Christmas in Los Angeles, California isn’t Christmas without two things: Santa Claus and zombies. The producers behind the movie Silent Night, Zombie Night decided to make a Los Angeles Christmas story, and even though such a tale doesn’t get Holiday snowfall they made sure to get the biggest, baddest Santa Claus around: CHRIS GABRIEL!
Chris Gabriel is an all around movie craftsman doing his things out of Las Vegas, Nevada; with his things being directing, acting, producing, writing, editing, and even being a cinematographer with his company Mercenary Films. I interviewed him so that you or the person reading over your shoulder could find out more about how he became the Santa to rule all Santa’s. LINKAGE TO CHRIS GABRIEL ON IMDB
By the way, Silent Night, Zombie Night ( Or SN,ZN as the cool kids call it) is a Sean Cain written and directed piece of Christmas cheer, loaded up and produced via Cain’s company Velvet Hammer Films and ArsonCuff Entertainment founded by Wes Laurie. You can read the official synopsis and check out some pretty (gory) pictures and a trailer at THIS LINK HERE!!!!!
Now, on with the Chris Gabriel aka Santa Zombie interview!
Out of the millions of hopefuls nationwide, how did you end up being Santa in the movie Silent Night, Zombie Night?
“I like to think that it was all of my years of formal training, my time spent immersing myself in the mind of Stanislavski, my dedication to the part-I buried myself for 12 hours in the unholy earth of an Egyptian wizard’s tomb, all of those seasons of “Zombie Shakespeare in the Park”….but really in the end I think it was because I was tall, fat, available, and willing to travel. There are no fat people in LA, so, you have to import them from Vegas.”
Any back story to who your Santa was before he got zombified?
“Actually, yes. Earl Deckard was a disgraced alcoholic Santa actor at a local mall who was entirely too slow and out of shape to avoid being bitten by even the slowest zombie. I mean really, look at the guy…if you’re a hungry zombie, who are YOU going to go after? Santa was the slowest wildebeest in the herd, and that’s all there is too it. He never stood a chance. On a side note, the zombie who bit him got absolutely hammered as Earl’s BAC was .259.”
Did you ever believe in Santa Claus?
“I remember when Santa dropped off presents one year. He dropped them on our front porch (we didn’t have a fireplace) in black plastic trash bags (we lived in Detroit). I about lost my mind trying to get to the door; tripped over the dog, punched my sister in the face, ran under my dad’s legs and tripped him into a closet (of course I think that he may have been drinking, so, that didn’t help) and I got to the porch and he was gone. Adding insult to injury, the kid next door got all of the stuff that I wanted, so, I started to feel that this whole “Santa” operation was pretty shabby. I think that I just didn’t want to believe after that year. Thanks for bringing up such a wonderful childhood memory, really.”
Tell us what it was like having to wear the special effects makeup for the role.
“That was awesome. Tom did a fantastic job and I even scared myself. The only problem that I had was that it was kind of humid that day and as previously noted, I’m kind of a fat, out of shape guy, and I was wearing a fairly hot outfit and it was 85 (and humid), so, I spent the entire time afraid that I was going to sweat off my makeup.”
What’s the Indie film scene like in Las Vegas compared to Los Angeles?
“I would like to work with LA indie film makers again, it was a lot of fun. It seems that resources are a lot more readily available. It’s harder to find people with much feature film experience here in Vegas. There are a lot of people who do shorts but only a couple who have taken the plunge into features. Also, people have this odd attachment to this thing they call a “job” which makes it hard to schedule them. I don’t know if you have that same problem in LA, but it’s a pain in the ass. Also, there is a pretty high “flake factor” here. Often times people commit to a project only to end up not showing up when you need them. The film community here is pretty small, you’d think that they would be smarter than that. Word travels fast if you’re a flake.”
As a filmmaker yourself, what is your favorite aspect of the process?
“Dailies. I love watching dailies, especially after a particularly intense day of shooting, and even more so when you catch something really great that you may have missed in the monitor. It’s the prize at the bottom of the cereal box. Yelling “ACTION!” is way cool, too.”
Can you tell us something about your project entitled Devotion?
“DEVOTION was written by my production partner, Will Edwards. It’s about an every day, normal guy who comes home from a business trip and learns that his pregnant wife was killed by a hit and run driver and is later presented the opportunity to get her and the baby back. It’s really a morality play that asks both “what would you do to get your family back” and “would you want someone to do something horrible to bring you back?”
What is Raggedy Anne?
“Raggedy Ann is an action comedy with twists, turns, surprises, coffee and bondage. I’m really hoping it gets us protested.”
Your sci-fi comedy movie S4 involves aliens, have you ever had a “close encounter” or do you believe “we’re not alone” ?
“I have to believe that somewhere in the universe a similar set of circumstances occurred that led the creation of life on Earth. Frankly, with all of the cool things that they’ve discovered on Mars lately I wouldn’t be surprised a bit if someday a NASA rover happens to spot ancient, long deserted pueblos in some cliff face. Of course, I think that it would be funnier if some NASA probe crashed into a still occupied Martian house and said Martian sued NASA, but what are the odds of that?
As far as a personal encounter, I did see something weird one night out in the desert, but I chalk it up to the nefarious machinations of the military industrial complex.”
Finally, what is the best movie you have seen recently?
“Connie and Carla”. It’s about two female lounge singers who pretend to be drag queens in order to hide from the mob. Two words: F***ing Hilarious.”