“My Hairline’s Not the Same” A Chat With the makers of “Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer”

by on June 25, 2012  •  In Interviews

Every now and then fans of a certian genre’ or subgenre’ can make a film that absolutely blows the films that were their very inspiration out of the water. “Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer” is a Troma inspired flick that blows many of the Troma flicks further out of the water than a sharks skull after Sheriff Brody shoots the oxygen tank. I’d like to respectfully, yet angrily add that these include films I worked on.
Here’s the trailer, but you might want to wear a helmet when you watch it so it doesn’t make a mess WHEN IT BLOWS YOUR MIND!

 
The tagline of the film is “let’s ROCK and BOWL in this outrageous horror comedy! The 1st Zombie movie NOT to feature any zombies!” Which is totally true, but I’m not going to tell you why….in fact I’m going to end the review of this movie with the simple statement, if you don’t get a chance to see this film or simply choose not to, then I’m glad you’ll one day be dead and I hope you burn in Hell!
After watching the movie I immediately sent some questions to the writer/directors Zack Biens and Richard Taylor, these may contain some slight spoilers but I think if anything they’ll make you want to see Atom even more. I’m not sure if David here at Couch Cutter even has a rating system because I don’t read this shitty site, but whatever the highest rating is, its that one….on to da interview!
 
CouchCutter: This film features a few pretty well known Denver based indie film people. In addition to you two, I specifically mean Zach Helm, and Tim Johnson, how did you all hook up?

Richard:
Well, Tim Johnson has been a really close friend of ours since college, where we met. He wrote a few feature films in college and when we were going to write Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer we knew we had to get Tim to help write it.
He also is an amazing editor and musician! if you saw our film “The Misled Romance of Cannibal Girl and Incest Boy” Tim did all the music and edited that! so we had to bring him back for Atom! Tim scored the film as though he had a 30 piece orchestra! Not to many indie “zombie” movies out there are doing this, it’s amazing what Tim did! and speaking of the music in the movie you can hear/buy the soundtrack now at our bandcamp: http://atomtheamazingzombiekillersoundtrack.bandcamp.com/

Zack:
Zach Helm we have seen driving around here in town, in his bat winged hearse “Alexi” and always thought he would make a great character in a movie! We finally ran into him at a local screening of “Return of the Ghost busters” a local made fan film in Denver and asked him if he would be interested in playing the bad guy in Atom… and the rest is history!

2: The opening sequence animation was AWESOME, how was that done?

Richard:
Why thank you! that means a lot to me since a lot of time and energy went into making the opening animation! We had an amazing theme song already by The Radioactive Chicken Heads! so we knew we had to make something just as amazing to go over the song. I love animated openings like you see in a lot of 80s-90s films so we wanted to do something like that! My first love is animation so I am pretty good in a program called “flash” so I used flash to do all the animation.
I wanted more though! so me and Tim did some stop motion as well … making zombies out of clay and moving them frame by frame taking a picture every time.. i think people now a days know how stop motion works, ha.
The opening of the film should suck you in to the film and leave you in your seat wanting more ! and I think we accomplished that!

CC: A few of the bowling scenes, particularly the strikes seemed to be in one shot…is the cast just that good at bowling?

Richard:
I hate in movies where they CUT and the person makes a basket, or hits a home run, or gets a strike, so in our movie we made our actors actually bowl and if they had to make a strike we sat there until they did! So while your watching the movie it makes you feel like “wow, these characters really know how to bowl!” but that isn’t the case at all … no one on set was a good bowler… and it took a lot of takes to get Strikes. One shot took over 50 takes where a character places his bowl on the ground snaps his fingers and makes his bowling ball go down the lane all by its self to make a strike. It was pretty time consuming but I think it looks better. We even had Lloyd Kaufman bowling as well but he never got a strike! haha.. so we had to do the “Cut Away” for him.

Zack
We shot late night/overnights at the bowling alley. So some nights it would be 4 in the morning and we would be waiting for the actors to get a strike. Sleep deprivation made for better bowlers.

CC: There were a ton of great movie posters in the background for Troma flicks and I saw a couple for some of our fellow Tromites own indie films like your “Cannibal Girl and Incest Boy” and Caleb Emerson’s “Die You Zombie Bastards” and there were some in the theatre scene I assume were just made up. One of those was “Pimp Cop”. I noticed the badge on the poster featured the seal of the State of Georgia….Is that a made up movie, and if so why was that badge chosen?

Richard:
Haha.. wow! great eye! Well “Pimp Cop’ originally was going to be a character in the movie, but Tim Johnson our co writer did not think it was very funny. We had a few arguments about keeping pimp cop in the script or getting rid of him… we would go back and forth on pimp cop..but ultimately we just wrote him out.. and Tim was probably right haha he really wouldn’t have worked in the movie.. so just as a homage to the character we made a fake movie poster “Pimp Cop: hes the crime and the law” in the background. The state of Georgia thing was just the best badge I found doing a goggle search on Police Badges ha.

Zack:
I think we should make pimp cop our next feature film! We could shoot it in Georgia, just to make the badge accurate…now if we could only find news anchor who lives out there who would want to act in one of our movies.

CC: I understand if you can’t go into the story, but in the end of the credits there’s one that says No Thanks: Jeff Mintor…can you explain that?

Richard:
haha no I can… We originally had Jeff as one of the main characters in the film. We had just one more day of shooting with him, when he calls me up and tells me that he has to quit the film. I started begging him not to quit! we only had one more day with him! but he said that he had to start thinking about his career and life goals or something so he quit the movie. I even offered to pay him (keep in mind No one got paid for this production) but he insisted that he could not finish the project. So we replaced him with Tim Johnson! Writer/Editor/Composer/and now Actor! Who did an awesome job! but the down side is we had to go back and re-film EVERYTHING we had already filmed with Tim, so that put a damper on our production and earned Jeff a “NO THANKS” in our movie.

Zack:
You can see Jeff in the very first trailer that we released http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fesBFj2Ah4. Tim was a much better casting choice in the long run.

Richard:
…and better looking.

This movie took 4 years to make and get done…

CC: why did it take so long?

Richard:
haha well question 5 answered that a bit, but other then actors quitting on us.. we lost locations as well. The bowling alley we originally shot in wanted money now, money we didn’t have so we had to find another bowling alley. After finding another alley and filming for a while it was all of a sudden foreclosed by the bank! so we had to find yet another bowling alley to film in. All in all we shot at a total of 5 bowling alleys! all in the film is seamlessly edited to look like 1 bowling ally.

Zack
We also had a very large cast, so coordinating every one’s schedule when you are not paying them can be difficult.

Richard:
ya our next movie will just consist of Me and Zack.

Zack:
We work for real cheep…just sandwiches an blow jays.

CC: what was it like working on a movie for such a long time?

Richard:
My hair line is not the same, if I had a gun I would have used it. haha It was tough … everyday for 4 years all I could think about was ATOM! ATOM! ATOM! ATOM! Some days were good but then some days were bad. I was going through some tough personal issues as well. We shot the whole movie on HD so all the footage was on Hard Drives… my biggest fear was one day we would lose all the footage, we had everything backed up but then there is that one stupid file that you missed and have to look for everywhere! its very stressful! to say the least.

Zack:
Its tough to keep yourself motivated on the same thing everyday for 4 years, but we all knew we had a great movie on our hands.

Richard:
I can tell you that it was the best feeling ever to finally have it done! it was a chapter of my life that needed to be closed a long time ago and I am really exited for people to see the movie!

Zack:
There were plenty of times when everything was going wrong on the movie, but our love and passion for the project is what made us stick with it.

Richard:
Don’t forget to mention you were in a car accident Zack…

Zack
Oh yeah I was in a bad car accident! and had to learn how to walk again, seeing as I broke my leg in half. That slowed things down a bit.

Richard:
but now you have a metal rod in your leg! as opposed to up your butt! but no really Zack did have a bad car accident and broke his leg that really sucked! I could have lost my best buddy!

Zack:
that would have put a real damper on the production.

CC: any advice for other indie filmmakers that may be caught in a similarly time consuming production?

Richard:
Never stop thinking about your movie! you must Eat, drink and Live your Production.. Forget about sleeping and eating right if you can’t give 100% then don’t bother, You are your movie! Be always ready for something to go wrong.. because everything will go wrong.. if everything went right then everyone would be making movies, at a certain time I just stopped counting all the thing that went wrong.. I just took the bad with the good.

Zack:
Ya Don’t quit. Things will seem bleak at times, and your vision might not be the same as when you envisioned the idea. But the second you stop making your movie is the second you are just some average dude working the 9 to 5 just to go home and watch the local sporting events. You are a filmmaker, and that’s something to brag about. Even after your movie took 4 years to make.

CC: Will Lloyd pick this up for distribution?

Zack:
Were doing the festival circuit so were going to see what is out there.

Richard:
but uncle Lloydie said if everyone says “no” he will be in the wings!

CC: Anything else you’d like to add?

Richard:
Just please if you have seen the movie go to our IMDB page and give us a rating and Review! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1560765/ “LIKE” our face book page http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo and just talk about the movie as much as you can on the Internet! the more buzz we can get on the film the better the chances are you will be able to see the film! Festivals wont play a movie no one is talking about, so lets get some buzz going for “Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer!”

Zack:
Also check out our official web site for screenings and Atom merch at http://atomtheamazingzombiekiller.com/

Chace Ambrose

Chace Ambrose

Chace Ambrose is a handsome millionare, he owns a mansion and a yacht. When not sexing up supermodels he is a contributor to couchcutter.com