2. dec. 2013

Horror-Unrated Retrospekt #1: Den italienske zombie-film går igen! En snak med Marco Ristori og Luca Boni, om deres film 'Eaters'.

Efter 4 år har vi valgt at lukke og slukke for Horror Unrated. Med tiden fik vi hevet en hel del spændende og dybdegående interviews i hus, fra de store kendte horror stjerner til ukendte independent filmskabere. Personligt er jeg meget stolt over den række af interviews vi endte med at få på Horror Unrated, og enkelte står stadig som nogle helt unikke. Bl.a. interviewene med instruktøren af 'Don't Go in the Woods', James Bryan og David Winters - manden bag 'The Last Horror Film', som begge velvilligt satte sig til at scanne gamle billeder filmpris-certifikater ind til os som vi kunne bruge i artiklen. Og danske Heini Grünbaum som i 1999 lavede 'Flænset', gav sig rigtig god tid til virkelig at gå i dybden med sine svar. Den dag i dag er det så vidt vi ved, stadig det eneste interview der findes med ham på internettet.
Af forskellige årsager valgte vi at lukke for Horror Unrated d. 12. november 2013, og da undertegnede tidligere har været skribent for denne fantastiske blog, Sørensen Exploitation Cinema Proudly presents, valgte jeg og bloggens ejer at flytte de mange interviews over på bloggen så de kunne få nyt liv, og forhåbentlig blive læst og nydt af nye læsere.

- Claus Reinhold.

HORROR UNRATED: Welcome to Horror Unrated Marco and Luca. We’re here to talk about your zombie feature Eaters, so let me start out by asking; why a zombie film and how did this whole project start?

LUCA BONI: Basically we decided to make a zombie movie because we love zombies. Also, we wanted to make a very extreme movie, so the zombie genre was perfect and last but not least, it's easier to sell a zombie movie, so we put together all these things and here we are. But Eaters had a very long development. The pre-production started back in September 2009 and we spent about seven months to prepare everything such as casting, location scouting, asking for permissions, storyboarding etc. We both remember those seven months as the worst period of our careers, but now we're really proud of ourselves – the movie is made and we never gave up.

HU: That's admirable indeed. So what sort of zombie film is Eaters and what the audience can expect?

MARCO RISTORI: Eaters is basically an extremely gory comedy. Well, of course there's a lot of violence, blood, guts and monsters, buy everything is surrounded by irony. We're not serious guys so we didn't want to make a serious movie at all. Sure the story is dramatic but there are a lot of funny and gory gags as well. So if you're looking for a funny zombie movie with some good F/X, Eaters is definitely what you're looking for.

HU: Back in the 1970’s and 80s Italy was world famous for its zombie movies, but then it sort of faded out and we haven’t seen a zombie movie from Italy in many years. With Eaters, are you guys trying to change that – bringing Italy back on the zombie-map?

MR: Not at all. We really don't want to change anything. Italy had a very good horror tradition but we want to go ahead. Eaters it's not an Italian film. We only want to keep going and trying to make movies better and better. That's all.

HU: Marco, you wrote the screenplay together with Germano Tarricone, but how long did it take to write and how did the two of you work together in the writing process?

MR: We wrote the first draft back in 2007 and I think we have written almost ten drafts from 2007 to 2009. Working and writing with Germano has been great. He's a very smart guy who has a lot of good ideas. I love every single character in Eaters..I think we have great characters in the movie as Slim-Jim and Fathead or the Painter.

HU: When you’re not a famous director, I know it can be very difficult to get a film financed. So I'm wondering if it was difficult for you to find financing and to realize this film with your very limited budget?

LB: When you don't have any money, everything is difficult. Here in Italy no one wants to produce stuff like this so it's been hard as hell, especially in most of the pre-production and post-production.
The truth is, that while you're shooting you are having a great time and a lot of fun with a lot of friends. Problems arrive when you have to put together hours and hours of shot material. Problems arrive when you have to create a virtually destroyed city and you don't have a buck to do it for. The pre- and post-production has been made only by the two of us, so you can imagine how hard it's been. Despite of all these problems, we think that being director and producer at the same time is much better because you have a lot of freedom.

HU: Was Eaters the title from the beginning or was it supposed to be titled something else?

LB: Yes, Eaters was always the title. Anyway, you know it’s quite possible that some countries will change it for business reasons.

HU: Regarding the cast, did you have a regular casting or did you have specific actors in mind when you wrote the screenplay?

MR: We had the two main actors, Alex Lucchesi and Guglielmo Favilla, in mind when writing. They play Igor and Alen and those guys are simply the best, you know without them we wouldn't be here now. We've been very lucky to have them by our side. For the other characters we did regular castings. We've been very lucky to find all the right faces. In a movie like Eaters the faces are a very important thing.
HU: I’m guessing the two of you didn’t always see eye to eye on everything, so how did your collaboration on directing the movie work out?

