DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS! is the world's first ever serial-killer superhero rock'n'roll zombie road movie romance. It's loaded with practically everything we ever wanted to see in a movie and then some-- for no other reason than we wanted it that way. It's like a high-octane hypodermic in yer eyeball; a single nutshell just ain't big enough...
Q: How did you and director, Caleb Emerson, meet? What made you become a producer?
Caleb was like twelve when we met. I was dating his sister and he and I hit it off like gangbusters; we were both into the same stuff... horror movies, heavy metal, skulls that still have eyeballs in 'em... stupid stuff, you know, fun stuff. The stuff that dreams are made of. Our passions for all this great junk just grew and festered and fed on each other over the years. So we grew up together, I married his beautiful sister and I guess ultimately we never REALLY grew up.
What made me become a producer? I guess I always knew I wanted to make movies... it all started with stop-action Super8 films that I made as a kid. I just got sidetracked for a number of years doing other things as a teen and well into my twenties.
Q: The character of Red Toole appeared in a few shorts before this movie. Tell us a bit about those...
Caleb went to RISD to study film. He didn't get sidetracked at all. While in school he met Tim Gerstmar (Red Toole) and Pippi Zornoza (Violet Toole) and he made a series of short films starring them that became known as The Red's Breakfast Trilogy. Out of these films came the endearing characters of Red and Violet Toole, a romantic yet zany husband and wife serial-killing duo. I co-wrote the third film with Caleb. It was basically a 27 minute version of DIE YOU ZOMBIE BASTARDS!. When Caleb was done with school, we spent the next two years writing the screenplay for the feature length version and, well, you know what happened after that.
Q: The movie reminds me of a Troma movie, only entertaining. What is the Troma connection?
Yes, well, Lloyd Kaufman is certainly a monster hero of ours. Actually, Red's Breakfast 2 was in the first ever Tromadance Film Festival and was featured on the Best of Tromadance, volume 1 DVD. The Troma connection goes deeper than that, though. Caleb met and recruited much of our core cast and crew while he was working on Citizen Toxie in 1999. Director of Photography Jarred Alterman, (Baron Nefarious) Geoff Mosher, (Officer Konash) Joe James and many other Zombastic mainstays came through the Troma connection. Most recently Caleb spent six weeks in Buffalo serving as First Assistant Director to Lloyd on Troma's Poultrygeist.
Q: Who is your favorite character and why?
Seriously, I love every character in this movie. If I had to pick? The late, great rockabilly legend Hasil Adkins, just being himself, is absolutely amazing. Amazing on so many levels. He was the real deal, one of a kind. There's nobody anywhere, nobody in any movie who is, was, or ever will be Hasil Adkins. It was a thrill and an honor to actually meet him, spend a day with him and have him forever be a part of our movie. I feel very lucky.
Q: Who is your least favorite character and why?
Again, I love every character in this movie. Each one serves a purpose, each one entertains me. Caleb and I created them all and so many terrific people brought them to life in earnest. They each took our ideas, mixed them with their own bodily fluids and brought those ideas to life. It sounds sappy, sure, but it's like asking which kid of yours you like the least. These characters and the people who portray them are all part of the Zombastic family and we love them all. Every one. Amen. Baby Jesus in the manger be praised.
Q: How did you go about casting the movie?
We posted a lot of casting calls on the web, and that led to a few people, but by and large we enlisted friends and friends of friends. As I just so sappily pointed out, I love the way the casting turned out. We used very few "real" acting-types. And I think the film is stronger because of it. I'd much rather have people in front of the camera that are psyched, that think this is the coolest thing, that maybe even never thought they'd actually be in a movie, but then here they are! That kind of genuine enthusiasm shows through and over the 97 minutes of DYZB! there are so many people with so much infectious energy accumulating onscreen that it's hard for the viewer to not get carried along, regardless of other limitations that the film might have. That's WAY better than hiring actor-types who are just wishing that they were in a better movie. You can see THAT on film, too. I think you can see that in a lot of B movies and that's when the B slips from Beguiling to Boring. And that's a crying shame.
Q: How about the music?
While we were still in production we ran a contest on our website, looking for a rock'n'roll theme song for the movie. It had to have "Die You Zombie Bastards!" as the chorus and sound like something that Caleb and I would be into. It'd be hard to write a bad song with that as the chorus, right? Well, word got around and it worked great. We ended up with about a dozen theme songs... so many great ones that of course we couldn't pick just one. As is always the case in the Zombastic Universe, too much isn't nearly enough. So we ended up with no less than SEVEN different theme songs on the soundtrack... and on the soundtrack album! What other movie can say that? Tons of great bands came out of the woodwork to be on the soundtrack. Necro-Tone and Wonderdrug Records teamed up and did a wonderful job putting the soundtrack CD together. It came out this past October and you can purchase the soundtrack CD for cheap money on our website.
Q: Why are there so many penises in the movie?
Generally, there are very few movies that have any penises at all in them. That seems very wrong. And penises are so funny.
Q: Is there really going to be a sequel?
There's a dynamite script finished, just waiting. We've got it "shelved" [Haig does the finger-wagging quotation gesture] for now.
Q: "Shelved"? Will it ever get made?
It's impossible to say when we'll make it. Caleb and I have both said that we WANT to do it and do it TOGETHER. But for this to happen everything would have to be JUST RIGHT.
Q: What can you tell me about the sequel?
Well, like DYZB! it takes a ton of recognizable elements and throws them together in ways that you've never seen them before. There are some unexpected twists that manage to make the sequel not re-tread the same ground as the original, not be redundant. That's the first real hurdle for any sequel. DYZB!2 has a lot of DYZB!s beloved minor characters but now in major roles, which gets really interesting. So fun. As a production, it'd be a much bigger undertaking... much like DYZB! it was written with no budgetary limitations in mind so it's scope is very VERY grandiose. A huge portion of the sequel takes place at sea, which is ridiculously impractical for any production, let alone a low-budget indie. That near-suicidal complication makes me laugh like hell-I would love to see us take on the challenge of shooting at sea. The funny part is, I know we could do it. Now, nobody ASKED us to make DYZB!-we simply HAD to do it and we did it the only way we knew how; by the seat of our pants. For the sequel to get made, there will need to be some evidence of demand AND some stable finances in place.
Q: How can people order this movie, if they dare?
Well, it's not yet available through a mass-market distributor. We've been selling some of our advance screener DVDs off our website, but we keep selling out. If you visit our website and it's sold out, just email us from the site and we'll put you on the Zombastic Army Email List. You'll get updated when the DVD is available again, if there's a screening somewhere, whatever news we have to share. Go to the site and at least check out the trailer. Viva Zombastica!