A Conversation with Simon Lahm
Cult Critter: How did you get into filmmaking? What filmmakers have made an impact on you and shaped your taste and style?
Simon: I studied filmmaking in Munich 12 years ago. Since then I released several short films and I established a small production company. One of my first shorts “JUSTUS – Cinema of the Dead” gained international attention and there is even a small group of hardcore fans in Munich that watch my movies in the cult cinema “Werkstattkino”. My producers Tim Luna and Bea Lugosi Festerling are always part of my team and they put a lot of effort and creativity into the projects we do. I like Italian cinema a lot, Dario Argento and Mario Bava are my favorite filmmakers. On the other hand classic directors like Hitchcock, Roger Corman had a huge impact on me. Lately, it’s Ari Aster who blows my mind with every movie he releases.
Cult Critter: I agree with you. Ari Aster is really something else when it comes to modern horror. I am a horror fan and obviously, you are too, but what inspired you to venture into the genre yourself?
Simon: It is more my homeland Bavaria that inspires with everything I do. The people here are very conservative and every crisis shows that they already act like zombies, so I decided to make a little fun of that. You will find zomby “Dirndl” and “Lederhosen” in some of my movies!
Cult Critter: Zombie horror has become such a rich subgenre, that it branched out further into many sub-subgenres. What is it about zombies that people can’t get enough of?
Simon: Despite other movie monsters, zombies used to be humans. They can be a symbol for something or just part of social critics in their surroundings. For me they don’t have to be zombies, this also works with “Swamp Things”, “Citizen Toxics” or more simply: Vampires. George A. Romero’s “Martin” shows that it is not the appearance that makes a monster but what it used to be.
Cult Critter: What is your all time favorite zombie film and why?
Simon: My all-time favorite zombie flick is “Day of the Dead”. It is dark, gory, and pure science fiction. Captain Rhodes is nothing but evil without any reason, this scares me to hell.
Cult Critter: What was the visual and conceptual inspiration for TAXI DEAD?
Simon: I wanted it to be funny like “Return of The Living Dead” and look like contemporary cinema. With the topics of taxis, zombies, and Bavaria we also have the colors settled: Red, Yellow, Blue/White.
Cult Critter: Can you share some details about the creative process? Was there something that you found particularly challenging about your film?
Simon: It is not easy to make horror movies in upper Bavaria. We had a storyboard and several mood boards to define the look, which really worked out very well. On the other it is very simple with short films to gain a big pool of creative people in your team: everyone had ideas and I tried to let everyone’s mind and creative input be part of the movie.
Cult Critter: What are your plans and dreams for the future as a filmmaker?
Simon: Recently I had a new idea and I hope that I will be able to shoot it. Since I’m not a fan of secrets, I will share the following idea with you: In upper Bavaria, there is an old myth about the so-called “Wolpertinger”. This is a creature made out of several body parts and was also shown in taxidermic exhibitions, every child here knows about the fantasy “Wolpertingers”. So I will have a bavarian brass band trying to survive a gig they have in a “Wirtshaus” in the bavarian backcountry where “Wolpertinger” suddenly come to life.
Cult Critter: Sounds spectacular! I can’t wait to see it!