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Phillps, Glasgow (Undead or Alive)



Glasgow Phillips interviewIt seems like everyone out in Hollywood has a zombie script they’ve penned and probably about half of them are set in the Wild West. So why haven’t any zombie westerns actually been made? Well, one finally has, thanks to director Glasgow Phillips.

Undead or Alive: A Zombedy is the first of 4 horror projects under Dark Lot Entertainment, telling a tale of a defecting Union Army soldier (James Denton) and a broken-hearted cowboy (Chris Kattan) who rob the corrupt sheriff of an old west town, only to have a wave of the undead hot on their trails. They team up with Geronimo’s sexy niece (Navi Rawatt) to try and put the dead back where they belong; in the ground.

Set to premiere at this year’s South by Southwest festival (March 9-17), we recently got a chance to pick Phillip’s brain to learn more about Undead or Alive: A Zombedy! Enjoy!

Johnny Butane: The zombie western is a near untapped subgenre of horror. You got the chance to do one but, as the title implies, you chose the comedy route. Do you think that helped the producers see it as a more viable investment? Additionally, was there every any talk of making straightforward horror?

Undead or Alive interivew (click to see it bigger!Glasgow Phillips: Well, I don’t have any credentials in the straight horror world, so I think it at least sort of made sense to the producers that I was coming at it from a comedic angle. There was no talk of trying to make it straight horror—that would have been such a different animal, though I would love to see a straight zombie Western horror flick—but there was discussion at certain times of how to get a few more scares into it. The DP Tom Callaway, who’s shot a ton of horror (Feast, The Dead Hate the Living to name a couple), helped me set up a few shots for free scares: having a character enter from an unexpected place, that kind of thing. He was so great to work with, really guided me along through the whole show.

JB: When did the idea for Undead or Alive first pop into your head and how much did it change by the time the last shot was filmed?

GP: It didn’t pop into my head, it popped into my amigo Scott Pourroy’s head: zombie Western. He’s a commercial producer and a hilariogenius. (Also a true blue fan of real horror, by the way.) He let me break the idea out as a story and write the script. We share the story credit on it. As for the second question, for better or worse, my “vision” really was pretty much realized on the screen. I couldn’t believe the resources I was given, both in talent and in locations. I can’t blame many weaknesses in the final product on anyone but myself!

Undead or Alive interivew (click to see it bigger!JB: Would you consider yourself more a fan of western or horror films? Or is it a good balance between both?

GP: No shit, real horror movies are too scary for me. I love a good Western, though. Even of that genre I’m no scholar, however. The DP and producer were both just a bit older than me, old enough to have grown up with some of the classic Western movies in theaters, and they referred me to tons of cool stuff. My experience of classic Westerns was seeing them on like Dialing for Dollars, this TV show in the Bay Area (maybe everywhere?) when I was a kid. The old ones all kind of blend into one huge sweeping movie in my mind.

JB: So the idea is down, the money is in place, you know you’re going to film soon; how did you go about the casting process? And how did you react when you learned that some well-known names were interested in it?

GP: Deborah Del Prete, one of the producers, really ran the casting, and she did an amazing job. It’s one of her specialties, casting, and not something I had much experience in. Honestly it’s an excruciating experience for me. I feel so much for people when they’re reading that I just want to have everyone.

We worked with casting agents Valorie Massalas and Ron Digman, and they brought in some wonderful people. I was naturally delighted when I learned who was interested. It was a fairly unreal experience, with Kattan especially, for me. I was already such a big fan of his characters that I felt like an asshole when he actually came in to read. Super nice and fun to work with, by the way. As was everyone. I got really lucky with the cast.

Undead or Alive interivew (click to see it bigger!I hadn’t watched much “Housewives” before so I didn’t know Denton, but that dude is fucking awesome, a great performer and just incredibly unselfish on and off the set in a way that brings out the best in everybody. And the bad guys, Matt Besser and Chris Coppola, are hilarious. And Navi’s smokin hot!

JB: What level of zombie effects can the fan expect? Are we talking pure, gut-munching goodness or just the standard blood-n-guts?