LB: Well, actually we did. The truth is that we are like one single person. We know it may sound strange but that's the truth. In the past six years we have made 25 video clips, more than 50 documentaries and commercials as well as other stuff together, so we have learned to live and work side by side. With Eaters we have made everything from the script to the final master.

HU: How did you work with the actors - did you read and rehearse a lot or did you also improvise at some points?

MR: Both actually. For a movie like Eaters you need at least 40 days of shooting, but we shot the entire movie in only 28 days, so we had to work very fast. Many of the scenes had been rehearsed a lot in pre-production, but several others were improvised on location. Our actors were amazing and we owe them so much.

HU: Tell me all about how the shoot went?

LB: On every single day of making this movie something new happened. I remember one day where we shot something like 17 hours and on set there were only Marco and I, Alex, Guglielmo, the DOP and the boom operator. The rest of the crew was at home.
We're back at 2 a.m. and David Bracci was awake, cooking for us a great pasta carbonara. We love that man. So I can say that the shooting was damn hard, but very funny at the same time.

HU: Oh, I love pasta carbonara as well. So what was the most negative and frustrating part of the production?

LB: During the pre-production one of the most difficult moments has been when we lost one of the most important locations, only one month before shooting began, for bureaucratic reasons, so that was quite frustrating. I don't remember any specific negative problems on the set, maybe because everything was a problem basically. Jokes aside, we had a really good time on the set so we think we've been very lucky especially in having a great crew and a fantastic cast around us.

HU: I know you used the Canon EOS 7D camera which many are using now, but why did you settle on that camera?

MR: Simply because the Canon EOS 7D is a great camera and perfect for low-budget movies. The quality of the image is amazing and you can shoot in full HD at 24fps and at the same time the camera is very small so you can put it just about everywhere.

HU: I know these cameras and especially their lenses allow much better depth of field and give the images a very cinematic look. I’m guessing it was very important to you to get that film-like look?

MR: Yes absolutely, it was very important. We used a lot of different lenses, especially a great 100mm macro for the close-ups, to get the most amazing depth of field.

HU: Personally I think many low-budget filmmakers could learn from you when it comes to the technical aspects. I mean, so many of the no- and low-budget horror movies today have neither the story nor the visuals going for them. So many of them really look like crap. You know, shot handheld on small consumer cameras with auto focus, bad sound, no post-production, no colorgrading, nothing. Why do you think this is?

MR: It's hard to say. The problem with 90% of the indie flicks out there is that they look too cheap. Even if they don't look cheap, it's not enough to buy a good camera to shoot a movie. You have to know what you're doing on all fronts. One of the strengths of Eaters is the cinematography and the colorgrading. Every year hundreds of crappy low-budget movies invade the markets like AFM an EFM so if you want to stand out you have to do your absolute best. It is very important to study and learn as much as you can. Watching thousands of movies could be very helpful. Practice is absolutely the most important thing too.

HU: The zombies in the movie, what type of zombies are they – the classic slow-moving types we know from Night of The Living Dead or the fast moving ones we know from contemporary zombie flicks? And what can you tell us about the special F/X zombie make-up – what sort of look did you settle on?
LB: Our zombies run, fight and...talk! They are amazing and the prosthetic make-up is without a doubt another strength of our movie. Our special make-up crew was simply great and they have realized the most amazing zombies you've ever seen in an Italian movie. We have a good special effects too as the zombie woman corpse in the lab or the skinned body in the church. Gore fans will love this movie. First of all we wanted to have zombies and not infected people, so our zombies are decayed, rotten and very dead. The prosthetic make-up really takes a lot of time but our zombies will leave you breathless. We love that black stuff they have in their mouths and I remember that our special effects guy David Bracci was always running on the set with a glass with black honey to feed his zombies. Our favorite zombie is the fat zombie in Gyno's lab. The actor is a tiny guy and Carlo Diamantini and David took five hours to put on the full-body prosthetic.

HU: Before we call it a day, I have to ask you guys what your favorite horror films are?

MR and LB: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Day of the Dead, The Thing, The Shining, Dawn of the Dead, well all the classics basically, but we also like the new wave of horror, especially the French ones like Martyrs, Frontier(s) and Haute Tension and English movies like Doghouse and The Descent. Actually we also watch a lot of American indie flicks to learn as much as we can from our colleagues around the world.

HU: Okay guys, we have come to the end of this interview. I want to say thanks to both of you for taking the time to do this and best of luck with Eaters.

LB:  Thank you for this interview and we really hope you'll like the film. You rock!

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