Comic books and radio were my escape. I even remember 3-D comic books where you put on the red-and-green glasses and Mighty Mouse would punch you in the face. It was the literature of the day for kids my age who were too bored with listening to 'Peter and the Wolf' on the record player.
At the time we did 'Night,' I was a director of television commercials. Some of them cost a lot more than our whole movie. They were very slick, sophisticated... we wanted the opposite look for 'Night.' We wanted it to look like a newsreel.
To me, the zombies have always just been zombies. They've always been a cigar. When I first made 'Night of the Living Dead,' it got analyzed and overanalyzed way out of proportion. The zombies were written about as if they represented Nixon's Silent Majority or whatever. But I never thought about it that way.
There are so many factors when you think of your own films. You think of the people you worked on it with, and somehow forget the movie. You can't forgive the movie for a long time. It takes a few years to look at it with any objectivity and forgive its flaws.
'The Thing from Another World' was the first movie that really scared me. But the one that made me want to make movies was 'The Tales of Hoffman.' That's my favorite film of all time. It's a fantasy film. It's an opera. I never get tired of it.
One thing about a film production is that it must run efficiently; there is no room for dead wood. So somebody that hangs around by the coffee wagon won't get hired again, but somebody who is dedicated and works hard and really puts out will get noticed by the people that matter around there and will get asked to come back again.
I've seen so many young filmmakers - even professional filmmakers who get a Hollywood deal - they don't quite know where to begin, where to end, and they'll waste a lot of time making this perfect shot, an establishing shot, and then there's no time left to shoot the dialogue.
There is something about the sameness people like. And what I've tried to do with all the zombie films is purposely make them different. That may be part of why it takes so long for people to see what it's intended to be.
First of all, in the old days, if you wanted to show someone getting shot on film, all you could do was place an effect in the original take. And if you wanted to brighten somebody's face and leave the rest of the room dark, that was a very expensive process.
On the other side of that coin, and far outweighing it, is the fact that I've been able to use genre of Fantasy/Horror and express my opinion, talk a little about society, do a little bit of satire and that's been great, man. A lot of people don't have that platform.
I did 'Land of the Dead,' which was the biggest zombie film I had ever made. I don't think it needed to be that big. That money went largely to the cast. They were great, but I don't think that money needed to be spent.
As great as Ed is, the wisdom out here is that he can't carry a movie. They'll pay him $3 million to be the second banana in Julia Roberts things. But they won't put up $3 million for an Ed Harris movie.