Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola had a hit a few years ago with 2009’s Dead Snow, about a group of partying friends who awaken a battalion of undead Nazi zombies. In that first movie, the group of friends is slaughtered — with one exception.
Survivor Martin (Vegar Hoel) manages to escape at the end of Dead Snow and that is just where we rejoin him at the start of Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead.
In this fast-paced sequel, Martin continues to battle archvillain Oberst Herzog (Ørjan Gamst) and his insane posse of right-wing monsters. Along the way he is aided by a trio of American zombie hunters — led by the surprisingly confident Daniel (Martin Starr).
Dead Snow 2 is funnier, scarier and more entertaining in every way than the first. That doesn’t make Dead Snow 2 unique among sequels, but it does make it worth watching.
HMPod caught up with director Tommy Wirkola recently to ask a few questions about this frantic Fascist frightfest. Dead Snow 2 opens theatrically in the U.S. October 10.
HMPod: There has been such a surge in zombie entertainment in recent years. Has this helped or hurt your own efforts to tell a zombie story?
Wirkola: I guess it has helped us. The trick, however, is to make yourself unique in all this zombie mayhem, and I do feel like we have done that with our Nazi zombies. They are organized, can talk, have a mission and can even drive a tank, so we do feel that our zombies are pretty special.
Wirkola: Well, if you can combine it with being intense, I would always go for funny. For me it is such a great feeling, as an audience member, if I get to laugh one moment and be horrified or disgusted in the next. As a kid, seeing Evil Dead and Braindead for the first time was such a seminal experience for me, being scared and laughing at the same time.
HMPod: Why such a delay between the first & second Dead Snow movies? Will we have to wait years for #3?
Wirkola: One reason is Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Had to finish that one first and release it. But it is nice to have a little break between sequels. Gives you time to come up with A LOT of crazy stuff that you can put in it. And I do think this could be a trilogy, and we have ideas for what to put in a potential number 3, but we just gotta see how this one does first.
HMPod: Should viewers take your villains as political commentary regarding Nazis & the ever-present fear of a resurgence in fascistic political partying?
HMPod: There is a good amount of humour in Dead Snow 2 regarding the different types of zombies. Was this a fun aspect of making the movie?
Wirkola: It was, yeah. We especially had fun with the character called Sidekick Zombie. Don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t seen it yet, but he goes through a lot, to say the least.
HMPod: Could anyone, even a zombie, survive having their head shot off by a tank?
Wirkola: If somebody could, it would be Herzog.
HMPod: The sex scene between human & zombie was a funny surprise. How are audiences reacting to it?
Wirkola: They are equally entertained as disgusted, which is exactly how I wanted it to be. I knew, from when we wrote the script, that I wanted to use the song “Total Eclipse of My Heart” to this scene, and it turned out very nice in the end. The scene in the film is actually a lot milder than what we shot. We originally wanted to show A LOT of details when it came to the sex itself, containing, among other things, white corpse maggots, but it was just too much in the end. I decided I wanted it to be slightly romantic, instead of just being disgusting.
HMPod: How did you create both Norwegian & English versions of the movie? Did all your actors speak English? What about the American actors speaking Norwegian?
Wirkola: Because of the zombie squad, half of the film would be in English anyway, meaning that we only did the Norwegian scenes in both languages. This was simply done from a business point of view. We would be able to have a higher budget as we would get a better release over here (and in the UK), as a film in full English is a lot easier to sell than a Norwegian one. I guess it all comes from the American’s disdain for reading subtitles. As for the Americans speaking Norwegian… yeah. We thought about that, actually. But we didn’t want to waste a year of preproduction on linguistics.