The horror film genre has been one of the most fascinating evolutions in film history, and it seems to be spinning back around on itself after just about 100 years in prominence. The focus is back on the dark and eerie, the monsters that lurk in the corner. Where Dracula and Frankenstein brought the genre into mainstream appeal, it was only the sensational mainstream nature of Romero’s own largely original zombie tales that started the new wave of horror. 100 Days of Death seems to be a reflection on the genre entirely, a “summing up” of the greatest elements of horror- survival, humanity, heart, and thrills. The book series is currently in development, and the film franchise is in co-development. I spoke with Kim Poirier, an actress whose latest credits include a spot on ‘Mad Men’ and the indie comedy ‘Foodland.’ Poirier is currently producing and acting in the upcoming film adaptation of ‘100 Days of Death.’ Her experience in the zombie and horror genre has made her a perfect fit, and she discussed her latest project, the zombie genre, and why reading a book first is way better.
You were involved with a lot of horror films in your career. What is it about horror films that obviously interested you?
Horror films are like a rollercoaster ride! I think we experience a “release” of sorts when we go on the adventure, scream, jump, and laugh at ourselves for getting so scared. At least that’s what I do.
Is it easier to break into the horror genre as a young actress, and if so, is this what helped to bring you into the genre?
I’ve always been a huge horror fan starting from a young age. I’d have sleepovers with my friends when we were around 8-10 and we’d sneak downstairs in the middle of the night to watch films like “Halloween”, “Child’s Play” (Chucky), “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Pet Sematary”… Then of course we’d get totally busted because our parents would hear these squealing kids at all hours of the night. I don’t know about the horror genre being easier to break into, but when I started working in Film and TV, the opportunities were there so I ran with them.
Zombies seem to be the “in” thing right now. Do you think this is more of just a cultural trend, or is there just something so ultimately appealing about the zombie story?
I think there is a tremendous appeal about the survival element, and humans coming together during times of crisis and tragedy. That is when the true test of character comes to light. I believe the zombie lore will keep growing for a while and we will explore all aspects of it. There is much to be discovered.
100 Days of Death looks like an absolutely fantastic story to bring to film. Do you think such support for this new book series and hopeful film franchise would have been possible before ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘World War Z’ and ‘Warm Bodies’ helped further popularize the genre?
These new films definitely helped pave the way! But the zombie genre has been building ever since George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” was released back in 1968. I think everything is a process of evolution. With the new emerging technologies and the digital era we now find ourselves in, the ability to enjoy a story on multiple platforms is becoming the norm. I personally love reading the book or the graphic novel before I see the film. It allows me to feel more involved in the story.
What sets 100 Days of Death apart from those other series?
Any good zombie story is laced with a strong human element and 100 Days of Death has that in spades! It’s a modern day retelling of the classic Western with Clint Eastwood, “The Outlaw Josey Wales”, with a bit of a “Die Hard” element, set in the world of “Night of the Living Dead”. Our hero is not your typical hero – he doesn’t want the responsibility of taking care of people. But in doing so, he finds his own humanity in the process. There’s also a great heart element in it in how all the characters band together and grow stronger as a unit. Not to mention, the non-stop zombie action and gun paraphernalia! There is also an aspect to the zombies that hasn’t been explored very much. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say they are “evolving”.
What is your favorite film by George Romero?
“Dawn of the Dead”, of course!
Should we look out for you as a zombie in any previous movies?
Nope. Always been a survivor. But you can check out the Kickstarter we are doing for the “100 Days of Death” graphic novel (you can view the Kickstarter and support the project HERE). With regard to the “100 Days of Death” feature film, I’ll be on both sides of the camera this time as I am also producing the project.
Evil Dead or Deadly Spawn?
“Evil Dead”! I have a confession, I saw the musical and it was REALLY good. If you sit in the front row, you may be one of the lucky ones to get splashed with blood.
Kim Poirier is a horror master, having a famed role in Synder’s remake of ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ as well as spots in a slew of indie horror films early in her career. The zombie genre is arguably at an all time high, and we can only hope that the genre has found an exceptional and unbeatable peak as we follow ‘100 Days of Death’ to its ultimate conclusion over the course of the next few years.