anyone specific. But certainly behind the scenes is often just as fascinating as anything going on in front of the camera. In a way you have to be somewhat larger than life as an actor, that's why people want to watch you onscreen.
HC: How did you go about casting the film and did you already have people in mind?
GP: Well I wrote the two leads Wes and Susan with Harley and Jocelyn in mind, as I'd worked with them a lot over the years and knew what they were capable of. But the other cast were just people that auditioned and blew me away. Some are from Dunedin where we shot the film, and I also travelled to Auckland (New Zealand's largest city) for auditions. We didn't have a casting agent so I was auditioning everyone personally which was a great experience because you could see what people were capable of first hand. I was very lucky to assemble the cast I did. I'm very proud of them all.
HC: Did you have much of a budget to work with?
GP: Well the short answer to that is is no. We had the most modest of budgets and people say that you should work to your budget, which is true. But we definitely broke this rule. Every day was a real battle just fighting against our own limitations. And this battle continued in post production and subsequently it took us a long time to complete the film. And a lot of those constraints would have been alleviated if we'd had a little more money to solve problems.
HC: Did you use much CGI in this movie?
GP: Yes, there was quite a lot of VFX work in the film although I hope it's not too obvious, I initially wanted to have everything done through practical effects in the film. Unfortunately a lot of those practical effects didn't work exactly as we wanted, which meant they had to be added to in post.
HC: If you were to do it all again what would you change second time around?
GP: Hmmm, that's a good question. I'm assuming this would be under the exact same circumstances. I think I would trust my instincts more, if I felt something going pear shaped I wouldn't be so quick to trust other people's assurances that it would be alright. But I think mainly I'd have a more well thought out post production workflow.
HC: So are you a big fan of the zombie genre and if so do you have a favourite?
GP: Yes I'm a huge fan of the Zombie genre. It's very difficult to pick just one. Of course Shaun Of The Dead has really set the bar high. I of course have a soft spot for Braindead which is fantastic. But I think if I had to pick a film that is not quite so obvious it would be Return Of The Living Dead. Way ahead of it's time and I was really trying to capture some of that same feel in ISAZH.
HC: Are you nervous the film is showing at FrightFest?
GP: No I don't think so. I mean I really hope people enjoy the film and respond positively to it of course. But I started my career in London working as a runner at 19. And I used to go to Leicester Square to catch films with my friends and so to have my first film screening there is just a wonderful honour. I'm just sad I can't be there in person. But it's really fantastic.
HC: Zombies, which are best: walkers or runners?
GP: Well that's a tough question. The problem with runners is they are so dangerous there's likely no hope for the living in the long run. And hope is important. Walkers on the other hand are sometimes so slow it's comical and often begs the question, why not just casually walk around them? And that does deflate the tension. So I think The Walking Dead have got it just right, their Zombies are not so slow as to be easy to always avoid, but not so quick that us humans have no hope at all.
HC: So, what are you working on at the moment?
GP: Well I have a couple of things in the works. But I've just completed filming on my second feature called 'Older' which is actually a drama comedy, similar to early Woody Allen stuff like Annie Hall and Manhattan, you can see a trailer and find more details at www.oldermovie.com
HC: Guy Pigden, thank you very much.
GP: Thank you.
MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Ruth Platt, director of The Lesson
Posted on Wednesday 6th December 2017
On the eve of Horror Channel's network premiere screening of The Lesson, director Ruth Platt talks about the decision to quit RADA, why her film isn't 'torture porn' and what the future holds.
The Lesson received its World Premiere at FrightFest. How did you react when it was chosen? And what was the experience like?
RP: I was really excited when I found out we'd been picked - we got a call from the team, and they were passionate about the film, and they are such a knowledgable and experienced small team, Greg, Paul, Alan and Ian, and it meant so much. Especially when the making of it had been such an arduous and difficult process! I had no idea how people would react to the film - it was su...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with John Shackleton director of Panic Button
Posted on Wednesday 15th November 2017
As social media horror feature Panic Button gets a remastered DVD and Download release, writer and producer John Shackleton reflects on the film's inspirational journey.
To start at the beginning, what was the genesis or the seed of the idea for Panic Button?
JS: The model of how to make a film actually came before the concept. I'd made a short film with a group of trainees using a bunch of self-imposed restrictions for practicalities sake, to make sure we completed and delivered within the three-week timeframe of the training scheme, who were my employers. The rules were quite simple - no more than five minutes' walk from the office (we couldn't afford a van), no dialogue (we did...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Damien Leone director of Terrifier
Posted on Saturday 28th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Terrifier at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event today, director Damien Leone talks about the 'Art' of extreme clowning, his debt to Tom Savini and a terrifying Halloween experience...
Art, The Clown initially appeared in your 2008 short The 9th Circle, then the 2011 award-winning short Terrifier and in your first feature All Hallow's Eve. What made you decide to give him a fourth outing?
DL: Up until this point I never felt like I fully showcased Art's potential. I believe between the short films and All Hallows' Eve, there only exists about 20 minutes of Art the Clown screen time. For a character who's done so little, he seems to really resonate with horr...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Mathieu Turi director of Hostile
Posted on Wednesday 25th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his debut feature Hostile at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Mathieu Turi shares his admiration for Tarantino, describes the challenges of filming in three continents and reveals his 'magic hour'.
You were born in Cannes so you grew up with film all around? When did you know for sure you wanted to direct?
