Exclusive: Co-Writer/Director Steve Barker Talks Outpost: Black Sun, Another Sequel and More
This week XLrator Media released the Nazi zombie-themed Outpost: Black Sun, the sequel to Steve Barker's 2008 indie flick Outpost, which found moderate success during its home release worldwide.
Outpost: Black Sun follows a young woman named Lena (Catherine Steadman), who has spent most of her life hunting down notorious Nazi war criminals. The last name on her list is a man known only as Klausener, a ruthless German scientist who in the closing stages of WW2 was working on the technology to create an immortal Nazi army. During an expedition to Eastern Europe, Lena stumbles upon Wallace (Richard Coyle), a friendly but mysterious ally who shares in her desire to chase down the deadly Nazi secrets that Klausener is keeping hidden deep beneath the Earth in an old wartime bunker.
Recently Dread Central had the chance to speak with Barker one-on-one to hear more about his experiences making the sequel, why he doesn't consider Outpost: Black Sun a zombie movie and more on the third installment in the growing franchise, Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz, which is currently in post-production.
Check out our exclusive interview with Barker below, and pick up your copy of Outpost: Black Sun on Blu-ray or DVD now!
Dread Central: I have to apologize because I had not ever seen the first movie before watching Black Sun so I really had no idea what to expect going into this. It is definitely not your typical zombie movie! Can you discuss what the differences are between the two films and if you changed up your approach at all for the sequel?
Steve Barker: The first Outpost was more of an old-school siege movie; it had no women in it or anything. In this one our lead hero is a female character so immediately that changes things and gives a new perspective into this world, which is great.
The mythology behind the zombies has shifted a bit in this movie as well. In the first Outpost the mythology was far more supernaturally based, and in the sequel we came up with something a bit more reality-based, or at least as realistic as you could possibly be in world with Nazi zombies (laughs).
Dread Central: Well, I didn't see these guys as traditional zombies; they don't eat people, they're intelligent...
Steve Barker: Yeah, I've never called them zombies either, but there's just a point after so many people call your movie a zombie movie that you come to accept it as a zombie movie. Who am I to argue, right? (laughs) But I know Danny Boyle went through the same thing with 28 Days Later so yeah, there's just a point where you go, "Okay, I made a zombie movie" and just go with it.
Dread Central: So then, because of the different mythology did you go at Black Sun with a different storytelling approach?
Steve Barker: Oh yeah, the whole idea was to do things differently on the sequel because we finally had some resources that we could use to our benefit. The first Outpost we made for a dime, and Black Sun, well, we made that for a dime plus a tiny bit more. For the first film we used our limitations to our advantage, and at the time torture porn films were everywhere so I went back to those classic limited budget movies as inspiration for what I wanted to achieve on Outpost. I revisited all those movies that made me fall in love with cinema, which reminded me what you can achieve even if you don't have a ton of money to fall back on.
We sort of wrote ourselves into a corner with the ending of Outpost, though, so we had to get creative for the sequel in some ways- that forced our hand, too, I think, but I'm glad it did because I think this world is stronger now that we've revisited it and given it a richer mythology. We also wanted the sequel to have more of an action-adventure feel to it so there are more action moments in this one than the first. It was hard because in some ways you don't want to change too much because then you could alienate your fans- but as a filmmaker, you never want to deliver a sequel that's the same as the original either.
Dread Central: I have to say that I really loved that crazy old cackling Nazi woman in the bunker- was that an homage to Hitler's girlfriend, Eva (Braun)?
Steve Barker: You know, I never really thought of her as an homage, but it's kind of cool you thought of her like that. She was modeled after the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang because that woman terrified me- she still does even (laughs). But this character was just known as The Matron, and her look was designed by the same guy who worked on The Descent. I think he really captured what I always envisioned her to be - this cave dwelling, hobbled witch - to a 'T'.
When Vivien (Taylor) saw the make-up and her costume, she just fell right into that character. That cackle was also one of my favorite things about the movie; I just loved The Matron in this movie so much. She was a fun addition to our arsenal of villains.
Dread Central: Now that the second one is out now, are there any plans for another Outpost sequel? Is this a world you'd like to return to in the future?
Steve Barker: They've actually already made a third movie called Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz; because they had all these great sets just sitting there, they put everything together while I was in post on Black Sun. Kieran (Parker), who has been a producing partner of mine for some time now, directed this; he also produced the first two Outpost movies so he was a great choice.
That's going to be more of a prequel, though, so there is room for me to still come back and finish up this story in a few years if I wanted to. But I think that my next project should be something else- or at least something that doesn't involve Nazi zombies (laughs).
The year is 1945, the closing stages of WW2, and a German scientist by the name of Klausener is working on frightening new technology with the power to create an immortal Nazi army. Flash-forward to the present day, and a NATO task force is hurriedly deployed to Eastern Europe, where a sinister enemy appears to be mercilessly killing everything in its path. But this is no ordinary foe. Only Helena (Steadman), a gutsy investigator on the trail of notorious war-criminal Klausener, accepts the reality of what they are facing, a battalion of Nazi Storm-Troopers, a veritable zombie army on the march. With the help of Wallace (Coyle), a man who’s been chasing Nazi secrets for years, the two team up with a Special Forces Unit to venture deep behind enemy lines. Their mission: to fight their way back to the source of this evil army and prevent the seemingly inevitable rise of the 4th Reich.
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