GP: Bob Kurtzman’s company Precinct 13 did the MUFX, so you can expect some nasty shit. There’s not a real tonnage of it, jut a couple of gags that worked really well. Leslie Jordan getting his mouth eaten off my Cristin Michelle is probably the grossest. I flinched watching it on the monitor.

JB: You shot in and around Santa Fe, correct? Any good stories from the set that weren’t part of your blog?

GP: No, man, just that I love that place. I would live there in a heartbeat. If anyone hasn’t seen the Undead or Alive blog, they should check out the interview with Delaney Marsh, the head greensman who DUG UP AN ACTUAL DEAD HORSE for the movie.

Undead or Alive interivew (click to see it bigger!JB: What would you say is the best part of the filmmaking process?

GP: It was watching the actors make things real. For me a script is just words, and it’s always amazing to see someone take those and bring them to life.

JB: What are Odd Lot’s release plans for the film after it’s premiere at SXSW, if any that you can speak of ?

GP: That shit is all top secret dude!

JB: What are you doing next, what would you like to do next (cause there can be a difference…), and what would be a dream project for you down the road?

GP: I want to do a fantasy comedy called Fantasie! I have to write it first, though. The other project that’s on my plate right now is the release of my new book, The Royal Nonesuch. It hits stores right around SXSW, and I’m doing my first reading there in Austin, on March 11 at a place called Book People. The book’s about underground Hollywood, renegade filmmaking, that kind of stuff—I think it might be right up your dirt road. Look for it!

Thanks go to Glasgow and the producers for making this interview happen! If you’re heading out to South by Southwest be sure to make the time to see Undead or Alive: A Zombedy; you’ll be one of the first!

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Video: The Shape of Water Q&A with Guillermo del Toro and Doug Jones at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre



This past weekend at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA betwixt a double screening of The Shape of Water and the classic The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the former’s director Guillermo del Toro (and star Doug Jones) sat down to discuss the latter’s influence on the film, Gill-man sex, “one sock movies,” his career in the genre, and more with moderator Jonah Ray, and we were there to film a portion of it.

Our sincere thanks to American Cinematheque general manager Dennis Bartok for extending the invitation.

For more Cinematheque screenings, visit the official website here.

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Michael C. Hall Buried in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary



Now here’s an audio book we can REALLY get behind! Entertainment Weekly is reporting that former “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall will be narrating the first ever unabridged recording of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Sometime’s audio is better!

Readers have been asking for this audiobook for a very long time,” Stephen King said in a statement. “I know the listening experience will be worth the wait with Michael as narrator.

We’re thrilled to finally bring Pet Sematary to King’s audiobook fans,” Simon & Schuster Audio president and publisher Chris Lynch added. “Michael C. Hall is a perfect match for this timeless story, which has long deserved an unabridged production.

The unabridged audiobook of Pet Sematary will be released by Simon & Schuster Audio on March 27. Speaking of Hall… you know he would make a pretty friggin’ good casting choice to play Victor Pascow in the upcoming Pet Sematary remake. Just sayin’.


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Saw-inspired Game Play With Me Sets a Trap on Steam



Saw fans have a lot to be happy about right now. In addition to Jigsaw being teased for Dead by Daylight, a new Saw-themed game called Play With Me has launched on Steam, and although it’s not officially connected with the franchise in any way, developer Airem promised that they created a videogame which looks and plays as though it were made by Jigsaw himself. As you can tell from the trailer and screenshots, the production values and overall quality of Play With Me appear to be considerably higher than most other indie horror games released on Steam, and you’ll probably be very happy to see that Airem took the time and effort to create stylized hand drawn environments rather than using purchased assets from the Unity Store.

The killer behind the sinister traps in Play With Me is known as the Illusion, with the player taking control of investigative journalist Robert Hawk as he tries to fight his way through a series of sick and twisted obstacles created by the lunatic. The voice acting in the trailer was a little cheesy, although we see at 1:09 that the player will be tasked with using a kitchen knife to cut open a dead body (presumably to retrieve an item hidden in the cadaver’s stomach), which is not an image you’ll be forgetting anytime soon.

IQ Publishing are offering a 15% discount off Play With Me for those who purchase the game before January 24, so Saw fans might want to mark that deadline in their calendars and purchase it from Steam before the time is up. After all, it can’t be worse than Konami’s awful official Saw videogames.

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