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An Interview with Chris Greenaway, Director of The Young and the Undead

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2015

Films directed by Chris Greenaway on (re)Search my Trash


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Your webseries The Young and the Undead - in a few words, what is it about?


The Young and the Undead is about the trials and tribulations of the Phibes family and their struggles to keep control of their company, by any means necessary. Re-animating corpses to keep control of the company, hiring vampire lawyers, and even resorting to demonic possession are never out of bounds in the Phibes family or the Phibes Corporation.


Why adopt the clichés and looks of a daily soap for your series - and other sources of inspiration when cooking up The Young and the Undead?


I grew up in a family where everyone buy my dad watched soap operas (I was a game show kid who loved Price Is Right and Family Feud back then but gravitated to soaps as well). We were a General Hospital house through and through and I still watch the show today.

Initially I had written (and shot portions of) a web soap opera that was a true to the genre soap in the vein of Valley of the Dolls but never could get the principle characters cast. I spent the next year tinkering with it out of hopes that I could change it enough that I could work with the people I had worked with in the original project. Ultimately my love of horror and horror comedy (especially Chris Seaver and Henrique Couto) compelled me to merge the 2 genres. I think the more gothic The Young and the Undead gets, the more we'll see how the 2 genres really can go hand in hand very well.


What can you tell us about The Young and the Undead's approach to both horror and comedy?


A lot of the humour is trope/cliché based, at least initially. I also try to look at various stereotypes you see in other genres and try to see where they would fit in The Young and the Undead. For instance, what could possibly be scarier than a vampire lawyer? He'll suck your blood and then file a civil suit for your assets! But over time there will be more scares to even things out. As the series progresses, we will get gorier with the blood effects and whatnot.


Do talk about your directorial approach to your story at hand for a bit!


Everything is played straight with little in the way of self aware moments. Meaning the actors are instructed to play it all serious, no matter how absurd things get. I think this gives it a more genuine camp factor and heightens the humour.


What can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?


For the main 4 cast thus far:

Rachel Hiebert (Vicki) and William Jordan (Douglas) were cast in the web soap I attempted to make in 2014. Rachel was part of the shoot we did that unfortunately was unfinished. She got the vibe instantly and I definitely wanted to build something like this around her. William, was in a storyline that was unfortunately, never shot but he is such an excellent actor with such a commanding presence that I knew he HAD to be in something I was going to shoot. I previously worked with William on Witchstalker ( as the newscaster in the opening scene.

Tony Lee Porteous (who plays Robert the zombie) was also in some of my past works, most notably Zombie Vigilante playing 2 different robbers ( He's a huge fan of horror/comedy and I knew he'd be a great addition. And Darren Matyas (Dr. Arby) has worked with me multiple times as well (most recently Escape from Ridgemont High - and took the ball and ran with it when I gave him the script.


Do talk about a typical The Young and the Undead-shoot, and the on-set atmosphere!


We're usually pressed for time but the atmosphere is usually more fun than tense. Often I will be teaching the less experienced cast and crew the basic soap clichés and blocking (which is very foreign to the uninitiated because no acting school locally teaches this style because Canada has no homegrown daytime soaps). In fact, the vast majority of my shoots over the last few years have been great fun with everyone bringing something to the table.


The $64-question, where can your series be seen?


Our YouTube channel for this series is There you can find The Young and the Undead, Zombie Vigilante, Ninjas (our kung fu series) and Chad's Angels (my all-star parody of Charlie's Angels and Twilight).


So far, The Young and the Undead has featured both zombies and vampires - will other undead creatures turn up as well over the course of the series? And any other hints regarding future episodes?


I can't reveal TOO too much but I'm pretty sure you will see some pretty big reveals of the human AND undead variety in the next few episodes! ;)


Any other future projects you'd like to share?


I'm always working on something new and usually fly by the seat of my pants, meaning I may conceive something today and shoot it tomorrow! I don't know what's next but I know there will be a lot more new stuff to come.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I was a writer initially (comic books/strips, travel articles, music reviews, short stories, etc.). When I came back from Asia I joined the National Screen Institute's Youth Outreach Program where I took classes and workshops for all aspects of filmmaking. From there I worked as a PA on several sets before becoming an assistant gaffer. On the side I was heavily inspired by the explosion of web series on the then very new YouTube. I've done various workshops over the years but much of the experience you see now, including my editing skills, are self taught or through YouTube tutorials.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Young and the Undead?


Oh my, there's so many projects! I've been making web series since 2008 when I made the horror/comedy Camp Bloody Beach ( I was seriously green and it shows in the finished work. From there I made my flagship series Venus Spa ( This was a screwball 80s comedy about a group of girls who run a workout studio in 1983. That one did huge numbers and convinced me that I could do bigger and better stuff. Venus Spa lasted 3 seasons with countless special episodes between 2009-2013. Since then I've done 3 series (Chad's Angels, Ninjas, my kung fu chop-em-up, and Dougle Agents, my Bond parody) as well as numerous shorts. In 2013 I made my first feature, Witchstalker, starring Debbie Rochon [Debbie Rochon interview - click here], which had more firsts for me than everything I've done put together. I always like to try new things and challenge what can and can't be done in Winnipeg independently.


How would you describe yourself as a director?


I'm usually pretty quiet on set. More often than not I adapt to my locations when shooting rather than trying to be married to a specific look. If I absolutely NEED a specific type of set and can't get it, I just don't shoot the project or scene. When you are working on a no budget production, often you have to budget your time and energy for real world scenarios and not perfect world scenarios. I've learned over the years, how to be more patient with cast and crew, especially if they aren't overly experienced because when you have budgets as low as mine, experienced actors and crew are hard to find that aren't union. Which means you spend as much time teaching as you do directing, which I don't mind at all. I was woefully inexperienced and unprepared to be a director when I started. Hell, I was shit scared to even TOUCH my own camera in my early shoots and would have panic attacks if I couldn't get someone to be a DP/cameraman! So I know that if you have patience with your young crew, they will pull through for you.


Filmmakers who inspire you?


Chris Seaver, Astron 6, Brad Jones, James Rolfe, Dustin Hubbard [Dustin Hubbard interview - click here], Bill Zebub, Roger Corman [Roger Corman bio - click here], Lloyd Kaufman, Jim Wynorski [Jim Wynorski interview - click here], Henrique Couto, Godfrey Ho [Godfrey Ho bio - click here] and the Go-Go Boys themselves from Cannon!


Your favourite movies?


Star Wars, Animal House (pick damn near any screwball comedy from the late 70s-early 80s), Waitress, Killer Klowns From Outer Space (the movie that got me into B-Movies in the first place), Parents (starring Randy Quaid), the Indiana Jones movies, Delta Force, all 5 Death Wish movies, too many anime movies to count, Filthy McNasty 1-2, Mulva 1-2, Babysitter Massacre, Sleepaway Camp 1-3, Midnight Heat, the Angel series, just too many gems to count.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


Movies that take themselves WAY too seriously while being deep as a puddle (Christopher Nolan, I'm looking right at you). Anything the Weinsteins have done that wasn't made by Tarantino or Kevin Smith. Damn near anything based on a young adult novel (except for the Wimpy Kid movies, those are funny and my nephew loved them). Never been a Kevin Williamson, Diablo Cody or Joss Whedon fan either.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


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My YouTube channels:



Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Check out my first feature film Witchstalker for rent or download at
. Or go to
to get it on DVD!!


Thanks for the interview!


The pleasure is all mine, thanks for having me on your site!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


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On the same day
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD