From Troma to indie superheroes to to cartoon adaptations to big-time monster-fests, James Gunn is a filmmaker I like to keep an eye on from time to time. I find his Slither to be a supremely entertaining mixture of comedy and horror, his The Specials a very funny little comedy (at least a whole lot funnier than the similar Mystery Men), and his Tromeo & Juliet the finest thing ever produced by Lloyd Kaufman's Troma team. And while director Zack Snyder did a great job on the Dawn of the Dead remake, let's not forget who penned the adaptation: Gunn did it. Basically, if I had the skills required to write and direct movies, they'd probably look a lot like James Gunn's flicks -- only with more nudity. (Oh, and check out LolliLove some time. Funny little film.)

So when we got a late call during Comic-Con asking us if we'd like to do a brief sit-down with Jimmy Gunn, I said "Heck, yeah. That guy's a nut." (That was literally what I said. Ask Erik.) And since I'd actually met James once before, it was much more laid-back than your typical interview. James Gunn is sort of like a grown-up child, which I mean as a compliment, and that always makes an interview a bit more entertaining. Plus he has great taste in schlock.

I was hoping for some sort of mega-cool piece of news regarding a Slither sequel or a Specials TV spin-off, but James and I focused mainly on two topics: How cool it actually is to be a geek -- and a series of short films that Gunn is producing for Xbox. Yep, original content on your Xbox 360, free of charge, and presented to you by James Gunn and five other horror directors. Oh, and the shorts are all comedies. Gunn's own short will be called Humanzee, and to hear the man talk about the project, you'd think he just birthed twins who somehow split a billion-dollar lottery only 15 seconds after arrival. (In other words: He's geeked out big-time for the project as a whole, and frankly it's pretty refreshing to see a filmmaker display some hardcore enthusiasm for a short film series.) Check out THIS brief piece of drug-inspired lunacy:



Some of the other directors who'll be doling out the chuckles on your 360 include James Wan (Saw), Lucky McKee (May), Andrew Douglas (The Amityville Horror), Marcus Nispel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and David Slade (30 Days of Night). Details on the shorts have been kept half-quiet so far, but Gunn assures me that (at the very least) I'll love McKee's contribution to the series. "Effing hilarious," is what I believe he said, only not "effing." (Us horror geeks are a profane lot, sorry.) Interested parties can check out the series on 360 sometime around Halloween -- and that's not the only geek-treat that Gunn has in store for us!

He's also hard at work on a VH1 reality show called Scream Queens, in which several aspiring actresses will live together in a house, get the crap scared out of them on a regular basis, and then get eliminated in typical reality show fashion. And the winner gets a major role in a Lionsgate horror film! (I generally detest these types of shows, but hell, if this one has a horror movie slant, I'll be DVRing the whole dang season.) Flick-wise, Mr. Gunn has written (and may direct) a comedy for Ben Stiller in which a man is kidnapped by aliens and plunked down in an intergalactic pet store. I'm sorry, but that's so nifty a concept that it makes me want to kick James Gunn for thinking of it first.

So there you have it: A quick update on the current workings of a certifiable movie mega-nerd. Keep an eye out for Scream Queens on VH1, Humanzee (and all the other 'comedy from horror' shorts) on Xbox 360, and (hopefully) that Pet Store project. Lord knows we have enough BORING movies out there, so I say long live the Gunn!


James Gunn's Humanzee Xbox Trailer - video powered by Metacafe