The writer/director takes a bite out of the zombie genre

Movie PictureWelcome to Willard, a small town lost in the idyllic world of the 50's, where the sun shines every day, everybody knows their neighbor, and rotting zombies deliver the mail.

Such is the setting for Writer/Director Andrew Currie's instant cult classic Fido. Set in a world where a boy takes in a zombie for a pet, it is clear that Currie wanted to make many statements with this horror film. He recently sat down with us to discuss what those statements were and how the idea for Fido came to fruition.

Where did the idea for Fido come from?

Andrew Currie: That goes back a long time until 1994. My co-writers were Dennis Heaton and Robert Chomiak. The three of us had gone to film school together and we decided we wanted to write our first feature as a team. The idea was that each guy would bring 5 ideas to the table kind of thing. Dennis had written this story called Fido about a boy who had a pet zombie and he just fed him raw meat... we just felt that that was such a great premise and a starting point for creating an entire world. The starting point was Dennis and from their the three of us wrote a first draft, really actually rather quickly, and then we sat on it for many, many years. It was good but it had cardboard, cutout characters, or we were just out of University and we just needed to get out there and learn more about the craft and everything. Then we came back to it and started seriously writing on it.

In calling the film Fido were you trying to make a statement about the Norman Rockwell past that that name evokes? Maybe you were examining what a pet could be?

Andrew Currie: Yeah, very much that was the idea, for sure. It was to play up the perfect, kind of idyllic, post-World War II Americana. Using touchstones like Norman Rockwell and Fido of course is that sort of emblematic dog name, you know?

Is tough in writing a script like this to juggle that line of horror and comedy?

Andrew Currie: Right, yeah. That line, and juggling that line, I found really fun. For me, it's funny because when people talk about horror and comedy mixing you hear the "nor feast, nor fowl" kind of thing. There are movies, hopefully Fido's one of them, that works. There's something like An American Werewolf in London that has a really nice balance. For me, Fido was never intended to be that the horror was too scary. I leaned the whole thing more on humor and satire. So the horror and the horror genre became more of a touchstone, as something to be used playfully as opposed to really trying to terrify people with genuine horror.

What do you think it is about zombies that make them such interesting focal points of movies? You took that whole of what a pet could be and flipped it around.

Andrew Currie: I think what attracts us to zombies is because of how close they are to human beings. They really are us but they're not, you know? I think what's cool about them is that they're halfway between being alive and being dead. I think that either consciously or unconsciously brings up a lot of fears for all of us. We're all terrified of getting sick or dying, or having some illness that slowly rots us away. I think it taps into that in a really visceral way. For me, part of the fun of a genre is, with any movie, how can you take that genre, how can push it into a new area that hasn't been explored before? Pushing any genre is exciting and what has given life back to the zombie movie in a way.

I've seen more zombie movies than I'm willing to admit. I'm not a big fan of zombie movies, but when I really get excited is when I see something new and turns the genre on its head a bit.

What are you working on next? Can you talk about Space Invader?

Andrew Currie: I'm actually not doing Space Invader. I was attached with Space Invader for awhile but it just wasn't a creative fit for me. Right now, I'm doing a couple of really cool things. I'm writing The Truth About Lying which is my own script. It's about a young guy who is a compulsive liar and he discovers that his controlling mother is a bigger liar than he is. It's a comedy in the vein of The Royal Tenenbaums, I guess you would call it.

I've been chatting with Mick Garris who created Masters of Horror. I've been talking to them, nothing specific yet but we're just chatting back and forth. He seems like a great guy. I'm basically reading a lot of scripts. I've been getting inundated with scripts from LA and I've read a couple of good ones. I'm just really trying to find, I don't want to be too fussy but at the same time I want to find that right script. Sometimes that takes a little time but I'd rather wait and get a really script to do as the next feature. Or, hopefully finish the one I'm writing.

Fido is currently available on DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Evan Jacobs