Big Ole Update: THIRTY, Movies seen...and "The Shepis"
Oooh, I ache.
Been a crazy week. Lots to tell. Oh no, you say, not another Stephen King-esque novel of a blog (Blovel?) Lynch? Ok I'll be succinct, I promise...
-Got a chance to check out a very dark and disturbing film called JACK KETCHUM'S THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. Not quite a horror film, its like starting STAND BY ME and your older brother turns the channel to watch LAST HOUSE. Very unassuming, very well executed....very fucked up. Blowtorches will never be the same...speaking of which.
-Saw HOSTEL PART 2. After all the hype, all the articles on "Torture Porn" (The "Show me the money" term of the Horror world, it's already outmoded and groan-worthy) and it just came and went. I thought it was pretty good, didn't expect much maybe, but I laughed and squirmed in all the right places. Sorry, but I really hate how people call Eli a "hack". Have you seen one of his films? Even CABIN FEVER is well shot and competently made....just because he's where he is and youre not doesn't mean you have to be mean. Am I defending Eli? Sure, why not? He's a filmmaker doing his thing, if people like it; awesome. If not, well that's your deal, buck-o. After 3 films, I think you should know he's got chops....and that homage to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE was awe-inspiring (and shocking that it passed muster with our friends at the MPAA)
-Bri, Brian and I met up with Parker & a few friends at the Aero theater to geek out over a hum-dinger of a Double Feature: POLTERGEIST & CREEPSHOW. It was part of a film series called "1982: The Year of the Geek" and the place was packed with 'em, all enjoying every second of the movies. To see both of these personal favorites on the big screen (both prints in stellar shape) was amazing to behold...even though the "worst edit in cinema history" was still there in POLTERGEIST. Yeesh. But it was a blast to feel 10 again and made me remember why I made movies.
-For my part in THIRSTY, which we were shooting the bulk of this week, I had to undergo a personal first and a life-long dream...I got my first head cast done! What's a head cast? Well, for FX artists who have to say...make a severed head that looks realistic to your own facial features, they have to "cast" your head in an Alginate mix to capture your little tics, every detail "recorded" in hardened plaster. So after work, I drove to the famed Joe Blasco's FX School in Hollywood and sat in the makeup chair, giddy with excitement as the artists spread cold alginate all over my head, sealing up my senses and leaving me blind, deaf and smiling for 45 minutes while the casting hardened. Now, ever since I read Tom Savini's book and saw the head cast he did for FRIDAY THE 13TH, I've always wanted to at least try it. I've heard horror stories: people freaking out, feeling claustrophobic, tearing the cast off to breath, the list goes on. But once i was under, it was similar to what I assume is a "sensory deprivation" experience. While I faintly heard laughing in the background (probably at my expense), I just zoned out (or "zened" out) for about 40 minutes while it sealed around my hairy face....and then RRRRRRIIIIPPPPP they tore the cast (and a few thousand hairs) off, and there I was, my imprint in the plaster, ready to be manipulated. Crazy to say, but I would have done it again in a heartbeat...
-Had a marketing meeting at Nakatomi about the movie, and I guess it went OK. No throw downs, per se, but I didn't leave feeling very confident. Not thrilled at all about the Poster art and the tagline, but then again, who am I to say? Im just the director of the movie who knows a thing or two about the fans they are trying to market to. Oh well, can't win them all. Just dont blame me for their lack of imagination, OK? If you want, I'd be more than happy to post my taglines...hmmmm....
-THIRSTY DAY #2: We shot for a few hours at Andrews friend's house on Wednesday, but the first real official day of shooting on location was Friday night. I was already exhausted from my day at work, and to trek out to Lancaster at night was a bit of a challenge ("where the fuck are the road signs???" I kept screaming to myself) but it was my "big" scene with Shepis and I was at least excited to work with her on it. Plus, in the scene she was wearing only undies and boots, so I can't complain right? The location was the same gas station used in THE TERMINATOR (the ending) and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (the beginning), so it was cool to be inside a little geek film history, even though there was literally no power or working toilet, leaving me to spray dark doo in a ditch as dogs nearby barked at my vocal ass. As the skeleton crew furiously set up shots, Tif and I smoked (I had to for the part, bleech) and caught up on things; both getting married within weeks of each other, good old times at Troma, indie horror war stories, how she wanted me in the worst way (Ok the last part was made up, but throw me a bone people!). It was so cool to pass the time with her, cause we both get along great and have very disgusting senses of humor, which made the night go fast.
One highlight was while we were setting up, 3 Mexican hillbillies in a doorless (!)pickup truck screeches into the gas station and screams "Hey, whassha dooin'? Need sum exxtrasss? I can be short n shtty for ya, thas what ma wife says I am...Short N shitty!" Got that right pal. Then, the doorless pickup sped and four-wheeled it into the night, not before smashing into a fence and falling into darkness.
When it came to the actual shooting, aside from dubious technical issues (Generator is dying, lights flickering, too little help, etc), went pretty smooth. We hit our marks, dialogue was spoken, magic was made. Tif was a fucking pro. The role wasn't really much to chomp at other than finding different ways to gasp at how sexy I am (I know its hard) but she was fucking great to work with and made me feel very much at ease, especially with the more "intimate" moments. By the time the sun was creeping up on us, we were covered in fake (and real) sweat, tons or syrupy slushie and smiles all around; we got what we needed. So, a few fun pics with Tif and the gang and while that was "Wrap on Shepis", more juicy stuff was still to come...
