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Exclusive Q&A, Merch; New Clip: “THE WALKING DECEASED”

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Loyal FANGORIA readers are likely familiar with THE WALKING DECEASED, the upcoming parody of zombie media that guarantees a bloodier, more absurd product than mainstream spoofs could provide. And with the world premiere of the film coming at this Friday’s Days of the Dead convention in Atlanta, FANGORIA has a new batch of exclusives on the project, as well as a first look at the film itself!

First up, FANGORIA has an exclusive look at some WALKING DECEASED merch, which will only be available at the upcoming Days of the Dead premiere. Fans who attend the screening of THE WALKING DECEASED at the Days of the Dead Convention will get both a WALKING DECEASED T-shirt, beer koozie, and collectible mini-poster for free! You can see the designs for that macabre merch below:

Coming up next is the first ever clip from THE WALKING DECEASED, which shows star Dave Sheridan as “Sheriff Lincoln” as he has to kill his very first zombie. But before we get to that, Sheridan, a genre vet of both THE DEVIL’S REJECTS and SCARY MOVIE, spoke exclusively to FANGORIA about the upcoming film, as well as what creepy places he’s heading next…

FANGORIA: How much of THE WALKING DEAD did you watch to research your take on the “Rick Grimes” character in THE WALKING DECEASED?

DAVE SHERIDAN: I actually didn’t watch any of THE WALKING DEAD to spoof Rick Grimes because I was already locked into THE WALKING DEAD from day one. I’ve been a very big fan of the show and I’ve been detail-oriented as it is, since I like to break the show down. I’m into the Bible, and I love all the Bible references that are in THE WALKING DEAD; every time they introduce a name from the Bible on the show, I always go back to whatever book of the bible the name originated. It’s really cool to see how all the corresponding parts of THE WALKING DEAD match things from the Bible, and the show is a lot smarter than we give it credit for. It’s almost a shame that we’re spoofing it, but oh well.

There were specific moments in THE WALKING DECEASED that do make fun of moments from THE WALKING DEAD, and I’d go back to make sure I could get certain things right, like having to say “Carl” all the time. But since I already watched the show, I was familiar with what could be funny about being the overemotional Sheriff, but I’ll say the “Carl” thing is getting out there. When a zombie finally says its first words on THE WALKING DEAD, it will be “Carl.”

FANGORIA: As a fan of THE WALKING DEAD, were you excited to get to do your spoof version of Rick?

SHERIDAN: Yeah. Actually, since a lot of my friends are horror fans, I have friends who are really into collector’s items. One of my friends is specifically into memorabilia; he’s got a SONS OF ANARCHY vest signed by the entire cast and he’s a really big collector of THE WALKING DEAD’s stuff. The guy works in Hollywood and he’s able to track down a lot of different props and stuff, and eventually, he found a real Sheriff’s hat from the set of THE WALKING DEAD that was worn on the show.

At the time, I had no idea he had the hat because when he got it, he texted me a picture of Rick Grimes off of the internet with nothing else. Later that night, I got a call from the producers of THE WALKING DECEASED, and they said, “Hey, Dave, we’re doing this zombie spoof movie and we want you to be Sheriff Lincoln, who is like the Rick character from THE WALKING DEAD.” And that was really weird, since I had gotten texted a picture of the character for seemingly no reason just a few hours beforehand. It was really odd, but when they asked me, I said, “Absolutely.”

I am a big believer in serendipity, so I called my friend and said, “Man, I just got offered this leading role in THE WALKING DECEASED as the Sheriff character and I did it because you sent me that photo.” And he said, “I didn’t just send you that photo; I sent you the photo of the hat that I bought.” And so I said, “I didn’t get a photo of a hat!” But the upside of that is I borrowed that real hat in the movie, so when you see me wearing a Sheriff’s hat in THE WALKING DECEASED, it’s a legitimate Sheriff’s hat from THE WALKING DEAD.

FANGORIA: Spoof movies and parodies seem to carry a negative stigma with a lot of horror fans. As someone who has been in SCARY MOVIE, two HAUNTED HOUSE movies and now THE WALKING DECEASED, how do you respond to that criticism?

SHERIDAN: Look, I’m not a fan of spoofs. I do spoofs, but I’m not a fan of spoofs. But it’s not like I’ve been of 24 or 10 spoofs; I’ve been in 3 other spoofs out of the countless number of spoofs out there. There’s gotta be 40 or 50 spoof movies in the last few years alone if you look at the DVD market. Most of them truly do suck, which is why I don’t do them all, and I know there are a lot of people who really carry a disdain for spoofs.

Those are the people who roll their eyes and go, “Oh, well it’s just going to be a lot of lame pop culture references and they’re gonna have One Direction come out and be zombies.” But THE WALKING DECEASED is not that type of movie; we didn’t even have the money to put in the pop culture references in the first place. THE WALKING DECEASED is more character driven; we definitely play caricatures of zombie culture archetypes but the story is much leaner than spoofs that bounce around all over the place. We could have done more with it, but we didn’t have the money.

FANGORIA: Even though time and money is short on THE WALKING DECEASED, was there still room to improvise on set?

SHERIDAN: Absolutely, but that’s not just the nature of THE WALKING DECEASED; that’s the nature of comedy. I would hate to be a part of any comedy set where people weren’t allowed to be in the moment and throw the script away. The performers know what need to be said, so why not be in the moment and roll with it? We came up with some stuff while rehearsing for scenes, but I have a very hard time memorizing lines anyway.

I have a second grade reading comprehension so the truth is that I don’t read scripts. I show up to set with the sides in my pocket, and then I pretend to look at it but I really don’t know what the hell I’m looking at. So then I go, “Let’s do it. Let’s make stuff up.” So there definitely was improvisation, and probably more with me than with anyone else, only because I come from Second City and it’s one of my stronger comedic tools in the first place.

FANGORIA: Do you think having that improvised rapport gives THE WALKING DECEASED an edge over typical spoof fare?

SHERIDAN: I think so. Improvisation really helps bond an ensemble cast. The film really was an ensemble picture, especially by the end. By the time we were done shooting, we had bonded a lot more and I think that shows on the screen.

FANGORIA: What was the most fun scene to film? What was the bloodiest scene to film?

SHERIDAN: The most fun scene to film was the one where I’m naked in the hospital and struggle to put on my boots. I like those moments that are uncomfortable for everyone who has to be there because they’re shooting. The camera guy has to be there, the sound guy has to be there, the script supervisor has to be there. In fact, it annoyed the script supervisor because she would have to pay attention to me and be like, “Dave, your nuts were pressed down against your right leg in that shot, so the shot won’t match.”

The bloodiest scene, for me, was the climactic battle scene. We had to be very careful because we only had about one take with every gore shot, so I had to do a scene with this giant guy where I bash his brains out and I remember being so worried in case I messed up. But we did it and it worked, and now, I’m pretty sure THE WALKING DECEASED has the largest zombie in zombie movie history.

FANGORIA: Do you have any other projects coming up soon?

SHERIDAN: Yes, I’m actually getting ready to direct my first film this spring called HALLOWEEN PARTY. It’ll be more of a horror comedy than a spoof, but it should be really fun, and I’ll have more information on that project soon.

You can check out the first clip for THE WALKING DECEASED below. You can catch the World Premiere of THE WALKING DECEASED at Days of the Dead in Atlanta, which starts this Friday; you can get tickets here. THE WALKING DEAD hits limited theaters and VOD on March 20th, 2015.

 

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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