“Dead Before Dawn 3D” is an adventure-filled horror-comedy that’s on the brink of bringing a wave of zemons (yep, that’s right zemons, or zombie-demon hybrids) to the United States. Director April Mullen and screenwriter Tim Doiron sat down before a screening of their film at San Diego Comic Con to talk indie filmmaking, and of course, zemons.
As Mullen aptly describes it, “Dead Before Dawn 3D” is “sort of like “Tucker and Dale vs Evil” meets “Zombieland”. A bunch of college kids break an urn, cause a curse and they only have 24-hours to reverse it.” The project, which was shot in a mere 20-days in fully stereoscopic 3D, is the first Canadian-made 3D film, and one that Mullen and Doiron sought to make completely immersive and entertaining for audiences.
”We first came up with the idea, oh four years ago, when 3D was first starting to become really popular in Canada, and we noticed that it had never been done for an independent film. We decided to look into it and we said, ‘You know what, we can do this.’ We knew we wanted to make something sort of genre anyway and…landed on ‘Dead Before Dawn’,” Doiron explained.
Their desire to bring a fun new element to the horror-comedy genre led to the birth of zemons. “Zombies are amazing, but they’ve been done so well for so long that we thought we might as well put a fresh spin in there. So we added a little bit of demon…to make them cunning, fast [and] manipulative,” Mullen said.
The pair cited genre classics like “Shaun of the Dead” as one source of information, but also noted that filmmakers who are really involved with the creative process–a la Tim Burton, the Coen brothers or David Lynch–informed their process when creating “Dead Before Dawn 3D”.
“We knew we wanted to make something that was fun, engaging and could be open to a wide audience,” Doiron said, of the considerations that went into finding the right balance between horror, adventure and comedy. An exercise that Mullen equated to a “tiptoe”.
“We want it to be the type of movie where [the audience] can throw popcorn at the screen and laugh,” Doiron explained.
“There was a great camaraderie overall so that just played into the sort of spirit that we wanted, while at the same time leaving gaps for the scares here or there or everywhere,” he added. Mullen agreed that the closeness among the cast and crew was a real boon to the success of the film. “A lot of times we only had one take…and everybody just soared through it and put their heart and love and passion in–there’s a lot of zemon passion in the whole film from beginning to end. Without [the cast] there is no momentum behind the film.”
The pair will next be working on an action-thriller, which they plan on shooting this fall for release in 2014.
“Dead Before Dawn 3D” is currently available on video on demand, and will be unleashing the zemon plague on theaters starting Sept. 6, and additionally available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download everywhere on Oct. 1. Mullen offered up a few words of advice for moviegoers ready to take in the adventure. “It’s like you’re on a bloody Winnebago…just hop on board and enjoy the ride.”
And most importantly of all, a survival tip.
“If you see a zemon, don’t be afraid to seduce it. Seduce the hell out of it, and it will become your slave.”