Exclusive Interview With Tom Savini And Alexandre O. Philippe On Doc Of The Dead

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WGTC: We don’t want to bash anything, but I’m also curious what your least favorite usage of zombies is, or maybe something about the zombie genre you don’t particularly care for?

Tom Savini: Oh, Warm Bodies!

WGTC: [Laughing] So romance and zombies don’t mix?

Tom Savini: I’ve never seen it, but that’s why I didn’t go see it. Are you fucking kidding me?! The guy is dead! He’s an animated thing living on instinct, he’s not a teenager that you fall in love with! Fido – same thing!

Alexandre O. Philippe: You don’t like Fido?

Tom Savini: Well I’ve never seen it…

Alexandre O. Philippe: Oh you have to watch it, Fido is fantastic. It’s one of my favorites. It’s set in the 50s – it’s like Douglas Sirk meets zombies.

WGTC: Kind of like Pleasantville, but with zombies!

Tom Savini: Alright, you’ve said enough for me. If it’s set in the 50s – my favorite, because I’m 67, my favorite time of life was being a kid in the 50s. I was seeing those movies when they came out in the theaters. Creature From The Black Lagoon, all that stuff, as an 8 year old kid in the 50s.

Alexandre O. Philippe: You know what you’d like too? If you didn’t like Warm Bodies, you should read Breathers. For me, Breathers is what Warm Bodies could have been. It’s a zombie romantic comedy, but it’s beautifully written, it’s smart…

Tom Savini: What’s up next, a zombie musical?!

WGTC: Well there are! There’s a Night Of The Living Dead musical, an Evil Dead musical…

Tom Savini: Oh on Broadway, of course. I hadn’t realized Night Of The Living Dead became a musical.

Alexandre O. Philippe: So yes, there’s a genre out there called “zom-rom-coms.”

Tom Savini: Well then I must be out of it!

Alexandre O. Philippe: But Breathers – in fact we interviewed S.G. Browne, the author. It was actually originally optioned by Diablo Cody, and I don’t know if they’re going to make that movie or not, but I really hope. It’s a beautiful read – it’s fantastic. Huge fan.

Tom Savini: Well I’ll look out for it then. [To me] Your original question though, it was what era of zombies is our least favorite?

Alexandre O. Philippe: I don’t like to bash people, there are definitely zombie movies I’ve seen – OK fine, I’ll tell you because everyone’s already forgotten about this movie. One I found really underwhelming was Shock Waves.

Tom Savini: Really? I thought that was a classic! I’ve only seen it once a long time ago – Ken Wiederhorn, right?

Alexandre O. Philippe: Yeah, just not my cup of tea.

Tom Savini: Well I stopped watching Dead Snow

WGTC: Oh no, I loved Dead Snow! I had so much fun with those Nazi zombies!

Alexandre O. Philippe: Watch the trailer for the second one – it looks unbelievable! It looks like it’ll be The Empire Strikes Back to the Star Wars franchise.

WGTC: As zombies evolve, we’re seeing Romero’s rules start to be thrown away or re-imagined. Can all of these different universes in zombie culture live side by side?

Tom Savini: I think it’s breaking the rules that becomes vital like World War Z – the herding. Somebody also asked us, “What do you think is the scariest zombie?” I said, “The ones that herd.” When thirty of them are coming at you, there’s no outrunning that.

Alexandre O. Philippe: It’s funny because as you talk about these different universes, yes, I definitely think they exist. The Return Of The Living Dead universe is a completely different universe from World War Z or The Night Of The Living Dead. You know what just came to my mind as we’re talking about this? Star Trek. The movies would have to be on different planets, and then we could just travel planet to planet with a different zombie universe on each one.

Tom Savini: Or they would have to be pumping oxygen into the ship that they’re flying in. Right? Imagine that the oxygen gets cut off somehow, before the ship crashes. Everyone has no oxygen going to their brain, they would walk around – they would be zombies in outer space with the ship in orbit! Let’s go visit the zombie ship that’s in orbit!

WGTC: Is that the new zombie movie?

Tom Savini: It could be! We were also talking about zombies from different periods, like biblical zombies. Zombies BC!

WGTC: There’s a short you have to see, because this has already been done. Jesus botches a resurrection and accidentally starts a zombie apocalypse, and he has to fight his way through. It’s called Fist Of Jesus…

Tom Savini: He was the first zombie! He died and came back to life! But it’s called Fist Of Jesus? Like Fists Of Fury? Checking this one out.

WGTC: So I’m really interested to hear your opinion on the current debate going on between CG bloodshed and practical effects. I personally am a firm believer that practical will always reign supreme, but what are your thoughts – especially you, Tom.

Tom Savini: How old are you?

WGTC: I’m 24.

Tom Savini: That’s interesting that CG has that effect on you, because I thought that your generation has been trained to accept CGI.

WGTC: Sure, I’ve seen a ton of recent mainstream movies that heavily use CGI, but I’ve made an effort to see the early movies such as Dawn Of The Dead, Day Of The Dead, and even look at movies like From Dusk Till Dawn

Tom Savini: All of that’s happening right in front of you. All those effects. Rick Baker’s An American Werewolf In London transformation is actually happening. There is this collective dislike of CGI, because they haven’t mastered a lot of it. There are movies – Evil Dead was bragging about having no CGI in the film, it’s all practical, and more are doing that. Out of the visual effects companies, three major ones have gone out of business, because they sent it overseas. There’s a resurgence now of practical stuff, but I like the CGI when it’s done well. I wish I had it as a tool when I was trying to hide an edge or something, but the best effects today are a combination of practical and CGI, like what Greg Nicotero is doing on The Walking Dead.