LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Exclusive Interview With Dead Snow Director Tommy Wirkola
By James Whittington, Sunday 30th August 2009 Tommy Wirkola hails from Norway and is a multi talented writer, producer and director. His second full feature, Dead Snow is playing at this years FrightFest celebration and is coming to DVD on August 31st so we decided to have a quick chat to him about blood, guts and Zombie Nazis. ZH: How did you get started in the movie industry? TW: I made a couple of Internet shorts while still studying film in Australia. They became really popular, so when I finished school I invited a lot of my fellow students up to the north of Norway to shoot the movie version of the shorts. The movie was called Kill Buljo: The Movie, and is a spoof on the Kill Bill - films, as well as tons of other American films I loved growing up. ZH: Have you always been a fan of the horror movie genre? TW: Yes, always...Even more when I was younger. I loved the “Nightmare on Elm Street”-films, the “Friday the 13th” films, and all the Spielberg productions like “Gremlins” and Poltergeist”. Needless to say, the “Evil Dead”-movies also had a special place in my heart. As I got older I started valuing the more serious horror movies, like The Omen and The Exorcist. In addition I also loved the Hammer-productions from UK. ZH: Do you have a favourite director? TW: If I were to pick ONE, I guess I have to say Spielberg, especially from his early days, where he had one goal and one goal only; to entertain the crap out of you. ZH: Where did the idea for Dead Snow come from? Were you inspired by other nazi zombie movies such as Shockwaves, Zombie Lake and Oasis Of The Zombies? TW: Not very much, no. I knew of Shockwaves and Zombie Lake, but had only seen bits of them. So the idea for Dead Snow came, very shortly told, like this; 1. We wanted to make the first zombie-movie in Scandinavia. 2. What else can we do with the zombies? What can we do to make them more evil? Well, considering the strong WW2 history we have in the north, why not make them Nazi-zombies!? 3. We wanted bring something completely fresh to the genre, so we decided to shoot it in the mountains in the north of Norway...in snow.. ZH: Did it take long to write? TW: The first draft only took about a month and a half. We had the story pretty well organized in our heads before we sat down and got in on paper. ZH: Was it difficult to pitch to studios? TW: Well...first...there are no studios in Norway. The closest you come to that, is Norsk Filminnstitutt, who is a governmental funding “studio”. They provide you with 50% of the budget, and you have to come up with the rest. However, our application was rejected (apparently a Nazi-zombie movie does not come on top of their pile), so we funded the whole movie privately. Luckily, all the investors made their money back. ZH: The cast give very credible performances, even when the movie is at its most outlandish. How did you stop them from going over-the-top with their acting? TW: Well..we talked a lot about the fact that we did not want to go too far in to comedy..that it did not tip over into spoof-area. So it was a matter of playing it “straight”, no matter how ludicrous the sequence was. The idea was that the action and the situation was comical and extreme, but never the acting. Besides, I had all cast members to watch the Evil Dead-movies first, to see how it’s done. ZH: There’s a wonderful homage to The Evil Dead when a couple of characters find a shed with tools. Was that fun to do? TW: Yes...very fun. It’s funny...when I read the reviews, some call that scene a rip-off, others a tribute. I have never hidden the fact that this movie is inspired mainly by Evil Dead 2 and Braindead, so...it was natural to do something like that. ZH: Am I right in thinking you shot the whole movie on location? If so, was it a tough shoot? TW: We did the first 10 days INT in something that resembled a studio, the rest was shot on location. We lived in the middle of nowhere in an abandoned school, and had to drive a car for 10 minutes, then a snowmobile for 10 minutes to get on set. It was crazy. The weather kept screwing us over, and we had to start several days of digging out props and equipment that had been snowed down during the night. ZH: There is so much blood on show here did you ever consider toning the gore down? TW: No. Never. If anything, I would have wanted more. This is a movie where the violence is so cartoony, that it never would have offended somebody...hopefully. ZH: Would you consider making a sequel at all? TW: Yes. We have talked about a sequel. Bigger, funnier and bloodier! ZH: What project are you working on at the moment? TW: I am now working on a project called Hansel And Gretel: Witch-Hunters. This is for Paramount, with Gary Sanchez Productions producing. I am currently working on the 2nd draft. Basically it picks up the fairy-tale 15 years later, and Hansel and Gretel have grown up to be bounty-hunters for witches. Would say it’s an action/adventure/horror, with a Sam Raimi edge to it. ZH: Tommy Wirkola, thank you very much TW: Thank you.
MORE INTERVIEWS Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020
Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.
It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?
JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.
When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...
You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?
AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Simeon Halligan, director of Habit
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Simeon Halligan is one of the busiest people working in the industry today. Writer, director, producer, director of celebrated film festival Grimmfest, in fact the list goes on.
His latest film is the neon tinged, blood-splattered masterpiece Habit which is showing on Horror February 14th so we thought we should get the story on how he brought this shocker to the big screen.
HC: When did you first become aware of the book by Stephen McGeagh to which Habit is based?
SH: I read the book a couple of years back and really liked it. A combination of gritty realism and dark fantasy; set within a very recognisable Manchester. There's a juxtaposition in the book; from a kind of soc...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Jackson Stewart, director of Beyond The Gates
Posted on Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Jack Stewart's sublime retro horror Beyond the Gates was recently shown on Horror. Jackson is one of the strongest creatives around at the moment but he took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about this contemporary classic and his future movie plans.
HC: Was there one film that you saw growing up which gave you the idea that you wanted to work in the film industry?
JS: There were definitely a number of them; I think the ones that stick out strongest in my memory were Temple Of Doom, Batman '89, Nightmare On Elm Street 4, Raising Arizona, Back To The Future, Marnie, Army Of Darkness, The Frighteners and Dirty Harry. All of them had a big emotional impact on me. Dirty Har...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with acclaimed author Shaun Hutson
Posted on Friday 20th December 2019
The British horror legend Shaun Hutson is back with Testament, a new novel featuring one of his fans most loved characters, Sean Doyle so we decided to catch up with this talented chap about his acclaimed work.
HC: Was there one author who inspired you to become a writer?
SH: My inspirations were always and still are cinematic if I'm honest. Even when I first started writing my influences and inspirations came from things like Hammer films, from TV series like The Avengers (with Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee) and from old Universal horror films. I read the Pan Books of Horror Stories when I was a kid and I think they were probably the first "literary" influences I ever had. I also read lo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tyler MacIntyre, director of Patchwork
Posted on Thursday 12th December 2019 On the eve of Horror Channel's UK TV premiere of Patchwork on December 14th, director Tyler MacIntyre reflects on body image issues. twisting audience expectations and his admiration for current female genre directors.
HC: Patchwork finally gets its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel. Excited or what?
TM: Relieved actually. It's been a long time coming. The third screening of the film ever happened at FrightFest in Glasgow and since then I've had people asking me when it was going to come out. The UK genre fans are among the most diehard in the world, so I'm very excited to finally have it available for them.
HC: You were in attendance when Patchwork, your directorial feature debut, rece...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with James Moran, writer of Tower Block
Posted on Monday 25th November 2019
Writer James Moran is about to do what few other writers have done in the past, the Horror Channel Triple! He is one of the few creatives who has had three of his movies play on the channel; Cockneys Vs Zombies, Severance and now Tower Block which is playing on November 29th. So, we decided to chat to this talented chap about this superior thriller and the rest of his career.
HC: Your first movie, Severance is a huge favourite with Horror Channel viewers, were you ever tempted to pen a sequel?
JM: Thank you, I'm really glad that people can still discover it with every new screening. Everybody wanted to do a sequel, we actually had several meetings about it. Nothing came of it, they carried on with...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Gary Dauberman, writer and director of Annabelle Comes Home
Posted on Saturday 23rd November 2019
Gary Dauberman has been the scriptwriter for some of the most successful horror movies of the last few years including IT: Parts 1 and 2, Annabelle and The Nun. His latest movie, Annabelle Comes Home which is also his directorial debut, has just been released onto DVD and Blu-ray. We caught up with this talented chap about his career to date.
HC: What was it about the horror genre that grabbed your imagination and made you want to become a writer?
GD: The earliest movie going experience I can remember was my parents taking me to Raiders of the Lost Ark and I was 4 or 5 or something and I had to sleep with them for a week, you know the opening up of The Ark and the face melting, a rea...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
Posted on Friday 1st November 2019
FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.
HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?
CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019
Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.
HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?
CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019
Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...
HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?
PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Lars Klevberg, director of Child's Play (2019)
Posted on Thursday 10th October 2019 It was the remake everyone was against! The interweb was ablaze with negativity but director Lars Klevberg and his team managed to pull off one of the best horror movies of 2019. Here he chats about the smart shocker, Child's Play.
HC: How nervous were you taking on a re-imagining of such a beloved concept and franchise?
LK: I was in fact very nervous the minute I signed on to do the movie. Before that, I worked relentlessly for weeks to get the job, but immediately after getting it my body had a very stressful reaction. I was fully aware of the legacy I was about to re-open so, I didn't sleep one minute that night.
HC: W...SHARE: READ MORE Interviews Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 PICK OF THE WEEK
Sunday 8th March
Thursday 27th February
Thursday 5th March