FSUDOL is the director of both animated zombie horror films City of Rott and the upcoming Dead Fury. His work has been seen and acclaimed for mixing homages with toilet humor. His more known work would be on the South Park film. We had a chance to discuss his new film DEAD FURY and a mutual love for zombies.
FS: Romero's Day of the Dead on VHS back in the 80's is one of the biggest inspirations for my gore filled cartoons. Along with Evil Dead and a few others. Really enjoy the gory films.
SS: What exactly is the process for creating your own animated horror film? I can imagine the work for drawing alone to be tedious.
FS: First thing is the idea, then writing the story, drawing the characters and pieces by hand on paper, scanning it all into the computer, then using photoshop to animate and a few movie programs to piece it together. Currently focused more on telling a better story. Looking back, City of Rott was a start, but could really use improvement in the plot department. The animation is intentionally limited, not going for anything too fluid right now. Animating the gore and action scenes is the most fun. On a side note, I like some of the changes made to the gore FX in Dead Fury.
SS: You do plan on releasing DEAD FURY on Unearthed, correct? Do you have any more ideas planned for film?
FS: Unearthed Films will be bringing Dead Fury out on DVD sometime in August 2008. Currently working on a third, gory animated apocalyptic film. I'll see what happens for the future.
SS: What is your favorite version of Zombie seen on film?
FS: Favorite zombies are Savini's zombies in Day of the Dead. The gritty make up effects and gore are my favorite. They really look like they've been dead for awhile, but can still get around with what's left of their rotten muscles. When I make another zombie film in the future, it'll have much improved zombies in that style, but animated.
SS: When you worked on the South Park film, how was the experience, and what exactly was your job?
FS: It was a great experience. I started doing lip synching for the characters with a team, and soon had the chance to do scene set ups, some 2D character set ups, texture and color stuff, etc. While working on the scene with Terrance and Phillip in Canadian traffic, I threw an animated cartoon version of myself dressed in black, near the front of the scene at the very last line. Overall, learned a lot about putting it all together. Much credit to the cast and crew's hard work on the short deadlines. Matt and Trey were there often, working on the film, but not much chance to interact with most of the crew.
SS: Is Max's (Dead Fury) character inspired by Ash from The Evil Dead?
FS: Max was inspired by Ash, but instead of trying to match Ash's voice, personality and one liners, I took it a different route. Although Dead Fury is in the parody style, I can't even come close to matching Bruce Campbell's brilliant character performance. Ash and Evil Dead rule.
SS: What made you decide to carry the Old man character from your previous effort City of Rott to Dead Fury? Are they the same character?
FS: I get a laugh out of older characters, so decided to bring him back for a secondary role. He can be a bit annoying, but it's intentional mostly. The idea is, I consider these animated characters as actors, so they can play different roles in future films if I need to bring them back. But no, Fred and Pop are two different characters played by the same cartoon actor so to speak. He may or may not show up in the third animated film I'm working on. If he does, it'll be a smaller part.
SS: How did you go about creating all the sound effects for the gore that slops around? One might call them sickening.
FS: I used plenty of household objects like filling a bowl with water, rattling metal parts around, tearing paper, stuff like that. Then bring it into the computer and and edit the sounds. I'm not satisfied with some of the gore sounds from City of Rott compared to Dead Fury, which is an nice improvement in my opinion. Sound is very important, but I still could use better equipment balancing it all out with the sound FX, music and voices.
SS: Have you ever thought about delving into Claymation?
FS: I used to work on claymation as a kid, Gumby super 8 movies I made with my brother. I probably won't get into claymation again, as it's not quite what I'm looking for in style. Speaking of claymation and zombies, I saw "Clay of the Dead" online, which is a neat idea. I'm inspired by the limited style of older Hanna Barbera Cartoons. For now, my style is similar to South Park's "stop frame" animation, based on budget, time, style, etc.
SS: If you could kill a real zombie in any way, which weapon would you use to do the deed?
FS: To finish off a zombie with only one weapon... A shotgun for the movies, a spear if it was real; less contagious zombie mess.
FS: I just want to finish by saying Dead Fury offers an improved story(compared to COR) and plenty of gore, inspired by the great classics like Evil Dead, The Hills Have Eyes, and a few others, but with a number of original ideas thrown in as well. Unearthed Films should be releasing the Dead Fury DVD sometime near August, 2008. It's also premiering early at the Philadelphia Film Festival April 9th, 2008, which is a great opportunity.
FS: Thanks for the interview and the early film fest review!
Be sure to see Dead Fury, whether on it's DVD release, or its premiere at the Philyfest.