Interview with Dead Snow writer and director Tommy Wirkola
21st Jul 09
Writer/director Tommy Wirkola has crafted a zombie movie with a twist. First of all it’s the most fun the undead have been since Shaun of the Dead and secondly these aren’t just any old run-of-the-mill zombies, but Nazi zombies to boot!
It’s nasty, it’s gory and all at a break-neck pace and it’s showing at this year’s Frightfest before being released on DVD/Blu-Ray end of August. Say hello to the guy calling the shots on this year’s horror delight Dead Snow.
EatmyBrains (EMB) - Given the parody nature of your first outing Kill Buljo: The Movie and the gore-laced giggles in Dead Snow would it be fair to say that you have a leaning more towards making the audience laugh with your movies?
Tommy Wirkola (TW) – Yes you could say that. I mean Kill Buljo: The Movie was a straight out spoof, like The Naked Gun films and Top Secret. So when we wanted to make a horror/splatter movie, we wanted to keep a little bit of that humour. We wanted Dead Snow to feel like an Eighties horror movie, where you could combine an enormous amount of blood and guts with laughs.
EMB -Where did the idea for zombie Nazis come from?
TW – Well there are many reasons for us making a Nazi-zombie movie. First we just wanted to be first in the whole of Scandinavia to make a zombie movie so when we were about to sit down and write the actual script, we started thinking ‘What is more evil than a zombie’? A NAZI-ZOMBIE!
We have a really strong war-history up in the north of Norway from World War Two, so it was fun to combine actual events with our own story. And you know Nazis have always been the ultimate villains in movies. Combine that with zombies and you really get something that NO-ONE would sympathise with. So we knew that we could kill these creatures in any way we wanted, and no-one would feel sympathy for them.
EMB - Friday the 13th and The Evil Dead are name checked in Dead Snow, and the film geek has a Braindead T-shirt on. I take it you're a big fan of these movies. What other horror movies are you a big fan of?
TW – Well I'm a big fan of the Eightie's horror movies, movies that were fun AND scary, like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist, Gremlins (sort of a horror), movies like that. And also serious ones like The Exorcist, The Omen, Rosemary's Baby, John Carpenter’s The Thing...yeah the list is long.
EMB - The tension is well maintained in Dead Snow, would you ever consider doing a full blown straight horror?
TW - Yes, absolutely. The only thing I see myself NOT doing is a serious drama-piece, not yet at least.
EMB - Will we be seeing our Nazi zombie chums back in another movie?
TW - We have been talking about Dead Snow 2. We have a great plot for it. Our "world" is set up now in Dead Snow, so that would mean that we could go crazy from the first frame in a sequel. There is a possibility that our Nazi-zombies may start to invade the north of Norway again in Dead Snow 2.
EMB - Prior to Kill Buljo: The Movie, you co-directed and acted in a seven minute movie called Remake where the leads are forced to watch crappy remakes of popular movies. This sounds like something that could work as a full-feature especially given how film fans feel about movies being constantly remade. Is this something you would consider?
TW – Well we made that movie when I still was studying, and yes, it has a good idea BUT, it has kind of been done in Be Kind Rewind.
EMB - What can you tell us about Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and in what capacity are you involved?
TW – Well that was an idea I had ever since I studied back in Australia. It's basically Hansel and Gretel, 15 years later, and they have grown up to be merciless, kick-ass witch-hunters. Gary Sanchez Productions are producing and it is set up at Paramount. I am writing/directing. Right now I am in finalizing the first draft, and can't really say much. I would describe it as an action/adventure/horror with a Sam Raimi edge to it.
EMB - Will you be attending the screening of Dead Snow at this year's Frightfest in London and doing one of those little Question and Answer sessions after?
Tommy Wirkola - Hopefully yes.
EMB – Great stuff! I will see you there possibly. Thanks for the interview Tommy and here’s wishing Dead Snow the continued success it deserves.
1st Nov 04 Above all though, it is the relationship between John and Laura Baxter which is the film’s central focus throughout, and the gradual disintegration of their relationship amidst a haze of grief.