“Mimesis” has the essence of “Night of the Living Dead” in it; what was the genesis of combining “Night of the Living Dead” into “Mimesis?”
“Mimesis” promises the next phase in horror, and ShockYa was glad to get the chance to speak to the director of the film, Doug Schulze, about how he came up with the idea for the film, what he loves about the zombie horror subgenre and where horror is going next. “Mimesis” is now on DVD and Blu-ray.
Doug Schulze: …I’m a horror fan myself and many of my friends and I have been going to horror conventions for years. As of late, we noticed this…sect of horror fans that are kind of growing in extremity. The dress up as their favorite characters and they walk around the conventions acting like them. I was sort of influenced by that. There were two real extreme instances where we saw these guys dressed up as Freddy Kruger and Jason, literally accosting patrons and security came. When I saw that, it sparked the idea for how far can a horror fan go before they go too far. Hence was born the idea “Mimesis.” Fans are tired of watching their favorite horror classics, so they set out to literally live them. Once I had that concept, it was like, ‘Okay, great, now what horror film are these guys going to go and emulate?’ It only took me a second to turn to what would be the terrifying type of film to recreate, which would be a zombie film. Flesh-eating zombies are, I think, much more terrifying to recreate than just some guy running around with a knife.
What do you think about the fact that zombies seem like they have had a resurgence? Why do you think there are so many zombie productions out right now?
Doug Schulze: What’s interesting is our story was written probably two years ago and was made two years ago because it did the convention circuit all last year. We just watched the whole zombie thing explode onto the scene. “Walking Dead” hadn’t started yet and all that…Everything’s cyclical in our society. Horror films are always a sign of the times. I think movies and art reflect society. Whatever’s popular really is just our holding a mirror up to society. I think there are some really deep, dark concerns out there, [such as] where our society is going…the zombie films speak to that, I think. And the fact that they’re so popular, and they’re so gruesome kind of says a lot about our society. I don’t mean it in a negative way, it’s just the sign of the times, if you will. If you’ve looked at the popularity of horror films lately, the number one movie last week [at the time of this interview] was a horror film, and the number one movie a few weeks before was a horror film. So, I think horror is just resonating with people, like it was in the ’80s and in the ’70s.
What do you love about the zombie genre?
Doug Schulze: You know what I really like about the zombie films? I think it goes back to the very thing that influenced Romero. George Romero–it’s not secret that he got his idea from Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend” story, which became the film, “The Last Man on Earth.” There’s something very exciting about the idea of a lone individual left, empty city, and after sunset, zombies comes out. There’s almost a dark, romantic edge to being along on the earth. Just a few a you. And that’s what “The Walking Dead” is and that’s what “The Last Man on Earth” was and…”The Omega Man” and “I Am Legend,” which all sort of [came together] in “Night of the Living Dead.” There’s something very interesting we all like in a way–sometimes, you’ll go to a mall and be like, “I wonder what it’s like to be all alone in this place,” but then there’s something very terrifying that you’re the only one, it’s got to come down to zombies, if you will. So that’s what I find attractive about the genre. It’s really not about the gore, which I could take or leave, honestly.
In the film, there are some pretty gruesome kills. Is there any particular scene that was hard for even you to watch?
Doug Schulze: Yeah–anything that looks real…There were two instances. The graveyard scene–we never quite know how things are going to go. The makeup girl will put the makeup appliance on and rig the pump of blood off camera and then you watch the actors go to work. You’re kind of half-praying that things don’t go wrong when you yell, “Action.” So, you start rolling and then you see this guy take a bite out of a neck, he lifts his head and you’re like, “Wow.” That no only works, but it looks real. It’s really disturbing. So there’s that moment in the graveyard and something that occurs in the basement when one of the zombies gets a hold of a girl’s leg. Those moments, for me, really stood out as I was watching them. I felt a bit of a stomach-turn, if you will. That’s the sign that you know you’ve got something really good, when that happens.
Since “Mimesis” is supposed to be the next level in horror, what do you think will top it?
Doug Schulze: When we say that, I think there’s a lot of truism in that, the genre being pushed to the edge, if you will. The next step, instead of remaking and remaking, which is what Hollywood keeps doing, the idea was what if horror fans booked their favorite films and lived them out. That’s what it means when we say it’s the next evolution in horror. It’s kind of poking fun at the Hollywood remake, saying, “All right, you’re remaking all these great horror movies, but, you know what, we need to just be smarter as filmmakers and evolve.” And throwing it back into the fans’ hands, conceptually, I think it is the next evolution. Beyond that, I’m not 100 percent sure, other than we think there’s a lot more room to explore with the “Mimesis” idea…We have a really wonderful follow-up to “Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead.” That’s our next stage of evolution, if you will.