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Event Report: Screamfest LA 2011: Exclusive Night #3 Photo Gallery, DeadHeads Update, and More!

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Continuing our coverage of the 11th annual Screamfest LA Film Festival, which runs through October 22nd at Manns Chinese 6 in Hollywood, California, we hit the carpet on Sunday, October 16th, to bring you further ocular candy and to catch the premieres of the features DeadHeads and Julia X 3D as well as a screening of the currently touring Chillerama.

Those walking the black carpet and in attendance for the evening included DeadHeads writers/directors Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce with cast members Michael McKiddy, Ross Kidder, Greg Dow, Kasey Bell and Natalie Victoria as well as Julia X 3D director P.J. Pettiette and producer Claude Viguerie. Joining them were Chillerama filmmakers Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Adam Rifkin and Tim Sullivan. Filmmaker Mick Garris and actors Lin Shaye, Ray Wise and more were also in attendance.

Speaking on the carpet with the Pierce brothers regarding their inspiration for the horror/comedy DeadHeads (which received an insanely positive response from the packed house; read our UK Film4 FrightFest DeadHeads review here), “We grew up around horror comedy with The Evil Dead,” said Brett of being raised by their father, Bart Pierce, who provided the photographic special effects for that particular Sam Raimi 1981 classic, “so we always wanted to do a horror-comedy, but Drew was really dead set on doing a buddy zombie movie, and he wanted the two leads to be pals. And then I was like, ‘Well, let’s make it a road trip movie,’ and then we were like, ‘Let’s make it about finding a girl,’ so it’s kind of a romantic comedy, too. It kind of ended up becoming every genre.”

Said Drew Pierce of the writing process of DeadHeads (a film which in this writer’s estimation is pitch perfect in tone – it’s Sam Riami meets John Hughes), “We were working on so many different scripts, and I think DeadHeads was just the one that won out, where we thought we could pull this off!”

As for doing that, “We went back to our home state of Michigan to film it,” said Brett, “where we knew we could get away with murder back there, and we went to everyone we could and looked for the best locations we could find and just kind of kept going. We did get shut down like five times because we kept running out of money or running into problems, but we all banded together. The rule was, ‘No matter what, we have to finish.’”

Filmed over the course of nine weeks, “It was a long shoot,” said Drew. “We had over thirty locations and stunts and gory effects – Dead Pretzel Effects did them – and kind of a young and very independent crew so it was tricky, but we did it.”

“We are working on a couple of new scripts,” related Brett of what’s next for the sibling filmmakers, who on the evening we spoke were just back from Sitges Film Festival, where DeadHeads had screened. “One is a werewolf thing, and the other one is kind of an Indiana Jones Halloween movie so that’s kind of weird.”

Chatting with DeadHeads actress Natalie Victoria, who portrays the film’s love interest ‘Ellie’, “The character of ‘Mike’ (actor Michael McKiddy) wakes up after three years of being comatose as a zombie, and the only thing he can think about is the engagement ring in his pocket and the girl he was going go give it to, which was my character. So he goes on a road trip with the other zombie ‘Brent’ (actor Ross Kidder) to find her. So eventually we all collide.”

“I also got to play a zombie bride in a flashback, which I enjoyed the most!” Victoria communicated with enthusiasm and a rather infectious laugh (she’s a horror fan through and through, as we learned). “I loved the makeup, are you kidding? I get to do something really gory in a scene that will scare every guy that sees it so I was really excited about that. She rips body parts off! It was the funnest part!”

For more on the flick visit the official DeadHeads Facebook page and follow DeadHeads on Twitter.

If you’re planning to hit Screamfest LA before it wraps up on October 22nd, buy tickets here.

Buddy Zombie Flick DeadHeads

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Sean Decker