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Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview

  Jason Axinn is an animation director who won acclaim for his previous film To Your Last Death, and for his new release has updated George A. Romero's classic horror Night of the Living Dead in cartoon form. He was good enough answer a few questions on the project.

TSI: What were your favourite films growing up? Which ones inspired you?

JA: Growing up I was obsessed with Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blue Velvet and Raising Arizona. There were a lot of films that inspired me, but at this point they all kind of blur together, like a cosmic gumbo. Horror films were also very inspiring, like Dawn of the Dead and The Shining. It's amazing that both of those films are somehow over 40 years old.

TSI: Are you a fan of animation generally? What insights did this film give you into the process?

JA: I'm a huge animation fan - I grew up with Heavy Metal, Rock n Rule, Twice Upon a Time, American Pop, Miyazaki's The Castle of Cagliostro, Bakshi's Lord of the Rings, even Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (which is pretty terrifying, as I recall). I now know a lot about how those productions were planned and made. I've learned a lot about the different styles of animation production.

TSI: Had you seen the original Night of the Living Dead? Was it important to watch it before working on the cartoon?

JA: I first saw the original 'Night' film in college, at a midnight movie. And yes, since this film is a remake of the original, it was important to watch it one more time before I agreed to direct. I think I actually watched it twice, before signing on. I watched it something like 50 more times during pre-production, as we were mapping out the locations and props.

TSI: Can you tell us what the major differences are between the original and this new version (no spoilers, obviously!)?

JA: This new version is in colour (although we do keep the tv in black and white). We've heightened the gore quite a bit, as well as the violence. And we added a flashback sequence called 'Beekman's Diner' showing how Ben (played by the amazing Dulé Hill) gets his truck and escapes a dangerous situation.

TSI: Which other live action franchises would you like to see get the cartoon treatment, when you can do pretty much anything with them?

JA: I think the film Eraserhead would make a fantastic animated feature, if David Lynch was available. Also the Paul Rudd film, They Came Together. Both hilarious.

On that bombshell, thanks very much to Mr Axinn for his time, he's certainly watched plenty of the right films, and best of luck with the movie.

Night of the Animated Dead is out now on digital, Blu-ray and DVD.

Click here to watch the trailer.

Author: Graeme Clark.


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