On the run up to it’s UK release, Love Horror catches up with Michael McKiddy, who plays the lead role in Deadheads, one of the most hotly anticipated horror/comedy films of 2011.
Q: Tell us briefly about Mike Kellerman…
A: Mike is a high strung hopeless romantic who knows what he wants and goes after it. Things might not have gone the way he initially planned though when he was alive, so in an odd way, waking up as a zombie gives him a second chance at life.
Q: If you were ‘turned’ do you think you’d have the same resolve?
A: If I was ‘turned’ into a coherent zombie like in the movie, I’d prolly be a little more like the Brent character in all honesty, I’d embrace my zombie-self and do my best to have fun with it. Except the more I think about it, finding people appetizing to munch on and smelling like rotten whale ass might be kinda rough to get used to.
Q: Was Deadheads your first brush with the horror genre?
A: First off, I have to stress that “DeadHeads” is so much more than just a straight up horror film, it has elements of every single genre in it (I like to say it’s “The Goonies” meets “Shaun of the Dead”). With that said, I hate to admit that I’ve been in a few horror movies in the past that are just flat out terrible, lol. It’s a tricky genre to get right, I feel that very few filmmakers have actually succeeded at it. But the Pierce Brothers grew up idolizing horror films, and “DeadHeads” is a love letter in so many ways to some of the greatest horror classics.
Q: What was it like working with the Pierce brothers?
A: I honestly hope to work with them on a million more projects; they’re not only the most talented directors/writers I’ve ever worked with, but they’re the nicest most down-to-earth guys on the planet. Brett and Drew live and breathe filmmaking, and because of that it’s a total blast to work with them. I cannot wait to see where their careers are at in 5 to 10 years; they have so many amazing ideas floating around in their heads.
When I recently watched “Super 8” I kept thinking “Brett and Drew are gonna make a movie like this one day.”
Q: And was the film as fun to work on as it is to watch?
A: Oh man, it was an incredible experience and so much more. It makes me beyond happy to hear you say it was fun to watch, that was our goal. I’m so proud/honored to have been a part of it all. In all honesty it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, mentally and physically, but we were all laughing and smiling from the minute we got on set till the minute that we left; everyone was so motivated and excited the entire time to make the movie the best it could be. We truly became a family and I think that shines through in the film as a whole.
Photos by Keven Carter, Car-N-Art
Q: Have you ever been on a big road trip?
A: I’ve been on a bunch actually, there’s nothing I love more than hopping in the car with a few friends and seeing where the road takes you.
My best friend and I used to literally name a random state that we’ve never been to and then we’d drop everything we were doing at that exact moment and drive there. I highly recommend doing that. I’m long overdue for a spontaneous road trip actually, I’ve never been to Colorado come to think of it…
Q: Zombies, should we pity them, fear them, or just shoot them in the head?
A: Yikes, I don’t wanna say the wrong thing and offend any zombies out there. I think it depends on the zombie, but most zombies are freakin’ jerks and just want to eat your brains, so I say fear those zombies AND shoot those bastards in the head immediately. Except Mike, Brent, and Cheese from “DeadHeads,” if you were to run into them, they’re good zombies, so just hand them a beer (well, Cheese might try to eat you at first, but he means well).
Q: Do you like the horror genre generally?
A: I’m not just saying it for the sake of this interview, but it’s hands down one of my favorite genres. Whenever Halloween roles around I become a giddy child. I’m obsessed with the paranormal and would talk your ear off about it if we had more time. Because I’m constantly watching horror films and reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz novels, I have crazy vivid nightmares weekly where I’m in a haunted house or dealing with/fighting some sort of crazy monster/ghost, and I’m not gonna lie, as scared as I might be when i wake up, I freaking love those dreams, lol.
Q: Can you remember the first horror movie that you watched?
A: “The Changeling” starring George C. Scott, which I will still argue is one of the scariest movies ever and it shocks me because no one ever talks about it! The scene where George C. Scott plays back the tape recorder and listens to the audio from the séance will haunt me forever. Then shortly after that I watched “The Gate,” remember that movie?! My life was forever changed after that little gem.
Q: As you have spent a fair amount of time being a zombie, you must know a bit about them, right?
A: Before we shot “DeadHeads” I had thought I knew everything about zombies because I’ve seen almost every zombie movie ever made at least ten times, but once you sit in the make-up chair for a few hours and put on that sticky blood-soaked wardrobe, you really learn to appreciate their daily struggle more. I feel like if I met a zombie now we’d have a great conversation. Well, we’d both be saying “brains” and/or grunting at each other a lot, but I feel like after pretending to be one of them for
a few months, I could relate to them a little more. Or not.
Q: How about a zombie pop quiz?
A: Bring it fool!
Zombie Pop quiz
Q: Your character loses a limb in the movie. If you were the walking dead which limb would you miss
A: I’ll keep this PG and say that if I lost an arm like in the film I’d be a little crushed cause I’ve been playing guitar for over seventeen years (a few songs I wrote and recorded with my band RIGHT ON WAGNER are featured in the movie by the way! Especially my song “Say Hi,” which plays throughout various parts of the movie, including the end credits), and to never get to rock out again would suck big time.
Q: If you were to take part in a ‘grossest zombie’ contest (their equivalent to a beauty pageant I guess)
what would you do to make yourself look particularly horrifying?
A: I’d just wear a mask with Rush Limbaugh’s face on it, that’s pretty horrifying, right?
Q: Who would you ‘turn’ first?
A: I don’t think it’s in me to zombie-bite another person – thus technically murdering them, haha – so I’ll say that I’d bite my dog. She’s a 10 year old boxer and the best dog ever. And plus, then she could fetch me brains to eat.
Q: What other things will you guys be doing to promote the film?
A: It’s been sold to some great markets overseas like Germany, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, among many others, so I’m excited for it to start getting out there to the world in the coming months. We have a few more festivals lined up on top of Fright Fest, then waiting to hear from one or two more, and then it’s gonna be about securing the best distribution deal in the US. There’s also been talk of a few of us doing a small college tour, just to continue to get the word out on the movie. I’m hoping for that, would be fun!
Q: And after Deadheads, what next?
A: I just played a major supporting role opposite Michael Rooker, Haylie Duff, and Beverely Mitchell in a film called “Pennhurst;” then playing a series regular on a series being repped by APA and being shopped around for TV consideration called “Dropping the Soap;” and currently directing/writing/staring in a web series called “Paranormal, Burbank.”
Also developing two features with my production company Irish Cat Films, one in particular is the dramedy “Parallel Lanes,” which I’m looking forward to playing the lead in.
Also have a full length pop rock album that I wrote and recorded with my band RIGHT ON WAGNER called “Bummer” that will be available on iTunes this Fall. I’m thankfully a busy bee!
Don’t miss the premier of Deadheads at Frightfest which will be showing on Monday August 29th.
And be sure to check out our other exclusive Deadheads interviews…