As this movie is based on a video game did you try and incorporate that into the script, like in the first movie, or did you want to go in a different direction?
Michael: The movie is based on the video game, but there will be no video game clips in the movie!
Peter: The video clips were a desaster so we're glad that House of the Dead 2 is "video clip free."
As this is a sequel, how much did you try and have it recall the first movie?
Peter: We wanted to go in a completely different direction than the first part. It was important for us and the producers to stay true to the game itself. We wanted to go back to the roots of the House of the Dead franchise. So we focus on the AMS anti zombie forces and follow them on one of their missions.
Michael: There are no ties to the first movie. The only thing the two movies have in common is the title - and of course the zombies!
When working on a zombie movie how important are the characterizations vs. the plot and maximizing the action? Did you try to get inside these character's heads or did you make them "types" that would be easy for the audience to identify with?
Michael: For us as writers the characterization is very important. We want to create realistic, interesting characters.
Peter: But we have also a lot of action! We try to balance it, so that you can see it as a straight action horror movie, but that you also have well developed characters. We have not seen the final movie yet, hopefully the characters were not changed too much.
Were there any movies or other influences that when you sat down to write this script you said, "Let´s write one those kinds of films?" or "Let's write a film like that?"
Peter: There was not a particular film, but we thought that it would be interesting to send a platoon of special forces, like the Marines, to the very heart of the zombie plague, to a point of no return, and then let hell break loose.
Michael: It´s Zombies vs. Marines! We thought that would be fun!
What's the hardest part about writing a sequel?
Michael: With this movie it was different than with other movies. Neither the director nor the producers were really happy with the first part. So from the beginning it was clear that this movie should go into a complete different direction, that it should stay more true to the game series.
Peter: So we were totally free from any ties from the first movie. We could start in any direction. Fortunately the producers liked our concept of following an AMS anti zombie platoon.
With the internet and fans opinions so much more prevalent now, everybody seems to have a forum so everybody is a critic, are you cognizant when you write a script like House of the Dead II of the "Horror fan" or "Horror Movie aficionado" who watches your movie sometimes looking more for mistakes and things they won't like, rather than just watching the movie?
Peter: Like every screenwriter or director, we write in the first place the movies we would like to see in the theatre. Otherwise it would not work.
Michael: But we are very aware what the fans think - and often we had the same thoughts. We are horror fans, so we are interested to read the opinions of other horror aficionados out there in the internet.
When writing something that is based on a video game, how faithful do you feel that the material has to be to the game?
Michael: It has to be faithful to the core of the game, to the tone and mood of the game, but not to the exact storyline. Most games don't have a storyline usable for a movie. Games and movies are two different media, maybe even more different than literature and film.
Peter: The most difficult task is to expand the story carefully, to make it work for a movie, but not to upset the game fans.
Do you think it's important for a movie based on a video game to emulate the game in terms of the movie's look and feel?
Peter: It´s not necessary to emulate the game look exactly, but it´s important to bring the mood of the game to the big screen.
Michael: But if it´s possible, then it´s a plus to have the look of the game.
How did you go about researching this screenplay? Did you play the games endlessly? Did you study the first movie?
Michael: We knew the House of the Dead games very well, but took again a look into them. Our approach was to go in a completely different direction than the first movie.
Peter: We wanted to stay more true to the game series. It's not about teens get killed by zombies, it's about AMS agents fighting against zombie hordes.
Do you think playing a lot of video games (or at least playing House of the Dead) is a prerequisite in order to adapt a script from one?
Michael: Playing the game is very important for us, before we start writing the script. But I´m not the big gamer, Peter is.
Peter: It is useful to play the videogames to get a glimpse of the mood and tone of the story, but when it comes to write the script you have to get loose of all the details and create your own world.
Knowing that your audience is going to already be familiar with this movie because of the game (and the previous movie), does it make writing the screenplay easier in terms of conveying information? Do you find that there is a shorthand to the writing process because the audience already knows what you're telling them?
Peter: The advantage of a zombie movie is always that the audience knows the basic rules of a zombie movie.
Michael: That makes it much easier than having a strange creature, where you need to establish everything. In a zombie movie, you can start right away, into the middle of the action.
What are you currently working on?
Michael: We have just wrapped our movie "Brotherhood of Blood", which we have written and directed. The movie stars Sid Haig and Ken Foree from The Devil's Rejects, as well as Victoria Pratt from "Mutant X".
Peter: The shooting went very smooth. And we had a great cast. When we started the project two years ago, we had not expected to get horror legends like Sid and Ken for our movie. But then the script began circling in LA and a lot of agents and actors liked the story and the way it is told, and so we were able to get this great cast - even without a big budget.
House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim comes to DVD on March 21st.
Dont't forget to also check out: House of the Dead 2