I met Chad Zuver a month ago and after getting to know him a bit, I’ve realized how passionate he is about his work and the people involved in his projects. Chad is known for his vampire series, which include New Blood Rising and New Blood Awakening, along with a 3rd one on the way that he wrote, called Descending. If you’re a frequent reader here at PopHorror, you know what Descending is about and you are just as excited about seeing it as we are. Find out more about the film, his inspirations, his other films, plus more!
PopHorror – Great to talk with you again, Chad! What inspired you to work in the world of film making and how did you get your foot in the door?
Chad Zuver – As far as I remember, I always had a love for movies. Especially 80s style horror movies. It was what I grew up on. I didn’t really get the urge to become a filmmaker until I watched Scream. I never had the chance to see it in theaters. I watched it on VHS and right away, I fell in love with the storytelling Wes Craven did. Immediately after watching it, I wanted to write my own movie. I started writing a script called You Can’t Run. I worked on it for about 4 or 5 years. Then I lost it when my computer crashed. I put the dream on hold until around 2012. I found a local film company and went to them with a script called Unnoticed. I was there for almost 2 years and got to meet some amazing people that I’m still friends with to this day.
PopHorror – That’s fantastic.
Chad Zuver – My very first project was Unnoticed. It had a Scream vibe and that is exactly what I wanted. But since it was my first movie, it turned out awful. A lot of issues came about during filming, and it changed the entire story of the movie. I don’t even own the rights to the film. I do have it on YouTube privately and share it with people who ask. My first real project was New Blood Rising. That will always hold a special place in my heart.
PopHorror – Speaking of New Blood Rising, that is the first move in your vampire series, along New Blood Awakening and the upcoming 3rd one called Descending. Where did the idea come about for this series?
Chad Zuver – This is actually a funny story. During late 2012, I saw a trailer for Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I never knew anything about the story or even read the books. So I had no idea what it was about, besides from the trailer. Then around Christmas, I had an idea for the New Blood series. It was similar to Mortal Instruments, but I went a different route. I spent my entire holiday planning out New Blood Rising. I was figuring out the character traits and doing an outline of the story. Then by the New Year, I had a script done. I did all of this a few weeks before I started production of Unnoticed. I always had the idea for New Blood Rising and New Blood Awakening. Descending was a fluke idea that came to me before filming New Blood Awakening. I kept it a secret from the cast and crew for a long time.
PopHorror – As previously mentioned, the third one is called Descending. Why did you steer away from “New Blood” in the title?
Chad Zuver – I wanted to go a different route with the story. The first two movies of New Blood really focused around Jade (Kayla Elizabeth) and Ophelia (Vanessa Leonard). Descending was focusing on a new character, Cassandra (KateLynn Newberry). All the characters from the previous movies are different. It’s like their lives were descending downward after the events from the first two movies. Kayla and I even talked about having a whole new cast of the movie and not returning any of the characters. But the story didn’t fit right with a new group of characters.
PopHorror – Ahhh, that makes sense! Although you wrote and produced this one, you got someone else (Kayla) to direct. What was the reason for that?
Chad Zuver – My sanity (laughs). As every single independent filmmaker will tell you, directing takes a lot out of you, mentally and physically. New Blood Awakening was a lot for me. I did a lot of things that I’ve never done before. Even though I love the movie, it was a total headache. I wanted to find someone I could really trust to tell the story. I talked with around 10 different directors that I wanted to direct the movie. Everyone gave me their own input and it was all great. I knew regardless of who I picked, the movie was going to be amazing. I went with Kayla Elizabeth and I made the right choice. She gave me her ideas and they were amazing. She knew the entire story since she was part of the first two movies. So I knew the movie was in good hands.
PopHorror – Completely agree. Is this the final one in the series?
Chad Zuver – (laughs) Umm… I have ideas for the series. But I think its best to keep them to myself. I don’t want to beat a dead horse and continue a franchise if it doesn’t fit.
PopHorror – Works for me, but I want to know all about them when you’re ready! Has it been a fun experience working with such talented people?
Chad Zuver – This really has. Working on Descending with such a talented cast has been amazing. Many of them instantly clicked with the others the day [we started filming]. I spent over a year talking with many other bigger names about roles in the movie. It was a long process, but we got the perfect cast. It was an honor to be in a scene with Lynn Lowry, who is a legit icon. I was also a little intimated to work with KateLynn Newberry. She is this completely amazing professional who knew these long, and I mean long monologues, word for word, while I stumbled on two lines (laughs). It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. It was always a fun time on set with them.
PopHorror – Wow! Yeah, there’s no way I could memorize stuff like that. Beyond your projects, what is your favorite vampire film?
Chad Zuver – There are so many! One of my favorites is The Lost Boys. I do love watching 30 Days of Night, Blade, and Interview With the Vampire. I know I’ll get hate for this, but I really really enjoyed the remake of Fright Night. I don’t know why, but I thought it was a fun movie to watch.
PopHorror – Those are all my favorites, too! With the recent passing of George A. Romero, I have to ask if he inspired you as a filmmaker at all?
Chad Zuver – Wes Craven was almost my biggest inspiration as a filmmaker. I took it really hard when he passed away. The A Nightmare on Elm Street series was pretty much my childhood. Scream was the reason I wanted to make movies. But with Romero, he pretty much created the zombie movie genre. I would be lying if I said he wasn’t a fraction of my inspiration. Everyone starting off as a filmmaker wants to be like one of the greats and use them as an inspiration. Many people pick Romero, or they pick Craven, Carpenter, Hooper, or Hitchcock. Romero will always be remembered. I must say his Diary of the Dead doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
PopHorror – Such great horror inspirations… Each one brought something special to the genre and film in general. Any other projects you’d like to talk about?
Chad Zuver – Well, right now, I’m just getting everything finished on post-production with Descending. After that is released, I’m going to do produce two movies before I walk off into the sunset (laughs). I have a movie somewhat written that I need a director for. Then I’m going to produce and be the cinematographer for Kayla Elizabeth’s movie No Laughing Matter. I went to her with the idea for the movie and we’ve been planning it since that day. After I complete those, I’m going to be stepping aside from film and just focusing on my life. You can see more from Shattered Images Films at our web page ShatteredImagesFilmsLLC.com. Check out the New Blood series, Final Act, and Talk Nerdy to Me.