Finished up the foley and sound-tweaks on High Stakes last night. After the miserable mic buzz made most of the live track useless, I was forced to ADR 90% of the short. Now, listening to the clean dialogue nestled in with the rest of the track, I wish we'd gone 100% ADR. All of the actors re-recorded their dialogue nearly-seamlessly, and it's just so much better. Add to that Scooter McCrae's awesome score, we have a cool little movie here. (In case we haven't said it ad nauseum, this is for Brinke's Tales of Horror due out this summer by JD Casey Productions.)
Which makes me feel a little better about starting production on Abattoir this coming Saturday. Thanks to JimmyO Burril, we'll have a great location to shoot an integral flashback with half the cast of Chainsaw Sally (along with Eric Thornett and some of his Pirannha Pictures family and effects artist Michael Conlon). Fortunately, all of this footage will be silent, so it's one thing I won't have to worry about. Driving to Baltimore and shooting in 16:9 24p for the first time ever is daunting enough. Not to mention that I'm actually acting in the damn thing! (What the hell was I thinking?)
Sirens of Cinema #3 hit the stands last Tuesday and I think it's our best issue to date. Our new layout artist, John Boone, did a terrific job and I think we're starting to hit our stride with the look and feel of the publication. Highlights of this issue include "The Ladies of SLiTHER" (including an excellent interview with Jenna Fischer by Debbie Rochon), a great interview with Tina Krause by the aforementioned Scooter, Linnea Quigley's first new interview in some time, Amy's third Pretty-Scary article and a neat Genghis Con overview by Art Ettinger of Ultra-Violent Magazine. Did I mention that I'm very happy with this issue?
Amy and I finally got the chance to see SLiTHER on Tuesday. We hit a 5:15pm showing and were the only people in the theater (save for a guy who kept popping in and out for some reason). I was immensely pleased by the film, which lived up to my expectations of gore and comedy, just like Gunn promised. My ONLY complaint, and it's a minor one, is with the dialogue. Now, Gunn is a clever, intelligent writer. He's not afraid of the low-brow joke, given his Troma background, but for the most part, the dialogue consisted of lines like "That's some fucked-up shit." and "What the fuck was that?" and "Fuck you, you fucking cocksucker." (This last one was delivered by the hilarious Gregg Henry, and he made it work.) So I was disappointed that there was so much of this and so little of Gunn's cleverness (though that aspect did shine through in the rest of the inventive script that merged Night of the Creeps, Night of the Living Dead and Shivers). So, again, minor gripe. Now, all of your horror bastards get moving and go see this movie, damn you!
Which brings me to another point: why are the characters in horror movies these days so unpleasant? I realize that was a standard set in (or around) Friday the 13th, but Jesus! How are you supposed to care if these people are ripped to shreds if you don't like them? The new Hills Have Eyes gives us the least functional family of nitwits in recent memory. Similarly, Hostel is about horrible, ugly Americans being brutally killed in Eastern Europe. Roth's previous Cabin Fever was about horrible people contracting an equally-horrible disease.
The low-budget arena fares no better. The last few Asylum movies are rife with unpleasant people who don't like each other systematically slaughtered for no good reason. And they're always going on camping or hiking trips, trapped with each other before they're separated, and no one can stand each other. I don't know about you but I rarely go on trips with people I hate. Is the kind of bickering that passes for dialogue a short-hand for the conflict they'll face in the future? Or is it just lazy writing? Note to the screenwriters out there: if you hate the main characters, your audience with root for the villains. If that's what you want, you've done your job.
V for Vendetta is an outstanding--if heavy-handed--and surprising movie, given the world's current repressive climate. It echoes a sentiment made by Thomas Jefferson that I always admired, in which he insists that every generation should revolt against its government to remain free. And he made this assertion after he drafted the Declaration of Independence. V calls for people to keep their governments in check, to not give up our civil liberties in exchange for "feeling safe". It says, rightfully so, that the government is not the controlling hand but the servant.
I'd love for everyone in the U.S. to run out and see this movie and get it. But the grumbling that I've heard around the net by the zombies who have seen it are largely irked that there wasn't more "Bullet Time" like in The Matrix and that Natalie Portman isn't as hot when her head was shaved. Oh, yeah, and it was confusing.
This particular bread and circus wasn't as nourishing and thrilling to our downtrodden masses, I guess. Which is a shame. Because it's a message that really has to be received.
Maybe the special edition DVD will make people wake up...
For some reason, we're doing it again. Genghis Con II: The Wrath of Con will kick off from September 15-17, 2006 at the Greentree Radisson in Pittsburgh, PA. Our guests this year include Lloyd Kaufman, Debbie Rochon, Amy Lynn Best, Tiffany Shepis, Sofiya Smirnova, Melantha Blackthorne and April Monique Burril. More guests will be announced soon. The screening room will be manned by Secret Scroll Digest and we will be hosting the 2nd Annual Pretty-Scary Film Festival. So check out the official site, reserve your tickets (discounts on weekend passes available with a verified room booking at the Radisson) and come on down!