July 29, 2009

Movies For Hot Weather

Every year when the days become intolerably muggy and miserable I get irrational movie cravings. You'd think I'd want to kick back with something chilly and soothing, but it's quite the opposite. My brain craves fever dreams, it wants to bog down in sweltering incoherence and spin its wheels giddily. Suffering through the longest, hottest entertainments during the summer months is its own form of escapism -- it makes it easier to meld with a movie and project yourself into it, and the stain it leaves on your psyche lingers a lot longer. Here are a few of the movies that will help push you over the edge into delirium. Turn off your AC, press a glass of something cold to your forehead, and prepare to lose your mind in luxury.

First of all there's Night of the Iguana, adapted from Tennessee Williams' play and starring Ava Gardner, Richard Burton, and the incomparable Deborah Kerr. Most of the movie takes place at an isolated Mexican beach resort where the characters all take turns healing and destroying each other. Here's the trailer:



I've posted about Robert Altman's Three Women before. Watching Sissy Spacek and Shelley Duvall grapple for dominance in the middle of the Californian never gets old for me. Over time (and the movie is over two hours long, so there is a lot of it) camp humor gives way to existential dread amidst the most blinding '70s decor you've ever seen. The lugubrious soundtrack will pin you down and gradually drain your will to live -- but you cannot look away. Here are the first ten minutes:



This is a real firecracker. You don't have to have seen David Lynch's Twin Peaks TV series to appreciate his cinematic prequel Fire Walk With Me as one of his strangest and most emotionally charged films -- the movie shouldn't work, but for some reason it just does. Lynch gives you all the necessary info on a need-to-know basis as you tour the crime-scenes, roadhouses, and psychotic episodes of small-town America. If Sheryl Lee's sultry/horrified performance doesn't flip some sort of hidden switch in your amygdala, then you might not be human. Here's the trailer:



Here's another Altman treat. This one goes down smoother than 3 Women, but it has about 25 more characters to keep track of and over a dozen musical numbers, so this is long-haul entertainment at its finest. I couldn't find a clip that does Nashville justice, so here's a montage set to one of the movie's songs. Give it a chance and it will become one of those movies you quote at least once a week.

July 25, 2009

Wallpaper Dream

In last night's dream I was on vacation visiting my mom. She took me with her to visit an elderly female relative whom I'd never met before, warning me that the old woman had never really recovered from the loss of her husband years ago, and that she could be rather crazy and unpleasant.

At the old woman's house, things went about like you'd expect -- she asked bizarre questions and acted outraged when the answers didn't meet her expectations. At one point she accidentally broke a coffee mug and then demanded that I pay to have it replaced. Irritated, I refused, pointing out that she'd broken it herself. My mom was ashamed of my manners, but the old woman seemed pleased by my reaction and suddenly took an interest in me. She asked if I wanted to come outside with her and see her garden, the one she'd been working on since her husband died. I let her lead me outdoors.

What I saw when she opened the back door awed and terrified me. Every inch of the outdoors had been covered over with wallpaper -- the lawn, the trees, as far as the eye could see, all wrapped in different colors and patterns. Astounded at the depth of her grief and madness, I burst into spontaneous tears and began weeping profusely. She laughed at my reaction. I whirled around, looking for a place she'd missed, but even the flowerbeds were papered over. I could see hints of dark earth in the cracks between sheets of paper. The outside of her house was covered too.

My mother rushed outside to see what the commotion was, but she couldn't figure out why I was crying. I tried to explain, but I realized with horror that she couldn't even see the wallpaper, that it wasn't really even there -- the old woman had actually just passed her own vision over to me somehow, infecting me with her madness, which I had been so impatient with earlier. My mind contorted, unable to comprehend itself.

Then I woke up. I lay there, relieved -- until suddenly I realized I could hear music playing in the living room! It was 5 AM, why would music be playing? I ran to my computer to check it out, and this is what had been underscoring my dream:


Nothing had been playing when I went to bed. I think it's possible that one of the cats jumped up on my desk and trampled my keyboard, somehow triggering the "play" button; otherwise I have no idea. I'm sure that the music had something to do with the potency of the dream, though. It gets pretty intense right around the 3:00 mark, which must have been while I was still asleep. Tex always refers to this movement as "music to drink poison to", I should have known I'd eventually fall victim to it.

