Director Rene Perez’s The Burning Dead (formerly Volcano Zombies), starring action superstar Danny Trejo (Machete), is now on digital and VOD from Uncork’d Entertainment. The DVD sears home video a month later, April 7th. Written and produced by Jeff Miller and Jason Ancona, The Burning Dead pits a horde of lava-filled zombies against a sheriff charged with the plight to rescue an estranged family from a volcano eruption. Danny Trejo plays Night Wolf, a Native American warrior who knows way too much about the curse that unearthed the coffin dodgers. We spoke to Trejo’s co-star Julia Lehman about working on one of this year’s funnest horror flicks.You were on Constantine – and were great! Has been on such a high-profile show helped your career?
Thank you so much!! Absolutely. Work begets work, always, especially with a show like Constantine. The majority of my television experience has been in comedy so it has helped me a great deal to show that I can also do drama. So much of this business is about moving up the rungs of the ladder and Constantine was a big step up for me.
Where did The Burning Dead fit in? Was that before Constantine or after?
We shot The Burning Dead a few months before Constantine. It definitely helped me to be in the horror world right before shooting Constantine. Especially given my character’s transformation both within The Burning Dead and on Constantine. (I won’t go into too much detail!! I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone!!)
There seems to be a recurring theme here – the supernatural. Is that a genre you’re a fan of?
I LOVE supernatural anything. I’m a big reader and love anything Science Fiction. As a kid, I watched everything in the genre I could, including as many horror movies as possible. I loved (and still do) imagining the world in a different way as if the boundaries of possibilities have been taken away. As an actor, my job is to play someone in a circumstance different than my own, I love when that extends beyond the realm of realism and into the alternate universe of what if.
What kind of monster movies and supernatural films did you grow up with? Any favorites?
As I said, I LOVED horror movies growing up. Especially the ones that felt as though they may be based in some sort of truth. Poltergeist, for instance, was one of my favorites. It was scary in a way that felt like it could possibly happen to me and my family.
I also was really into vampires. I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Lost Boys so many times, the tape on the video wore thin!! (Also, remember video tapes? That feels almost supernatural at this point in technology).
Which of them, if any, do you think The Burning Dead resembles? I think it has a bit of a Tremors vibe to it – the mix of comedy and horror.
I can absolutely see what you’re saying about Tremors. It also has some of the Buffy or Lost Boys feel. It’s scary and gruesome at parts but it’s also cheeky. The thing I loved so much about working on The Burning Dead was that we knew exactly what we were making. It’s serious when it needs to be, but Jeff (Miller ) and Jason (Acona) were not afraid to poke fun at the genre through us through the script.
Lot of special effects work in this?
Certainly a lot of make up!! That and, yes, of course, the lava and exploding volcanoes were special effects. That being said, the makeup was done so well that we were lucky to have all of the zombies available in their full attire while we were shooting. That made a huge difference.
What’s next for you?
Well, its pilot season in LA, so auditioning like crazy. I did a movie in North Carolina called “Suicide for Beginners” that’s in post production so I’m really looking forward to that coming out. Other than that, only time will tell!! I’m excited to see what comes next.