We sat down with Dave Sheridan recently to talk about his new parody film of “The Walking Dead” and other zombie projects, entitled The Walking Deceased (review), to get you guys the skinny on it! Read on for the goods and the bads!
Dread Central: Can you talk a little bit about your comedy background?
Dave Sheridan: Yeah, I sort of started my whole career at “Saturday Night Live” in 1991. I was working with Kevin Nealon and the Weekend Update. This was prior to the internet so my job hopping into the fryer there was AP [Images] and getting the photos and all the stuff that was being used visually over the shoulder. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey, we need Dan Quayle with a golf club; can you Google that?’ From there, I became friends with Chris Farley… he got me hired at Second City in Chicago. Did my training there and performed and wrote, directed and produced. I sort of cut my teeth at every level at that theatre. From there, I had a little bit of a demo put together and I took it over to MTV and they offered me a development deal and I created “Buzzkill’ in 1995.
DC: Are you excited about the film coming out today? Is it still a thrill even though your name’s not in lights and it’s the new era of VOD?
DS: I’m excited. I’m on as a producer on this, so I’ve been with the film since wrapping it and editing it, then looking at sound score and helping cut the trailer. This was a true independent movie, so we screened it at AFM [American Film Market] last year and we got sales contracts and had to decide which was the best way to go. Now, we’re over in Europe and Asia selling to the markets over there as well. So that’s definitely an exciting avenue to sort of be in control and not have it be at straight up studio thing where you’re done and you go home.
DC: At AFM did you guys just have a poster? “The Walking Dead” is such a huge show I’m sure there were some other parodies trying to get made and you want to be the first one out of the gate.
DS: I think on this one we were the first ones out of the gate. When we did the first Scary Movie there were actually other spoofs and parodies coming out at the same time of that movie. Then, even with Haunted House there was three or four like Paranormal Whacktivity. I really feel like this is one of the first times where an actual TV show phenomenon has actually been parodied into a feature film level. That to me speaks to where we’re at right now as a society and how we’re ingesting our media. It’s all sort of become one level. When you parody something, the base has to be there and knowing what the joke is. We may see more and more TV shows going in this direction in terms of independent feature films.
DC: You’ve been involved with so many parodies, were you a fan of them growing up?
DS: Yeah, the Zucker Brothers, I mean, the Airplane movie really got me. Prior to Airplane was just the Pink Panther stuff. I just loved Peter Sellers and the characters and the humor of Pink Panther. When Airplane hit I was definitely like, ‘I love this type of movie.’ If it came out, I saw it. I loved the Naked Gun stuff, obviously, and I felt like this film was somewhere in that Naked Gun realm. We didn’t have the budget to go do something like that but … we tried to walk in that tone of what the movie and the TV show was like and then be a little more tongue-in-cheek, I think.
DC: I think you guys worked pretty well off each other, almost like a comedy troupe.
DS: I got cast three days before we went to set and I understood, being on other ensembles, how important it is to have a good relationship with the other actors and trying to build on that. Because if you’re having fun to the side of the camera and you’re having fun on set, it will translate in front of the camera. I was probably the veteran of it all because of the amount of films I’ve done and my age. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was the coach or anything, but I would say maybe I was the team captain.
Directed by Scott Dow and written by Tim Ogletree, The Walking Deceased stars Dave Sheridan (Scary Movie, Ghost World), Joey Oglesby (Fruitvale Station, NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”), and Tim Ogletree (Supernatural Activity). It was produced by Jonathan M. Black, Francis Casanova, Philip Marlatt, Derek Lee Nixon, Tim Ogletree, Dave Sheridan, Todd Slater, and Kurt Wehner and executive produced by Tim Fisher and Ken Tayloe.
ARC Entertainment has released The Walking Deceased into the theatres and on VOD and iTunes. Look for it NOW.
THE WALKING DECEASED is the Scary Movie of the zombie genre, ripping on the biggest and best of zombie pop-culture, arguably the most crazed genre in the world. The story follows a group of survivors from all walks of the apocalypse – an idiotic Sheriff with definite coma-induced brain damage, his hardass son, and a hobo with only a crossbow to stave off the walking dead, four squabbling friends forced to survive this zombieland together, and a lonely zombie who just needs love to fully regain his warm body – who leave their once-safe mall hideout in search of the rumored Safe Haven Ranch, a refuge untouched by the zombie virus that has ravaged humanity. But despite the comforting name, they discover that this sanctuary may not be as welcoming as advertised.
Tearing apart powerhouses like The Walking Dead, Zombieland, Warm Bodies, World War Z, Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and even Romero’s iconic Night of the Living Dead, THE WALKING DECEASED rips the flesh off the spoof genre and infects it with a virus too hilarious not to spread.