Iconic Scream Queen Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, Bad Times at the El Royale) stars as quintessential fraidy cat Barbara in WB Home Entertainment's Night of the Animated Dead, available on Digital today. After making a name for herself performing macabre body modification surgeries in American Mary and tuning the werewolf genre on its tail in the Ginger Snaps series, horror fans will love Isabelle in this star-studded animated re-imagining of George A. Romero's 1968 horror classic, Night of the Living Dead. The terror begins as brother and sister team Johnny (Jimmi Simpson) and Barbra visit a cemetery and discover tenets are more active than they should be. The rag-tag group of strangers that she joins eventually learn that 1960's societal norms are just as hard to survive as a horde of the undead. Recently Fangoria Chainsaw Award winner Isabelle chatted with Bleeding Cool about whether or not Harry had the better survival plan, what she would do in a zombie apocalypse, and the agony of her Ginger Snaps prosthetics.
The original creates and defines an entire genre of filmmaking. What's your relationship with Night of the Living Dead?
Katharine Isabelle: I hadn't actually sat down and really watched it front to back until this came along. It wasn't something that I had grown up being terrified by or intrigued by. I had to piece it all together because I'd only ever seen bits and pieces before now. I was enthralled with the timeless connections, the timeless metaphors of the zombies being the many anxieties of the world and the survivors being a little window into what happens when humans are stripped of all of their societal conventions and just go crazy during a massive world-ending crisis. What's not? Gripping and relevant about that?
Can you speculate a little bit? If the survivors followed Harry's ideas instead of Ben's ideas, do you think they might have had a better chance of surviving the night in the farmhouse?
KI: No. I think everybody is fatally doomed. I think that's sort of the reason why all of their innermost selves are exposed. Harry is just trying to maintain control and be the boss. I don't particularly think any of his ideas would have gotten anybody any further. I think everyone is fairly damaged.
You have done some pretty disturbing things on camera in some of your horror movies. But your character Barbra completely falls apart in response to these flesh-eating ghouls; what would be your plan of attack in the inevitable case of a zombie apocalypse?
KI: In a crisis, I jump into action fairly quickly. At the same time, I could equally see me just falling into a catatonic state, lying on the couch for a while. I could go either way. I'm a multitalented apocalypse survivor. I'm a kill them with fire type of just like blow them up and light them on fire at all. Possible, but I can also just have a nap either way. 'Make sure you get those windows taken care of; I'm just gonna lay here for a while.'
You are known for some really gory scenes in the Ginger Snaps series. Was there ever any time during the special effects where it was too much, and you had to say that's way too far, that it grossed you out personally?
KI: No, God, no. I think the only thing that really freaked me out was the prosthetics for Ginger Snaps. I was 17, and I was not aware of what that, psychologically, can do to you. When you have four or six hours of prosthetics that strip away, one by one, all of your senses, I know that Jim Carrey, when he did the Grinch, had to get CIA training because of its sensory deprivation. I could have used a nice like our long CIA training center. At my thickest level of prosthetics, everything I couldn't see, talk, touch, taste, or hear anything. So it was like being buried alive at one point.
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Attempting to survive the farmhouse standoff is a mouthful of voice talent, including Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Jupiter's Legacy) as Harry Cooper, Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, American Mary) as Barbara, Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) as Judy, Will Sasso as (Mad TV, The Three Stooges) Sheriff McClelland, and Nancy Travis (So I Married an Axe Murderer, Last Man Standing) as Helen Cooper. The voice cast also includes a mini Psych reunion with Dulé Hill (Psych, Ballers) as Ben, James Roday Rodriguez (Psych, A Million Little Things) as Tom, and Jimmi Simpson (Westworld, Psych) as Johnny. Night of the Animated Dead is directed by Jason Axinn (To Your Last Death) and is produced by Michael J Luisi, Ralph E. Portillo, Robert Feldman, and Kevin Kasha. Executive producers are Richard Potter, Thomas DeFeo, and Jamie Elliott.
Night of the Animated Dead arrives on Digital today, September 21, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack & DVD on October 5.