Ambush Bug here. Last Friday I reviewed EATERS in our regular AICN HORROR column. I had a chance to catch up with Marco Ristori, one of the directors of EATERS, which was his first film. First take a look at what I thought of the film, then check out the interview below!
EATERS (2010)Directed by Luca Boni & Marco Ristori
Written by Marco Ristori & Germano Tarricone
Starring: Alex Lucchesi, Rosella Elmi, Gugielmo Favilla, Elisa Faretti, Ricardo Floris, Fabiano Lioi, Claudio Marmugi
Find out more about EATERS here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Reminiscent of machismo oozing zombie flicks like the original DAY OF THE DEAD and the recent LA HORDE, EATERS is a man’s man’s kind of zombie film. The film begins with a series of quick newscasts depicting a world going to shit. Governments fall. People riot in the streets. A chemical weapon is released with terrorist groups lining up to take credit. The Pope blows his brains out so he won’t come back as a zombie. It’s madness and depicted in a frantic and furious pace. Then the story really begins, following a pair of mercenaries, Igor and Allen, who work with a Doc Frankenstein type named Dr. Gyno, as they forage across the countryside in search of the man who is taking credit for all of the zombies (who calls himself the Plague Spreader) and maybe for some of the last women on earth, if they’re lucky. On their way, they run into neo Nazis, a decimated countryside, a midget version of Hitler, and zombies, zombies, zombies.
The thing I like most about EATERS is that it’s not another outbreak movie. The zombie apocalypse is over and done with by the time this film starts. I can understand why folks roll their eyes at zombie films these days, because, for the most part, they’re all about the initial outbreak. They aren’t about what happens next. It’s all about patient zero and the initial spread of the plague. EATERS has seen all of those movies and decides to pick up right after all of those films end, which right off the bat gives it a leg up on most zombie films for ingenuity. Instead of stomping on civilization’s sandcastle for the umpteenth time in cinematic history, EATERS focuses on rebuilding said structure.
Though not a perfect film (the acting is hit and miss and the effects are somewhat unconvincing in parts), there’s a lot of fun to be had with EATERS. The two main characters Igor (Alex Lucchesi) and Allen (Guglielmo Favilla) are gruff and tough, providing an action buddy cop movie feel to the whole thing. If zombie films are to stick around with the frequency they’ve been released in recent years, they have to move past showing us the initial outbreak. Though the market is saturated with zombie films, EATERS is one that stands out for using a different take on the genre.
And now, here’s what EATERS co-director Marco Ristori (who directed the film with Luca Boni) had to say about the film…
AMBUSH BUG: So can you tell our readers in your own words what EATERS is about?
MARCO RISTORI (MR): Well...EATERS is about love, meaning of life, struggle between good and evil...no, we're kidding! EATERS is about zombies, that's it! We really wanted to pay homage to movies we grew up with...action-horror of the '80/'90. Of course we put something more into the movie but it's mainly pure entertainment.
BUG: Where did you film EATERS? Was it difficult to make the locales look like apocalyptic and desolate landscapes?
MR: VERY difficult. We shot the movie in Italy as we're Italian. All the wide shots are digitally retouched to give it the look we wanted to have. As EATERS had a very limited budget, it's been very hard to do all those CGI corrections. But we had no choice! We spent almost five months in our post production studio working 15 hours per day building EATERS' world.
BUG: What steps did you take to make sure EATERS was different from all of the other zombie films out there?
MR: We're not sure it's different!...Despite the very low budget, we made a very good-looking flick; we think we have done a good job with lights and color grading to avoid the amateur look of the most part of indie zombie films. We also put into the movie a lot of humor...EATERS doesn't take itself seriously but at the same time it's not a comedy...it's an hybrid.
BUG: What I liked about this film is that unlike most zombie films, it doesn't deal with the initial outbreak. It focuses on a world already torn apart and is filled with a cast that have seen their fair share of zombies, so that "Oh my god, what is that?" reaction / confusion isn't there. Everyone knows and understands what zombies are in EATERS. Can you comment on this approach versus the standard approach of the outbreak film?
MR: You got it! In EATERS, there's not much difference between zombies and men. We really wanted to create a world wherein zombies are more normal than the living. Men are the real outsiders! What we mostly like in this movie is that it's normal to stop to pee and cut a zombie head with a machete...! This way everything's more funny, isn't it?
BUG: Talk a bit about the special effects in the film please. What was the trickiest shot to do for you?
MR: Special FX are one of the strength of the movie; our FX guys - Carlo Diamantini, David Bracci and Enrico Galli – gave life to the best zombies ever seen in a low budget movie. Our zombies are rotten, decayed, dirty and very very ugly. We have a lot of special FX in the movie but the hardest one it's been the shot in the face during the Nazi target shooting. It's a mix of prosthetic and CGI...we took hours to make it but the result is great.
BUG: What would you consider source material or research for coming up with EATERS?
MR: We have watched a million of zombie flicks, survival flicks, and apocalypse flicks. This has been our research!
BUG: This was not a huge budget film, but it is a very world-spanning film which shows the entire world crumbling apart with the quarantine of most of Europe, terror cells taking credit for the zombie plague, and the Pope shooting himself in the head so he would not come back to life. What did you do to make a film with such a scope with such a limited budget?
MR: We're crazy! Jokes apart...our purpose was to make an epic zombie movie, not the same indie flick with two guys talking and walking into a house and a serial killer...So we sat around a table and we asked to ourselves “Can we really do it?”. The answer is EATERS itself.
BUG: In a lot of ways, this is a sort of buddy cop film with two soldiers making their way across the zombie decimated land on a quest. What went into the making of these two characters?
MR: We love our two main characters...we wanted to have a sort of a little stock leading character: the Tough and the Gloomy...but at the same time we wanted to add a lot of irony and extreme situations to give energy to the movie. Igor (Alex Lucchesi) and Alen (Guglielmo Favilla) live in a world without hope and they're hopeless too but they're also a funny duo.
BUG: Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you came to be a filmmaker? Do you have a filmmaker that you aspire to be like or look up to?
MR: In the past 6 years we made a lot of music promos, commercials and documentaries. EATERS is our first feature film. We love directors such as Romero, Cronenberg, Carpenter, Tarantino, Rodriguez...but if we have to tell you one name that we aspire to be like is without any doubts Uwe Boll. He's a great director and a great businessman at the same time. It's very important to know the market rules; it's not enough to be a good filmmaker anymore!
BUG: Last chance, why should the readers of AICN check out EATERS?
MR: Because is the first Italian zombie movie after Michele Soavi's masterpiece DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE...because we have great zombies, good action and a lot of fun.
BUG: How and when can folks check out your film EATERS?
MR: The movie is already out in UK and Japan and will be out in Germany and Benelux at the end of July. After the summer it will be released in many other territories.
BUG: Thanks, Marco, for taking the time out for this interview! Find out more about EATERS here!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the covers to purchase)!
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Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G