There's been a lot of buzz on the web over the past couple of weeks about a fun-sounding new horror jaunt called Zombie Cats from Mars - and if you're anything like me, that title alone gets it a spot on the must-see movies of 2015 list!
The film, largely financed by Kickstarter contributions, was the brainchild of writer Ryan Cloutier, and director Montetré.
We got catty with the duo this week.
Firstly, do you hate cats?
Ryan: Actually, I love cats.
Montetré: No. Love ‘em. I had a cat that would ride on my shoulder while I bicycled. So...man, I had that same cat while I lived on a boat. Once it snowed. When I came home, I went down the ramp to the dock, where I followed my kitten’s pawprints in the snow all the way to my boat. I don’t hate cats. I love them. Especially if they choose to walk by your side.
Okay, do you believe they’re secretly evil though?
M: Of course!
R: Yes, I believe they are evil. Perhaps that is why I like them. They always seem to have an agenda. Like, they act all sweet and want to be petted and loved on, but it’s just a ploy to get you closer so they can scratch you and inflict pain. But they’re so damn cute at the same time. Evil little monsters…
Just how evil are the cats in this movie!?
M: At first...you think, okay, they’re just cats...but then… Well, I don’t want to ruin anything. Let’s just say, there are some face-clingers.
R: Pretty evil. They seem sweet, but they take evil to a new level. They want to get close so they can latch on to your face, scratch you to death and eat your brain. Eating brains makes them smarter. In the movie, the more brains they eat, the more clever they become.
Is there a ‘good’ cat in the movie? One that goes against the grain?
R: No, there’s not. They are all on the same evil mission.
M: I pushed for that concept, but we didn’t have the budget for it. That’s sequel territory.
With all the felines on set, I imagine you had to have an animal trainer nearby?
R: Yes, we were lucky to have Marci Koski. She’s an animal behavior specialist, and a volunteer at Furry Friends. They supplied the cats, and we are using proceeds from this movie to support that organization. She’d always bring along other volunteers from Furry Friends to help wrangle the cats. She was definitely a great asset.
M: You imagined correctly. Our cat handler had cat handler helpers and the cats were very abusive of this privilege. Sincerely though, Marci Koski of Furry Friends animal shelter helped tremendously.
This would’ve been a pretty difficult set to manage, I imagine?
M: You and your imagination.
R: Well, we made a promise not to lose or harm any of the cats. They all had their own green room where they could relax between takes. Acting was difficult for the cats, and they’d get stressed out and cranky pretty quickly. I remember one scenario. It was the first day of shooting and we had all the cats. Montetré’s cat Germs was also a cat actor in the movie. Germs decided to run off early in the day. We were shooting with four cats from Furry Friends. It turned out two of the cats were mortal enemies. They would only hiss at each other, which can be seen in the movie, during the cat tea party scene. By the end of the day, the cats were exhausted, and Germs hadn’t shown up. We decided to substitute one of the cats who looked similar to Germs to play his part, but he wasn’t cooperating. He ended up scratching up the actress and Marci pretty bad. We finally had to change the script around to accommodate a more docile cat. Once the scene was shot, Germs decided to show up. What a diva! Another difficult aspect was getting the cats to perform the way we wanted. It’s amazing how little a cat is interested in tuna once the cameras are rolling. As soon as “cut” is called, all the cat suddenly wants is tuna. We had to be careful during exterior shots with the cats as well. We ended up leashing them all, as they had a tendency to want to run away. We then had to digitally remove the leashes in post-production.
Congrats on the Kickstarter campaign. How did you entice people to support the film?
M: We sort of mentioned that we were making a movie called Zombie Cats from Mars. It always starts there. Ryan?
R: Yes, thanks! We had a lot of support from websites such as PromoteHorror.com. They’d promote our stuff, and people would respond. A lot of pledges also came from the ‘Discover’ link on Kickstarter. I guess it’s a catchy title for a movie. Friends and family also contributed. We got a lot of big backers, and added a lot of Associate Producers through $200 pledges. We put out a lot of updates and behind-the-scenes videos that resonated with our audience. It’s a low budget film, so we were able to raise about $2500 through the Kickstarter, which paid for the crew. We actually have another Kickstarter going, and we’re hoping to raise $4000 to finish paying off some of the actors, as well as cover screening costs.
When can they rent or buy the film? And how?
M: Currently, pre-orders are through Kickstarter. You can obtain a copy by pledging on Kickstarter. 4 days remain, so get a copy while you can.
R: We would like to make DVDs and Blu-Rays available mid-March. As I mentioned before, we have a Kickstarter going, and this is a pre-sale for DVDs. There are only a few days left, and we have yet to make our goal. If this Kickstarter campaign fails, we’ll still be releasing the movie, but the release date will be pushed back a month or two until we figure out how to pay for it all. We also hope to get a video-on-demand deal (VOD) and find a distributor. Here’s a link to our current Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/659328156/zombie-cats-from-mars-release-the-cats Oh, and there are some other great rewards. We have available screenings in your hometown, personalized audio commentaries, and … and this is the coolest thing ever… custom made cat slippers made from the same puppet cats we used for some of the action sequences in the movie. These will be worth millions some day, so get them while you can!