Daniel Lee: Bringing Out The (Un)Dead


Daniel Perea, commonly known as Daniel Lee, (or Dr. Daniel when he’s fronting his band–Dr. Daniel and the Rockabilly Vampires) has a penchant for zombies and B-grade horror movies. In fact, the film maker from Blue Springs, held the world-premiere for his campy nod to the McCarthy era, OCHO: Arachnid From Hell, on Halloween night at the Malco in Tupelo. Playing to a packed-house, OCHO tells the story of a radioactive spider on the loose in Guntown, with a communist sub-plot to help heighten the paranoia.

“I have been in love with science fiction and horror since my earliest memory of seeing The Empire Strikes Back (at a drive-in no less) in 1980,” said Lee. “ So years later, as an adult, it was pretty inevitable that I would delve into filmmaking. My first real film was a music video for “Graveyard Road”– a song I wrote on one of my musical projects. I had a Kodak digital camera and two 16mb memory cards.”

Lee is no stranger to the film-festival circuit, and he will make his return to Starkville tonight. Memphis Zombie Attack: The Documentary will be shown during the 11th Annual Magnolia Film Festival at Hollywood Premiere Cinemas at approximately 8:50 PM. The film is a “nine-minute documentary chronicling the first zombie walk event held in Memphis, The Memphis Zombie Attack. This event took place on May 25, 2007,” Lee said.


Pop-Rock Candy Mountain (PRCM): Are you showing in any other festivals besides the Mag?

Daniel Lee (DL): I’ve submitted to a couple and I am awaiting a response. I plan on submitting to a couple more. They usually don’t tell you whether your film has been accepted until less than a month before the festival begins.
My films have previously screened in five different festivals. And for the record, Oxford rejected me this year. Boo!

PRCM:Are you looking forward to the Mag?

DL: Absolutely. Out of all of the festivals I’ve attended, it’s been by far the best. It was the first in Mississippi, and I like to say “The first one is still the best one.” I’m eager to meet and share ideas and stories with other filmmakers.

PRCM: Why “Memphis” and not “OCHO?”

DL: Film festivals apparently don’t appreciate the finer points of OCHO’s production values… or rather lack thereof. I’m not sure they fully understand it’s SUPPOSED to be bad, as no festival has yet accepted it. Or perhaps they weigh this incredibly absurd giant spider movie against some truly original work of absolute genius…. and they simply can’t justify rejecting the epic masterpiece in favor of a silly b-movie. They have a limited amount of time they can devote to features and have to reject quite a few movies. I can’t really blame them for including OCHO among the rejects.

PRCM: Were you surprised with “OCHO’s” reception in Tupelo?

DL: Yes, I was. I had assumed this town was gonna be really apathetic toward a homegrown b-movie. And with the VHS and cable TV generation of today, I wasn’t sure if anybody ever really watched any of the old black & white, drive-in shlock I know and love. So I wasn’t sure they’d really get the movie. But they came out in droves on a Tuesday night, loved the movie, and demanded more. What more could I possibly ask for?

PRCM: How do you feel about the current state of cinema? Are there any great directors left?

DL: The current state of mainstream cinema is pretty awful. I think the underground is where you’re more likely to find something interesting. There are a handful of standout directors still out there in Hollyweird. Ridley Scott still makes a great movie now and then. And on a more recent note, the Coen Brothers (currently up for a few Oscars) deserve a lot of credit for having been able to consistently make unique films exactly the way they want to make them without much studio interference. And what most people don’t know is that Joel Coen was the editor on Evil Dead. So I give him bonus points for that!

PRCM: Do you approach film making as art or entertainment?

DL: I definitely approach it as art. What makes film unique is that it takes the combination of all other artforms to create it. Writing, acting, painting, photography, sculpture, architecture, clothing design, music, dance, graphic design, choreography…. Most, if not all of these come into play somewhere in the creation of a movie. Even though some film is obviously created as nothing more than an entertainment product to generate profit (*cough*Transformers*cough*), somewhere there is someone who probably holds it in high esteem as a work of art. I certainly think of movies like The Giant Gila Monster and Wild Guitar to be works of art.

PRCM: What’s next from Daniel Lee?

DL: I’m currently working on the much-anticipated sequel to OCHO – It Came From Beyond Beyond. The project is in pre-production. I’m currently still finalizing the story in my head. Even so, I will probably shoot a couple of scenes in a week or two, simply because a cast member is in the Air Force and has only a short window of opportunity for me to shoot him before being deployed overseas. The rest of production probably won’t start for months. I don’t even have a monster to attack the actor yet, but it should appear that he is being attacked by one in the finished product. That’s the magic of movies for ya!

Hot-links: Daniel Lee/Suicide Kings Films


  1. WOO! Now an interview with my husband. Who’s next…my mom?


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    Paul Thorn Tupelo native Paul Thorn returns to town Thursday night with a show at the Lyric Theater. His new video,A Long Way From Tupelo, is currently playing on GAC and a limited edition of his album of the same name will be available at the show. For more information, go to http://www.paulthorn.com/ 1. First, I have to say, Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. I try keep it down to one heaping bowl full a week since it's full of saturated fats and I'm a 43 year old trying to keep up the image of a front man. BUT, sometimes I'm weak and I backslide. 2. My Six Million Dollar Man Pinball machine. I finally got it fixed and have been playing it a lot. My 4 year old is learning how to play it so we get to play it together. 3. Saturday mornings, I get up and watch Kay Bain. I've been a loyal WTVA viewer for many years but I get a little upset because they've cut Kay down to just being on once a week. I love Kay Bain. You know, my coffee just tastes better with Kay Bain. 4. I've recently thrown out my old socks. I went to Wal-mart and bought a 12-pack of brand new white socks. I got them all for about eight bucks so I've been really happy about that. 5. My 14 year old daughter, Kit has become a facination. I've always been all about my daughter but now she's coming out with this Aretha Franklin style, powerful voice and I've just been amazed. I love listening to her sing.
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