Buffalo Dreams 2013: Director Brett Kelly on “MY FAIR ZOMBIE” and more


When this writer first met Brett Kelly in 2010, it was at the first Buffalo Screams Horror Festival. Throughout the year before, I had become a fan of his work, enjoying the tongue-in-cheek BONESETTER series and IRON SOLDIER, almost solely on the performance of Joe Estevez. It’s exciting then that Kelly returns to Buffalo this month with horror comedy MUSICAL, MY FAIR ZOMBIE.

MY FAIR ZOMBIE—a unique contribution to the contribution to the undead subgenre should be enough to pique anyone’s interest, zombie fan or not—is a parody of the famed musical, akin to Seth Grahame-Smith’s zombie parody of PRIDE & PREJUDICE..

“The idea came about when I thought of writing a comedy sketch about a zombie learning ‘The rain in Spain’, when, of course, they can only say brains (taking our cue from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD),” says Kelly. It struck me as funny, and the germ of the idea was born. Once ideas started rolling, it seemed like a fun idea to make it a musical.”

MyFairZombieFeatuTypically working with miniscule budgets, something not friendly to period pieces, Kelly took extra care so that the credibility of MY FAIR ZOMBIE need not be tarnished.  “The problem in doing a period piece, is that everyone, including extras, need to be costumed, quite an undertaking. Our costume head, Cynthia Sanoy took on the task. The production value was something we tried to achieve from the get go. The movie was filmed in ten days, but it was a year and a half of planning to make sure it all looked good.”

Meanwhile, choreography proved to be another challenge. The original choreographer bailed out before the filming of a scene. Thankfully, Debbie Millett, a renowned dance choreographer, came in at the last minute. “Debbie came in like a trooper and ran our actors through the numbers like a champ.”

Following Buffalo Dreams, Kelly will soon reveal his take on the neo-Grindhouse wave with HOMICYDE, which mixes the slasher with the likes of Hell’s Angels biker films. He explains, “I was asked by several companies to make what they described as a ‘grindhouse’ style movie, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I was going to just pitch the movie at first, but my wife was about to have our second child, so I thought I’d just throw caution to the wind and film it while I had the chance. It was fun. iIt’s designed to look like a cheesy 80’s style film and I think we’ve accomplished that. A couple of different distributors are interested in it, so that should come out next year.”

The filmmaker is also entertaining thoughts of returning to THE BONESETTER, remaking one of his earliest features. “I want to make a genuinely scary movie. Most of my films are tongue –in-cheek, with this one I want to scare people. When I made the first BONESETTER, it was the days of SOV (shot on video) movies, and the cameras and effects were limited. Today the sky’s the limit. We hope to film that one in the summer if some funding comes through.”

And of what a MY FAIR ZOMBIE transition to the stage? “Funny you should ask. Plans are afoot to do just that. Stay tuned.”

MY FAIR ZOMBIE plays the Buffalo Dreams International Fantastic Film Festival in Block #8 on Friday, November 8. For more, visit the festival’s official site.

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About the author
Mackenzie Lambert
Mackenzie Lambert is a writer based out of Buffalo, NY. He's contributed to Penny Blood, Pantechnicon (UK), and Buffalo Rising. He's also made guest appearances on the Way of the Buffalo podcast and X-Strike Studios Triple Radio.
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