09th Jan2018

Horror-On-Sea 2018 Interview: Sonntag & Pedersen talk ‘Escaping the Dead’

by Philip Rogers

Escaping the Dead is new zombie horror from Martin Sonntag and Bastian Brinch Pedersen, which has been selected to play at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival on Saturday 20th January. I got chance to ask a few questions about how much of the film is based on actual events, working with Lloyd Kaufman and do they prefer walkers or runners?


What can we expect from Escaping the Dead?

Martin: It’s on the higher end of low budget films in this category, and I promise lots of gore and blood on a solid foundation, that is the films storyline.
Bastian: Lots of weed, good humour and a serious amount of blood-pumping zombie action.

The film itself is inspired partially by a true story, how much of these events have you incorporated into the film?

B: If you’re familiar with the incident in Miami, and the infamous drug “Krokodill” and add a little more, then I can assure you’ll get all the face-ripping and decaying cadavers you could wish for in this film.
M: I won’t reveal too much at the moment, but Bastian got very good around the block on that one. You will see moments that have hints of inspiration from the real world, but this is our vision and take on it.

What were your influences for the look and style of the film?

M: There were no specific inspiration for that part. We just had a very good idea of what how it should be, but of course maybe went a bit for the 80′s and 90′s horror style.
B: Right, we didn’t really aim for a certain style, we created our own. Like all filmmakers we try to stand out from the crowd – a bit cheesy maybe, but art is art.

Are there any elements in the finished film which were different to how you envisioned them in the original script due to the budget?

B: Due to lack of time and budget, certain scenes had to be spared. For example; originally, we planned to have a chainsaw scene, as any other good zombie movie… But it was compromised so that we could focus on more important scenes at the time.
M: Well, it’s an unfortunate truth and of things to point out that we were really sorry to compromise on, that was truly the one sacrifice.

Lloyd Kaufman seems to get everywhere when it comes to independent films, how did he become involved in Escaping the Dead?

M: By pure coincidence, we have a good friend in the industry that knows Lloyd personally and lloyd happened to be in Denmark by the time we were actively shooting so while Lloyd visited Bloody weekend in Copenhagen, he went out for a few hours to join in and do a cameo in the film.
B: At first, I couldn’t believe it, I thought Martin was joking. But then I realized it was happening, and Lloyd fitted the part as the “Crazy sex-tourist” perfectly.

What was your favourite scene in the movie?

B: It must be “robbery scene” where my character, David disguised with his partner in crime Ahmir (Rama Øzel) desperately try their best to collect some money for the gangster boss.
M: I think it must be the scene where the character David is visiting his mom to borrow money:
Its contains light racism, a view of a dysfunctional society, and good old Danish humour all balanced out well.

There is always going to be a debate about what type of zombie is better walkers or runners. Escaping the Dead seems to incorporate both but what do you prefer?

M: As a classics lover, I do prefer the slower ones, but adding faster ones among the crowd adds pressure to your characters and bit more action. Plus, I would only find it natural that zombies depending on “freshness”, damages etc. moves by different speed.
B: The old school slow decaying walking corpses of course. But as Martin says: A bit of diversity is always nice.

Do you have any other projects which you are working on at the moment?

B: None at the moment, but I do have ideas for future which I hope you’ll enjoy as much as this film.
M: I definitely also have some ideas for the near future, but I can’t reveal anything at the moment. For the time being I’m just helping out on other film productions with special FX and cinematography.

What advice would you give to someone looking to direct their first film?

M: Trust your gut instinct, and just go for it. But always expect to add +2 hours to each shoot. Unexpected stuff happens no matter how hard you plan or prep for it. Be open with your crew, and be clear in your deals and contracts.
B: Start out small scale. Full features are harder to pull off and cost a lot more money. Start with some short films, find some dedicated people, make a plan, grab your camera and just go for it. “Trial and error” is the standard procedure for a low budget movie.

Escaping the Dead will be playing at the Horror-on-Sea Festival on Saturday 20th January at 3pm.

You can find out more information on the event and purchase tickets from the Horror-on-Sea website at https://www.horror-on-sea.com

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