Kanefsky had just completed The Hazing when he was approached by York Entertainment about the already
in development project.
"I had a little time, they had a poster
and a one-page concept, and I had five days to knock off the whole script
and turned the whole thing into a dark comedy."
With genre favourite Tony Todd in line to play the role of the mortician,
York suddenly informed Kanefsky that Todd was off the project and a
replacement was required, so he saw his opportunity to cast Kanefsky
regular Robert Donavan. He said of the actor, "I knew Robert would
be perfect, I fought for him and won. I have worked with him on eight
previous films. [He] is a great comedy actor and I was delighted to
be able to give [him] a leading role."
For his other lead roles, York gave Kanefsky a list of name stars to
chose from, including Wolfgang Puck, Pete Rose, Anna Nicole Smith's
son, and even Monica Lewinsky. [York] had recently made a film called Alien 51 starring Heidi Fleiss,
so they thought this process of "stunt casting" was a good
idea. Of all the names on the shortlist, Kanefsky immediately highlighted
two, and then had to choose between either Gary Busey or Jeff Fahey.
"Both can and have been wonderful in the past, but I heard Busey
was having a lot of problems so I pushed for Fahey. Luckily, he liked
the script and agreed to do it."
For his other lead, Rolfe already had his heart set on Screm Queen Tiffany
Shepis and she jumped aboard as a result of the fun times she spent
with Rolfe during the making of The Hazing.
I chatted to Tiffany not long after production wrapped and she seemed
to be excited about the fact that Jeff Fahey played her dad in the movie.
As for the movie, she described it as a "fun little film,"
saying that the cast and crew "don't call it horror 'cause it kind
of has a crazy Troma vibe to it. We're calling it a zombedy."
Despite the fun tone of the film, the production was anything but. The
presence of an overbearing and interfering studio, coupled with an incompetent
producer, saw the film meet a number of problems, all of which tested
Kanefsky's patience. (see
a related review, Dr. Chopper, for
The 35mm feature film had a shooting schedule of 12 days and $100,000
budget which Kanefsky tells me producer Mark Headly "pocketed half
of." This was only the beginning of the problems, which included
a number of issues with permits, locations, film stock, cast and crew
bickering, and even a secret shoot organized by the producer to which
the director was not invited!
Despite all of the above, Kanefsky hopes that horror fans will see past
the problems. "I'll be very curious to see what people think of
it. If you wind up seeing the film and enjoying it, it is a miracle.
You might like it, because for some strange reason, it kinda works in
its own weird way."