Jon & Al Kaplan interview


Creature Feature Interviews

Jon & Al Kaplan (Zombeavers, Dinocroc vs Supergator, Piranhaconda, Gila)

Zombeavers-posterThe horror comedy sub-genre is one of the most difficult balances to achieve on film. Too funny and there is zero tension in the scarier scenes. Too scary and the tonal shifts into comedy ruin the suspension of disbelief.

One of the best example of a great horror comedy is last year’s Zombeavers (review here). One thing that caught my eye in particular was that the film’s screenwriters were also the composers.

Music and screenplays were two fields that I was certain had little to no crossover and I was fascinated about how these guys could be so skilled in two completely different crafts.

So the best way to find out was to chat with the immensely talented Jon and Al Kaplan who, as well as writing and scoring Zombeavers, also served musical duties on Dinocroc vs Supergator, Gila and Piranhaconda.

Read on for our conversation where we discuss how to score a movie, musical influences, Zombeavers 2, other creature feature ideas and the fantastically titled The Hills Have Thighs…

[JS] Let’s start from the beginning; how and why did you get into composing / screenwriting?

[J+AK] Our dad was a concert composer (at least while he was at Manhattan School of Music), and he introduced us to film music right from when we were born. We’ve been composing since we were kids, and while we never thought of it as a career path to start, we ended up doing the USC film scoring program. That still didn’t lead to a career in composing, so we tried screenwriting as a different creative avenue. Then we were looking for ways to combine music and writing, so we did Silence! The Musical. Eventually, we ended up writing Zombeavers because we wanted something new to score.

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Zombeavers review



When some nuclear waste is accidentally dumped into the local lake, the wildlife starts mutating into freakish monstrosities hungry for human flesh. Fortunately for them, a group of sorority sisters and their boyfriends have just arrived at the lake for a quiet weekend getaway…

Zombeavers is very much a film of two halves.

The first half is carried almost exclusively by the three female leads and despite great performances by the actresses, their boyfriend melodrama is a little dull and their extreme personalities make it difficult to accept that these characters would actually be friends.

However as soon as the titular Zombeavers show up in the second half, the film really comes to life. The action is relentless as the titular creatures do everything they can to try and kill the protagonists. Within minutes of the invasion, I was swept up for the thrilling ride and lost myself in the pure enjoyment that Zombeavers offers. To my surprise and to the credit of the screenwriting, I was genuinely caught off-guard by some legitimately unforeseen revelations between the characters late in the film that only served to suck me into the story further.
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