-THIRSTY DAY 3: Tried to sleep after getting back home but to no avail. Ended up watching flicks to divert myself and then it was back out to Lancaster to do the big action scene with Michael Bailey Smith, who played Pluto in the HILLS remake (and was unfortunately part of HILLS 2). When I got out there, MBS was there, and we had a great time shooting the shit while the others set up the new (and quieter) genny. Once that bitch started up, we we off to the races, first shooting MBS's shots, then mine as much as we can. The key was to try to get him out asap, but you know how productions go....never how you want them. But Mike was great and Kasch commanded the set to get what he and Buz needed.
I got to see my severed head, which was a thrill. Emma, who had assisted on the head-casting and did most of the makeup on the set for the shoot, was there and showed me my huge melon, perfectly contained in a KFC bucket. Surreal seeing my head in a bucket. Kinda liked it.
So I wont give away the scene that MBS and I share but its pretty funny AND intense and we both threw ourselves into it...so much so that my back is currently fucking KILLING me. But it was great working with him and testing my physical comedy mettle. I hope it comes out OK; sometimes in indie and guerrilla shoots you never know if when the filmmakers are saying "its fine!" because they are happy or satisfied with what they got in the can, or if they are just thinking they got SOMETHING and have to move on...but I trust those guys enough to tell me if Im giving them what they need. Hell, I've been on that side of the camera, and it always helps to be honest, even just so you're not in the edit going "WHY DIDNT I GET ONE MORE TAKE?!?!?"
Around 4am, after Emma and her friend left early and as people were yawning and time was getting short, we wrapped out MBS, much to his relief, but as we were setting up another take we heard "Oh, Im fucked!" Michael had given Emma his keys to his car to hold while she was making him up...and she was already almost home! Furious calls and texts were sent and she finally responded and had to drive all the way back to drop off MBS's keys for him to drive home while he slept on a bloody counter, which was fucking sweet to see. Ah, production.
All in all i think we captured some great shit, and looking forward to shooting the final scenes to THIRSTY in a few weeks, including my big 3 page monologue which should rival Alec Baldwin's in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. Should be a real hootenanny!
Christ Im fucking exhausted, and I still have to fill you in on Fango Weekend of Horrors in Jersey! That'll have to wait for the next post (and if I have free time to recount the mayhem) but here are a few final notes...
-New WHITE STRIPES album "Icky Thump": Fucking Zeppelin brilliance. How is it these two are slowly becoming my favorite band? So many great tracks to choose from, a definite must listen. Now I just have to see them life to seal the deal.
-LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD: Fuck you, I kinda liked it. 2/3rds of it I was pretty enthralled by what Len Wiseman was doing with the franchise. It took a few scenes to get used to the fact that McClaine was in fact going Kojak, but the action was tight, Justin Long wasn't annoying, Kevin Smith was solid and the tunnel scene (between the action and McClaine talking to himself) was truly a DIE HARD moment. The final action set piece with the Truck vs. Jet was the stuff of video game physics and felt too distanced from reality and Tim Olyphant was really lacking as an antagonist. But for a movie I expected to hate, I had a pretty good time. Second viewing will be key here.
-TRANSFORMERS: OK, now THAT is a fucking summer movie! Im a Bay apologist, having liked most of his filmography, but this was perfect matching of director to material. If they had gone with, oh I dunno, Len Wiseman, it would have lacked the macho "oomph" the movie needed to propel it from kids film to totally accessible broad summer entertainment. Shia was a great reactor, Megan Fox's body was a great distractor, and the robot fighting was fucking killer. My suggestion? Sit far away from the screen; the action is done so well and strives for total photo-realism that it happens almost always in your face, so if you're like me and enjoy being closer to the screen for a full "cinemascope" experience....move back. I can't wait to see it again.
-FRIGHTFEST UK: We officially got into our first Film Festival! England's FrightFestUK, which is being held at the end of August, is one of the most influential festivals in Europe and beyond, with last year's fest alone spotlighting some of the best genre had to offer in 2006 like HATCHET, PAN'S LABYRINTH, ISOLATION & THE HOST. This year, the festival will be showing the likes of THE SIGNAL, ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE, POSTAL (holy shit wait till you see this one), SPIRAL, a cool HATCHET live commentary (look for cameos!), THE GIRL NEXT DOOR...and WRONG TURN 2! This is such an honor to be part of a great lineup and I can't wait to get over there to meet the fans! There's been a huge fanbase for the first film, so Im hoping to please the UK masses with our messy little splatterfest!
Click the link for more info and if you are in the area, come on down for a great night at the cinema...we'll be enjoying plenty of spotted dick and pints gore-lore! Thanks to Ian Ratteray, Alan Jones & Paul McEvoy for all their help with this!
So, let me let my fingers calm down a bit and I'll be back to give you a graphic blow-by-blow on the Jersey Fango convention and the red tape behind "release dates"...ugh. Fucking red tape.