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Sam Drog

Sam: "I tried to rip off everyone with this film".

Conducted by Phil Davies Brown
November 28th, 2004

Part 1...
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As our American friends finish off the leftovers from Thanksgiving, and everyone starts to think about buying turkey, chicken and other birds for Christmas dinner, I decided to gross you all out with a great exclusive.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to cover a new and exciting horror movie in depth. By that I mean that I chatted to the majority of the cast and crew of the now in post-production, killer zombie chicken movie 'Zombeak'.

You might think it in poor taste, but aren't horror films supposed to shock and disgust?

To kick things off, I chatted to director Sam Drog about his love for the genre and his experiences on the set of his first feature film.

Sam was truly hilarious, so I'm sure you will all enjoy reading the interview.

When did you first become interested in film?
Really young, like five years old maybe. I remember when Tobe Hooper's Salem's Lot was on television, and that guy who is in all those Clint Eastwood monkey movies had been turned into a vampire. I had to run from the room, it freaked me out!

Are you a fan of the horror genre?
Do they make other kinds of movies?

What are some of your favourite horror movies and how have they influenced your work on Zombeak?
I tried to rip off everyone with this film. No grave was left un-plundered. My favorite horror film is the original Carnival of Souls, but that movie is nowhere to be found in Zombeak. This movie stems from my love of everything John Waters, everything gross, everything wild and campy. The old Batman TV show is a big influence. Also the Edgar Allen Poe movies that Roger Corman did in the sixties. Oh yeah, and the old Dark Shadows soap opera.

Did you go to film school?
Yeah, big waste of time. I learned more about real filmmaking in a week of Zombeak than I did in four years of film school.

How did you get started in the business?
By misspending my youth in front of a television set, and then growing up around Trekkies, then finding myself as an adult with limited real world knowledge, I make movies because I have no marketable skills. Knowing all the directors to the Friday the 13th films doesn't mean jack when you're interviewing for a job.

Killer zombie chickens on set of Zombeak!

Is this your first feature?
Yeah, I made a heap of shorts through out high school and college. Kiddy pool stuff when compared to making a feature.

Where did the idea for the story come from?
I saw this chicken once at a petting zoo that all the other chickens where afraid of. He stood by himself, away from the flock and acted like someone with schizophrenia, clucking to himself like he was hearing voices and what not. That chicken looked insane! He had demons man!

How did you find your cast?
Connie Allman is our casting director. She put out ads in local magazines and on the Georgia Film Hotline. There is a huge talent pool here in Atlanta. We had a lot of people to choose from.

A couple of cast members have worked in the genre before, namely Daryl Wilcher and Tracy Yarkoni but the rest of the cast seem to be unknowns. How are the cast performing and have they surprised you?
Every time I say action something surprising happens. Our actors are insane, and are willing to try anything. They have really embraced what the movie is trying to be and are SO DEDICATED to seeing that it is a success. I love new people who are out to knock the world dead. Everyday they are out there taking risks for the film, I love them all.

Is the shooting still on schedule to wrap this weekend?
We are shooting until the end of July, and one weekend in August. Mainly pick-ups and stuff with the chicken.

How has the shoot been? Any major problems or just the usual minor ones?
Depends on who you ask. The more experienced crew members are amazed at how much we get in a day and how awesome the dailies look. The cast has been having a ball and there is a real camaraderie amongst everyone involved. My mind is dazed though. All I think is next shot, next shot, next shot. I leave the set covered in blood and bile and in a complete state of exhaustion. According to everyone else though, things are going great!

Zombeak! - "It's a low budget compared
to Waterworld".

What equipment are you using? Is it a low budget digital effort?
It's a low budget compared to Waterworld, but sky high compared to Terror Toons. We are shooting in 24p DV. A lot of the equipment is donated to the production by people who are just excited to be working on something this weird.

How was the film financed? I noticed that you are looking for donations; care to tell us about that?
We had a few private investors come out of the woodwork that chipped in. The donation feature on the website is just a way to cover meal costs and so people could say they have their name in the credits of a horror film, kind of what Peter Jackson did for the Lord of the Rings special editions. So yeah, if you want your name in the credits, visit the website, make a donation, the crew appreciates it when I feed them.

What are your hopes for a rating and release?
I want a huge premiere at the Mann's Chinese theater in L.A., complete with limos and paparazzi. Seriously, I'd like midnight screenings at drive-ins and small theaters. This movie would create a black hole of madness if it was ever played at a multi-plex. I have no idea what it will be rated. Some people say NC-17, some people say R. I have no clue. All objectivity left a long time ago.

What do you expect to work on after you are finished with the film? A sequel perhaps?
If people like this one, hell yeah a sequel! I'll make a million of them. I think the world needs a killer chicken franchise that just goes on forever and ever until the end of time. A cartoon, a breakfast cereal, oven mitts, day calendars! I would love to lap the Jason, Freddy, and Bond films. Zombeak Part 48: Chickens on Ice!

"Thank you ever so much for taking part in this interview Sam.
And we wish you the very best of luck with Zombeak!"

Read Part 1:
Sam Drog Interview
right here >>
Read Part 2:
Jennifer Cascio Interview
right here >>
Read Part 3:
Melissa Gilbert Interview
right here >>
Read Part 4:
Nathan Standridge Interview
right here >>
Read Part 5:
Adam Morris Interview
right here >>
Read Part 6:
Tracy Yarkoni Interview
right here >>
Read Part 7:
Jason Von Stein Interview
right here >>
Read Part 8:
Barry Bishop Interview
right here >>
Read Part 9:
Jimmy Lee Smith Interview
right here >>
Read Part 10:
S. C. Caruso Interview
right here >>
Read Part 11:
Connie Allman Interview
right here >>
Read Part 12:
Wes Campbell Interview
right here >>
Read Part 13:
Hannah Mueller Interview
right here >>
Read Part 14:
Lane Morlote Interview
right here >>


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