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If anyone should know how to create a good zombie movie, it just may be two brothers who witnessed the production of Sam Raimi’s classic EVIL DEAD first-hand way back when. FANGORIA got exclusive comments and pics from writers/directors Brett and Drew Pierce on their upcoming “zombedy” DEADHEADS.
DEADHEADS follows buddies Mike Kellerman (Michael McKiddy) and Brent Guthrie (Ross Kidder), who find themselves, much to their surprise, undead amidst a zombie outbreak. After Mike discovers an engagement ring in his coat pocket, he enlists Brent to help him search for the long-lost love of his afterlife. “Drew and I had grown up on the set of the original EVIL DEAD, and our father, Bart Pierce, served as the film’s photographic effects artist,” Brett tells Fango. The Pierces shot DEADHEADS in their—and Raimi’s—home state of Michigan, and Brett continues, “We were inspired by Sam Raimi and all these college kids making a movie. It was amazing; they had set up shop in our mother’s house and, in our eyes, were making the equivalent of the movies we religiously watched on VHS like STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES and SUPERMAN. They were magic makers to us, and we wanted to do what they did so bad. That experience and the EVIL DEAD flicks made us fall in love with comedy/horror, and we’ve always dug the mix. Hollywood, for some reason, thinks comedy/horror is hard to fill seats for, but it’s always been something we get jazzed about.”
So what sets this undead film apart from all the others, and why should you seek it out following the high standards set by other zombie laughfests like SHAUN OF THE DEAD and ZOMBIELAND? “It’s an adventure film just as much as it’s a horror/comedy,” Brett says. “Drew and I love adventure movies, and we wanted DEADHEADS to feel like a zombie flick that has some love for INDIANA JONES. It’s a ridiculous and hilarious comedy, but we put a big emphasis on character development. For us, we can’t get into flicks unless we feel we’re with the characters… We got protagonists people will care about and want to root for.” If audiences root for Mike and Brent, it won’t be only because they’re funny ghouls: While the pair search for Mike’s beau, zombie-killing bounty hunters are hot on their tails.
The Pierces aren’t just making a zombie film for the hell it; they know what fright fans want, and fright fans want the living dead. “I think it plays on the most basic fears that people have with any apocalyptic situation,” Brett says. “I also think that the simplicity of a world run amok with zombies is appealing to people. Work and money stress me out. Stresses everyone out. There’s something attractive about a zombie apocalypse to me, in that it gets down to what really matters. As guys who make flicks, we love zombie movies because they scream indie. Anybody can make one, and that’s why I’ll always watch and root for them. Zombie films are pure passion.” Audiences can also look forward to some good ol’ practical makeup and FX, including “severed heads, exploding squids and buckets of red-dyed Karo syrup,” Brett adds. “All the fun stuff!”
The movie’s outrageousness and unique tone have thrilled early viewers like the inimitable Bruce Campbell, who praised, “In a world of putrid zombie movies, DEADHEADS is a breathe of fresh air!” There’s no official release date yet, but with the attention DEADHEADS has been receiving, you can expect a distributor to step up to the plate real soon. “People are really responding to the trailer [which you can see below] in a huge way,” says Brett, who has DEADHEADS screeners out to festivals. But the Pierce brothers aren’t sitting idle while waiting for DEADHEADS to come out of its coffin; they already have several new projects in the works. “We’ve got a bunch of scripts and ideas we’re crazy about,” Brett says. “We have an adventure script called DORKS & DICE—‘80s nerdy fun!—that we’re in love with. We also have a new spin on the werewolf myth that’s killer, and then there’s another comedy/horror flick we’d love to do with Bruce Campbell as the spirit of Halloween. Drew’s been working on a sci-fi epic that I just started jamming on, and I’ve been working on a mean horror Western that he’s jumping in on now too.”
And as for DEADHEADS II? Why not? “We got a great idea for a DEADHEADS sequel,” Brett reveals. “It’s a zombie Christmas movie. We’d love to get the family together for another ride.”
For more on DEADHEADS, take a bite out of the official website here and stay tuned for more Fango coverage.
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