Q&A with Henry Kaplan, Director of “We Together”

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ALTER: Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
HENRY KAPLAN: Absolutely. I’m not actually a huge horror fan, but when I released this film it became apparent that I was— like it or not— now a part of something. I’ve gotten lots of messages through social media and met lots of people at festival screenings. People are obsessive about the genre and particular iterations of monsters. In my case, I’ve had some very interesting conversations about the psychology of zombies. It’s been really cool geeking out about this with total strangers!

A: When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
HK: For this film, the first thing I looked at was the documentary “Hoop Dreams” from the 90s. It’s an amazing film— one of the best documentaries ever made— and there’s one scene in particular where these two high school basketball phenoms work at a Pizza Hut over the summer. In the footage we see of this, they’re joking around and dancing while they make pizzas. Sort of subconsciously, the whole idea for the zombies’ backstory came from that movie.
I also looked at some music videos from the late 90s and early 2000s. The biggest one was “Days Go By” by Dirty Vegas. It has a similar narrative — a person dancing unexpectedly and uncontrollably — but also feels like it’s really happening in the real world, not in a heightened context or as if it’s “just a music video.” My main goal in building this world was that, even though we’re in a zombie apocalypse, it should feel tangible, like the same gravity applies there as it does in any other reality.

A: What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
HK: If I woke up in “We Together” as a human, I’d run.
If I woke up as a zombie, I’d dance my ass off, obviously.

A: Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
HK: Regan from THE EXORCIST and Jack from THE SHINING. It would be like a buddy horror film. I feel like the two of them would wreak an insane amount of weird spiritual trauma on the world, and when they’re not doing that, they’d have a lot to talk about!

A: Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI?
HK: Freddy, because the dream world is way scarier than the real world… And Jason is pretty basic, if we’re being honest.
H.P. Lovecraft, because he wrote the story that RE-ANIMATOR is based on. Enough said… Stephen King is great, though, of course.
Practical over CGI.