Whitehouse Post's Matthew Wood Answers Your Pressing Zombie Questions
Whitehouse Post’s Matthew Wood reflects on two particularly spooky projects for Sears Diehard and Brooks Running, featuring members of the undead horde.
Q> You’ve now edited two very different zombie commercials, Sears Diehard - The Getaway and Brooks The Rundead, what have you learned about zombies in the process?
MQ> For a start, they're not pretty to look at. I also think that the last decade of zombie evolution has made them more dangerous. They seem to have become a little smarter and faster – being able to run is a great help when ‘catching your prey’. Traditionally they were slow and awkward and not particularly hard to outfox.
Q> There are some interesting sound effects in the Brooks Rundead piece – how did you decide what the zombies would sound like?
In Rundead, the zombies are not only demonic in their sound, but also have an animalistic quality to their screeches. This gives them more of a language rather than one continuous collective moan. This was something Bjorn, the director, really wanted to get right in the cut before it went to the mix. They became more dangerous with these sounds.
Q> In your experience, do you deal with a lot of VFX, or are your zombies more au natural?
In both films the zombie makeup was so good that there was not a lot of VFX to be done. In Rundead, as the lead zombie runs more, his eyes return to normal from being milky. But generally they are more au natural, so there’s not much VFX to factor for.
Q> How do the zombies and their stories influence/drive your editing decisions?
I think there is a danger of letting the audience see too much, so I think a faster edit gives them more threat, and that was essential in The Getaway. In Rundead, the pacing definitely changes once they have put on their kicks – so we stay longer in each moment as they react to the shoes.
Q> If zombies were chasing you, what would you do?
I would run into a slaughterhouse – not only would the abundance of meat be a distraction from me, but there are a lot of fighting tools such as a dead bolt, the nabbing club, the harming spindle, or the grinder plate to take care of them if needed.
Q> Does editing this kind of footage ever get to you? Sweaty palms, over the shoulder glances, startling at noises…?
Not really. My family, however, were very concerned as I edited Rundead at home, and could hear all manner of disturbing sound effects.
Q> If you were to face zombies in any sporting event, which would it be and why?
I am not too shabby at table tennis and not too sure if they have grasped the concept of the game.
Q> Do you think zombies are misunderstood creatures? Do you think alternative therapies like running might bring about a new era of zombie-human relations?
They are very much misunderstood. I think any holistic treatments would help cull their cannibalistic desires. Some kind of self-help group…Meat Anonymous might be a good place to start.
Q> If that new era dawns, would you consider editing the documentary or telling the story from the zombie's perspective?
Yes – I would be thrilled to hear what they had to say for themselves.