There are a number of popular amped up fairy tale projects out there right now. One need look no further than NBC’s “Grimm” or ABC’s “Once Upon a Time.” However, Zenescope Entertainment’s comic series Grimm Fairy Tales is about to take things to a whole new level.
“Metalocalypse” director Jon Schnepp is teaming with Titmouse Animation Studio, Benjamin Jackendoff and Zenescope to create an animated project based on the long running Grimm Fairy Tales comic book series. “Ben and I had done a couple of horror shorts over the last two years,” Schnepp said. “He started working for a company called Zenescope and was like, ‘Yo, dude, you’ve gotta check out this company. I had been doing ‘Metalocalypse’ for eight years and wanted to do something on my own that’s like a Heavy Metal movie, so I started writing this horror anthology movie. Ben was like, ‘You should meet Zenescope because they’ve got this Grimm Fairy Tales thing. I was aware of it, but being a super comic nerd, I was like, ‘That’s one of those cheesecake comics with the girls in lingerie, 25 variant covers with chicks’ asses and tits.’ He was like, ‘No dude, you’ve gotta read them.'”
And after reading a Grimm Fairy Tales trade, Schnepp was hooked, realizing the horror potential of the comic and envisioning turning it into an animated horror series. “I thought this could be a cool animated series like ‘Tales from the Crypt’ meets Heavy Metal,” Schnepp said. “Each of the stories are written in a different art form, and I was thinking how I could get all these artists I’d love to work with and get them in on it.”
Schnepp began talking with Zenescope about his vision for the series. “We started talking about how we could make it a reality,” Schnepp said. “But those guys at that time had pitched Grimm Fairy Tales to a bunch of different studios, and nobody wanted to do an R-rated anything. Then “Grimm,” the NBC show, “Once Upon a Time” on ABC, and these fairy tale things all started popping out. We decided to make a Kickstarter project out of it to film just the pilot and go from there. We’ve got a ton of incentives where if someone puts in $98, they’re getting $98 worth of stuff back.”
Zenoscope producers Benjamin Jackendoff discussed the quality behind the project. “We have a package and marketing strategy where we could just go and could probably pre-sell and go to AFW, but that’s not how we want to do it because then we’d be behooven to someone else’s dollar and vision. Here we’re behooven to the fans, and that’s what’s really cool about it.”
Schnepp definitely feels like this is a project horror fans will embrace. “Grimm Fairy Tales is first and foremost a horror comic book. Every issue is a tale of horror, despair, and survival. And decision-making, which is key to every horror story. Do you go down the stairs, do you open that door? There are a million horror movies that come out every year that are live action, but we never get to do anything that’s animated. We want to do something that is genuinely scary and animated in a way that’s exciting for horror fans.”
In addition to the true scary nature of the film the creators are trying to capture, Schnepp also promises plenty of the red stuff that he’s famous for from “Metalocalypse.” “The over-the-top gore and violence will be huge,” Schnepp said. “I’m known for doing the bloodiest, goriest scenes in “Metalocalypse”; those are my specialties. You’ll see in Episode 4, Season 4. I don’t want to ruin anything, but I don’t think I’ve ever killed as many people in creative ways before. The gore quota in every episode [of Grimm Fairy Tales] is gonna be pretty high. Imagine Bill Sienkiewicz doing Hansel and Gretel. Imagine Alex Pardee doing Rumplestiltskin with a sick horror tone. I’m excited to get this going and to deliver it to the horror audience in 2013.”
Jackendoff told of the great list of contributors already attached to the burgeoning project. “Lena Headey (300, “Game of Thrones”) will star in the entire series, and she’s coming aboard as a creator/producer,” said Jackendoff. “Briana Evigan (The Devil’s Carnival, Step Up 2) is on board for the first episode, and four artists are attached to the project.” The artists are none other than Alex Pardee, Bill Sienkiewicz, Roman Dirge, and Eric Powell.
The plan is to build eight episodes of Grimm Fairy Tales: Animated into a feature film, then take out the wraparounds for the series and replace that with an entire B story which has a 15-minute beginning, a 20-minute ending, and two other sequences that aren’t part of the animated series. So there’ll be stand-alone episodes and an entire movie.
While we were speaking, Schnepp took the opportunity to pimp some of his other projects. “For all the ‘Metalocalypse’ fans out there, April 29th is the Season 4 premiere,” Schnepp said. “I directed it and I think people are gonna dig it, especially anyone who’s ever been at a Comic-Con. It’s a very special episode. A lot of people are going to get killed.”
Schnepp has also been included as a director in The ABCs of Death anthology horror film. “We’ve finally gotten a release date of November 2nd,” Schnepp said. “All the directors are in the dark about who did what so it’s pretty exciting. It’ll be like, oh, there’s Xavier Gens’ thing and there’s [Ben] Wheatley’s thing. I loved Kill List. There’s a lot of directors I respect and admire so I’m proud of that thing so hopefully my short measures up in some weird way.”
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