If you ask me Chad Zuver is one of the most talented independent filmmakers in the world today. He burst onto the scene with the totally awesome film Unnoticed (if you haven’t seen it yet do yourself a huge favor and go check it out as soon as possible) and hasn’t slowed down a bit since as he’s been behind some equally kick ass films since such as New Blood Rising and his own interpretation of Night of the Living Dead last year. The guy can do it all including acting, writing, producing, directing, editing, and has even been known to do some stunt work from every now and then. In addition to being a multi-talented guy he is also an awesome person in general and I was extremely happy to have the opportunity to chat with him recently.
When did you realize that you wanted to work in the film industry?
Chad Zuver: I’ve always been a fan of movies. I grew up in the 80s and was a massive horror kid. I loved pretty much anything with Freddy Kruger or Jason Voorhees in it. But the exact moment when I wanted to be a director was immediately after watching Scream. I love every single detail about that movie. The directing, writing, acting, and storytelling. I knew from the second the movie was over I knew what I wanted to do.
TM: What was your first experience working in the film industry? Was it a positive or negative experience?
CZ: My very first experience was a 100% negative. I was with another independent company and it was really a horrible time. I don’t want to go into much detail. But it was a very bad experience. I didn’t learn anything at all and it was pretty much a waste of time. The only good thing that came out of it was the people I met. The people I still call friends to do this day. That was the only positive thing I took out of it.
TM: What do you prefer to do if you could only do one, act, direct, or write? Why?
CZ: Writing. I love sitting on my laptop and planning out a story. The script is the single biggest impact of a movie. I have so many ideas running inside my head for potential movies; it’s hard to pick just one. When I write a script, it’s just me. I don’t have to rely on someone else, like you would need to with acting or directing.
TM: Who are some of your influences?
CZ: My biggest influence is Wes Craven. It really hit me hard when he passed a few weeks ago. He was the reason I wanted to be a filmmaker. He created two iconic movies like Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream. Those are two of my favorite horror movies of all time. I really try to do what Wes Craven did as a director. Even with him gone, I still think look up to him.
TM: If you could work with anyone you haven’t worked with as yet who would it be and why?
CZ: Well I have two answers. The first one is probably the least likely and that is Danielle Harris. I consider her my generation’s scream queen. I absolutely adore her. She keeps doing more horror movies and you can tell she really enjoys them. I would love a chance to direct her, even if it was for an hour. On the independent scene, I really want to work with Ellie Church. I loved her in Headless. She is really going to be a big star at the rate she is going.
TM: What is your favorite movie of all time?
CZ: Like I said earlier, it’s Scream. When I got the movie on VHS, I had to playing on my VCR on a 24 hour loop. So anytime I turned the TV on, the movie was on. I owe a lot to Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson, and the entire team for making that movie. Scream will never be bumped off the list for my top movie.
TM: What would you say was the scariest movie of all time?
CZ: It is without a doubt The Exorcist. I still haven’t watched the movie in it’s entirely. Growing up possession was a scary issue. I watched all these news stories about possession and it freaked me out. I was like 10 at the time and I was easily impressible. But it still sticks with me. Someday I will watch the movie all the way through.
TM: Of everything that you’ve worked on what are you most proud of and why?
CZ: New Blood Rising, without a doubt. That is my favorite movie that I’ve done. I did 90% of the movie myself. Even though it only cost $100 to make, I had the best time making it. I wish I could go back and remake it with everything I learned and make it an even better movie.
TM: Tell us about some of the projects you are currently working on.
CZ: Currently, I am about to start post-production on New Blood Awakening. This winter, I’ll be acting in a movie my company (Shattered Images Films) is making called Cold Front. It’s from a first time directing, Melissa Marie Michael. It’s a really cool and clever slasher film. Next year will be our biggest movie to date. We will be making a movie called Descending that is being directed by Kayla Elizabeth. We got a great cast already lined up: Lynn Lowry, KateLynn Newberry, Roger Conners, Moses Moseley, Amber Dawn Fox, Mandy Lou (Amanda Collins), Melissa Zahs, Thomas Sloan, and myself. I am still talking with some big names for roles in the movie. It’s going to be a great movie.
TM: What are your opinions about the current state of horror films? Are they better, worse, or about the same in quality as they were 30 years ago?
CZ: It’s worse. Far worse. We are into the found footage and paranormal type of movies now. They all become the same after awhile. 30 years ago, we had a new slasher movie all the time. What happened to those days? Mainstream horror in my opinion is all but dead. Independent horror is where the true genre is at. You have all these excellent directors like Dustin Mills, Derrick Carey, and Scott Schirmer. They know what horror is about and they embrace it.
TM: What do you like to do when you aren’t working in film? Do you have any hobbies you’d like to share?
CZ: In reality, I’m never not working on film. I am always doing something on a current movie or a future movie. The only things I do are sleep, work at my regular job, and work on movies. I rarely have any free time for anything else. To be honest with you. I enjoy it.
TM: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to work in film?
CZ: Do it for yourself. Don’t worry about what others think or say. The only opinion that matters is your own. There are people who out there who say they are your friend and stab you in the back. Really be careful who you associate yourself with.
TM: Anything you’d like to add or anyone you’d like to give a shout out to?
CZ: I have a few shout outs, I would like to give. First is Todd Martin for his support from the start. He has been a big supporter of mine. Robert Poole of IndieHorror.tv. How awesome is it that there is a channel that supports independent horror? Robert is a great guy and I love what he is doing. There are hundreds of people I wish I could thank now, but it would take forever. But for the people who matter to me, they know I appreciate them to the fullest. You can check all the stuff for Shattered Images Films at ShatteredImagesFilmsLLC.com or Facebook at Shattered Images Films.
Thanks to Chad for taking the time to speak to me, and thanks for the shout out as well!