It’s all this and more, as "Fido" provides big laughs and enough blood and guts to please gorehounds. Set in an alternate-reality 1950s suburb, "Fido" tells the tale of a society in which zombies walk the earth — as domestic servants, milkmen, and gardeners. On the outskirts of town, however, the living dead are cordoned off from the general population by the powerful corporation ZomCon. One such zombie, Fido (Billy Connolly), enters the Robinsons’ fractious household, becoming the close companion of Timmy (K’Sun Ray) and, eventually, his mother Helen (Carrie-Anne Moss), much to the consternation of her zombie-hating husband Bill (Dylan Baker). But even the relatively mild-mannered Fido has trouble escaping his true flesh-eating nature.
We caught up with director Andrew Currie in Park City, UT in January, as "Fido" was making its American premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The amiable Canadian discussed, among other things, the politics of the living dead and the thin line between satire and camp.
Rotten Tomatoes: You obviously haven’t made a horror movie exactly. It seems like zombie movies in particular, like "Night of the Living Dead" are never really about zombies themselves. "Night" was, in some ways, about civil rights and the Vietnam War. Why zombies? Why are they a blank canvas for politics?
Andrew Currie: I think it’s because they are so like us. They are human, but they’re not. They’re caught in that purgatory, so it’s very easy for people to identify themselves to a zombie in certain respects. It can be done through humor like "Fido" or "Shaun of the Dead," you know where "Shaun of the Dead" starts, he’s exhausted and he’s pretty well a zombie.
RT: There is a level of violence in this movie that I hate to call "Lynchian," but I’m sure it was your intention to have this idyllic little world, and then all of a sudden old Mrs. Henderson is getting her arm ripped off.
AC: It’s interesting you brought up [David] Lynch, because he’s my favorite filmmaker. I remember when I first started watching his films, and realized how much he’s into contrast, and he plays with contrast all the time. Like in "Blue Velvet," you’ll see this enormous man with a tiny little dog just standing on the street, and it’s just background. I started working with contrast a lot, and when I came to the writing of "Fido," what I realized is having the idyllic juxtaposed with the violence and horror can often be quite funny. I was playing it generally not to horrify the audience, but to see the irony of this supposedly idyllic town, which in fact isn’t.