They say two heads are better than one, and the brother filmmaking team of Michael and Peter Spierig, who made the low-budget zombie film Undead, whole-heartedly agree.
"We have such similar ideas, we rarely argue," says Peter Spierig. "It's a great way to reduce some of the pressure and workload."
He pauses for a moment and then adds, "Ask us that question in ten years."
A tribute to the early zombie films of George A. Romero, Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson, Undead follows the denizens of a small Australian town who are transformed into zombies after a meteorite hits. While the film is certainly hardcore when it comes to horror, it also has a decidedly sci-fi twist that sets it apart from all the other studio zombie films as of late.
"When we started making Undead, there were no zombie films being made," says Michael Spierig. "We had heard about the first Resident Evil going into production just as we were starting to film Undead. Then it all exploded and it was just one zombie movie after another. It's strange how these things happen."
In addition to editing, writing and directing the film, the Spierig's also did most of the visual effects on store-bought home computers certainly giving the big boys a run for their money.
"We had done several short films where we dabbled in computer effects but nothing to the scale of Undead," says Michael Spierig. "Peter had made several 3-D animated shorts, so we understood the complexity and time required to complete everything we wanted to do, but we weren't ready for the sheer volume of Undead. There are over 300 computer effects in the film. That's a lot of hours behind the keyboard."
The desire to make movies for the brothers began when their father brought home a home video camera when they were eight years old, the Spierigs recall.
"It didn't take long before we started making short films in the backyard," says Michael Spierig. "Blowing up and setting fire to our stuffed toys were common traits in all the storylines. As we got older, our love of filmmaking continued to grow, and we really started to consider it much more than merely a hobby. We have always been fascinated by storytelling and how powerful a medium film can be to tell a story."
Most recently the Spierigs are working with Lions Gate (Undead's U.S. distributor) on their latest project a vampire film called Daybreakers.
"It's much bigger than Undead," says Peter Spierig of the film, which is about vampires ruling the world, and humans are nearly extinct, thus cutting off their blood supply. The only alternative the vampires discover is that they must become human again.
"We'll never finance a film solely out of our own pockets again," adds Michael Spierig. "The risks are too great. There's no chance we'll do the visual effects again, either. There are plenty of people out there that can do that job far better than we ever could. We loved having the autonomy on Undead, but continuing to make films on our own with no money is not something that sounds too appealing anymore."
Undead was released on DVD on October 11, 2005.