MT: I think it's always been there. As a child, I used to steal my dad's VHS camera to make mini-movies. They were basically all about my Jurassic Park toys eating my dog or invading the garden. Later, I did more elaborate short films with friends, instead of studying. Then, I remember watching Braveheart and the making of the ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Marko Makilaakso director of It Came From The Desert
Posted on Tuesday 17th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film It Came From The Desert at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Marko Makilaakso shares his admiration for Roger Corman, love of B-Movies, spoofing and overcoming homeland obstacles.
It Came From The Desert is inspired by Cinemaware's cult 1980s video game, which in turn was motivated by the giant creature feature craze infesting 1950s Hollywood. What was the main inspiration for you?
MM: There's so many movies and makers which inspired ICFTD, but the main inspiration was exactly that; creature feature infested 1950s Hollywood films, and the legendary Cinemaware Desert games and creature features and action comedies I grew up with in the 19...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Can Evrenol director of Housewife
Posted on Thursday 12th October 2017
Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Housewife at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Can Evrenol tells us why film is a 'pervert's art' shares his feelings for Fulci and reveals his contribution to Horror anthology, The Field Guide To Evil.
Was it important to make your follow-up film to Baskin in the English language?
CE: I wanted to make the film available for a wider audience and to test myself with a different language movie. I thought it was a fun thing to do.
How do you describe Housewife? What would be your perfect pitch line?
CE: Man, I had this crazy f****d-up dream last night! Do you want to see it?
Like Baskin, Housewife shares man...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Dominic Bridges, director of Freehold
Posted on Wednesday 4th October 2017
One of the stand out movies from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was the psychological chiller, Freehold. Dark and at times truly unnerving, the film caused quite a stir and will be released onto DVD on October 9th. Here the film's director Dominic Bridges talking about this superb debut.
HC: Where did the idea for Freehold come from?
DB: Based on personal experience my wife and I suffered a miscarriage whilst trying to buy a house in London whilst the Estate Agents had us bidding against ourselves... I reacted badly which was embarrassing to my wife and myself it all felt like too much fighting for a roof over our heads just tainted the whole of London for us and we moved also the realisation...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Damien Power, director of Killing Ground
Posted on Monday 25th September 2017
One of the best from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was a superior thriller, Killing Ground. This tension packed movie looked incredible on the big screen so we decided to chat to its director, Damien Power.
HC: Did Killing Ground take a long time to write and did it change as you progressed?
DP: It took eleven years from the germ of the idea to stepping onto location to start shooting. Luckily I wasn't working on it full time! Once we had a draft we were happy with, it took five years to put the financing jigsaw together. It's a long journey! The biggest change was that for a number of years it didn't really have a third act. It ended very abruptly at the moment of maximum jeopardy. Fort...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Michael Boucherie writer and director of Where the Skin Lies
Posted on Monday 28th August 2017
More new talent seemed to be around at Horror Channel FrightFest this year and one of the stand out movies for me was Where The Skin Lies from Michael Boucherie. Here he chats about this emotional movie.
HC: Did you know from a young age you wanted to be in the film-making business?
MB: Going to the movies with my family is a favourite childhood memory. There was no cinema in our home town, so it always involved a bit of a car trip. Afterwards we'd recount and quote our favourite scenes, for some movies up to this day. My mother also filmed and edited our home movies on Super 8, and she involved me in that. So, on some level I grew up with it. It didn't dawn on me that this was a v...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with legendary actress Barbara Crampton
Posted on Tuesday 15th August 2017
Ahead of her eagerly awaited presence at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017, genre icon, actress and producer Barbara Crampton talks exclusively about her latest film Replace, battling chronic fatigue syndrome and her passion for supporting new talent.
Q: Replace raises questions about beauty, body image and growing older, issues that many feel plague the Hollywood movie industry. What is your view on this subject?
BC: The best movies reflect our inner world, our hopes, our good intentions, trials and our demons. Growing old and the fear of death is endemic to all, not just the movie industry. Just when you begin to figure it out your back aches, your skin starts to wrinkle and you gain weight...SHARE: READ MORE Exclusive interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of See No Evil 2
Posted on Tuesday 4th April 2017
Jen and Sylvia Soska are two of the most exciting creatives around at the moment. Their work is visceral, dynamic, exciting and above all bloody entertaining. We've chatted to these multi-talented Canadians about their work to date in the build up to the UK TV premiere of See No Evil 2 this Friday on Horror.
HC: It's been while since we last chatted and apart from See No Evil 2 what have you both been up to?
SS: It has been a while, but it's really cool that we get to chat again. We hosted a reality horror gameshow from Matador, GSN, and Blumhouse called Hellevator that was like Saw: The Gameshow!. We had a blast making it. I really can't even believe that was a job a person could have. We're st...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with 'Life' star Rebecca Ferguson
Posted on Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Previously starring opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Emily Blunt in Girl on the Train, Ferguson steps out as the lead, standing firmly in front of her co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds in the Horror/Sci-Fi spectacle Life, which opens in cinemas across the UK this Friday.
Starring as Dr. Miranda North, Ferguson plays the last astronaut on-board an International Space Station which has recently caught a space probe containing the first sign of extra-terrestrial life. Studying the life form quickly turns from fascinating to a complete catastrophe, as the organism rapidly grows strength and intelligence - with the desperation to prey upon those within its reach.
We spoke with Fergus...SHARE: READ MORE PICK OF THE WEEK
Friday 22nd December
Saturday 16th December
Thursday 14th December