April 6, 2009

SUNDAY, MAY 3RD - UNDER ST. MARKS



Horse Trade Theater Group presents
The Rise and Fall of Nina Simone:
Montreux, 1976
@ UNDER St. Marks
94 St. Marks Place, btw 1st Ave and Avenue A
L train to 1st Ave, F/V to 2nd Ave, N, R, W train to 8th St, 6 train to Astor Pl.
Sunday, May 3rd @ 9:00 PM
Just $7

Decades before Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, Cat Power, or Fiona Apple ever left crowds shaking their heads in concern, there was the legendary Nina Simone. On July 3rd 1976, Simone stepped onto the stage of the Montreux Jazz Festival after a two-year hiatus in Africa. Belligerent and disoriented -- and almost certainly under the influence of illicit substances -- Simone gave the Swiss audience a startlingly vulnerable musical set, liberally spiced with bizarre musings, flubbed lyrics, fits of temper, and querulous shout-outs to her dear (but sadly, absent) friend David Bowie. This filmed performance has become a secret sensation on DVD, but only when experienced with an audience (preferably, a drinking audience) can it be fully appreciated as a goldmine of comedy, tragedy, and musical talent.

This two-hour video showcase is a bipolar evening of music, laughter, and indoctrination into the ever-growing cult of Nina, including bonus clips, trivia, games, and special tribute performances by beloved MeatPacking District restaurauteur Florent Morellet and Joe's Pub cabaret idol Michelle "Shells" Hoffman. Curated by hosts Tom Blunt (Arcanalogue, Hermitosis) and Chris Kelly (recently seen in Black Henna Productions' Torch Song Trilogy).

March 19, 2009

"There's nothing worse, I'm telling you..."

Congratulations, HBO, you've officially locked down the market for big-budget Lifetime-esque movies-of-the-week that will only be enjoyed by bored stay-at-home moms and gays with an unquenchable thirst for camp tragedy.


February 26, 2009

Actors Needed - "Julius Caesar" on the Ides of March, Live From Central Park!

February 25, 2009

Greetings, Haunted Late-Night Googlers Of The World!

Nothing makes me feel more cozily connected to the world's freaks and strangers than my web-traffic doohickey that logs all the Google searches which lead people to this site. Thanks to the wide range of subjects I've discussed with my many interviewees and contributers, I pop up --rather misleadingly, I'm ashamed to admit -- in all kinds of searches related to things that most people probably shouldn't look at during work hours.

Here's a collection of these search keywords from this last week. I omitted repeats, of which there were many -- especially when it came to "castration fantasy" and "asphyxiation video." As is, this list is a nice little poem channeled from the world's brainstem, composed of nuggets that for the most part you should NOT Google yourself under unless you're feeling pretty adventurous:

"Big taranchula eating people parking lot"

"3d fantasy castration"

"Bloody valentine 3d vulva"

"Scholarly articles on Zombies"

"Spongebob fan club phone number"

"Judi dench + stroke the others arm"

"Plastic bag asphyxiation video"

"Really gross hairy spiders"

"Love my oral surgeon"

"Grab ankles horror movie"

"African slaves overboard children become water creatures"

"Slavery through hypnosis"

I'd like to imagine each Googler as a maniac, outfitted in threadbare underpants and slurping corn chowder out of a plastic doll-head, desperately killing time until the next twitching, sweaty bout of slumber. Or worse, a thirteen-year-old with his dad's credit card hoping to score some badly faked snuff-porn before his 9PM bedtime, just like at the end of Demonlover. (OMG Demonlover!!)

But as a writer who constantly finds himself Googling really sketchy, antisocial-sounding phrases nearly every day as a matter of occupational necessity, I know better (my own browser history reveals particularly damning searches such as "pound puppies cartoon"). I'm sure "slavery through hypnosis" guy (or gal. I sort of hope it's a gal...) is actually just a lot like me! And I hope that next time they're looking for "deathmask lizard erotica" -- for some sort of doctorate thesis of great cultural relevance, no doubt -- that they'll stick around for a while, read a few interviews, say howdy. I sure do enjoy seeing new faces around here.

MMMM, chowder.

February 24, 2009

Arcanalogue: New Cycle of Cards Underway!


Maybe you haven't noticed, but it's been a little dead around here! I've been taking a break from posting to hermitosis so that I can get my Tarot site, Arcanalogue, up and running once more; in December I finished a full cycle of 78 cards, and after a short break on that front I'm already ankle-deep in a brand new cycle.

Everything's a little bit different over there; the cards have a new look, the "Draw One Card" feature has been rolled out, there's a blogroll on my resources page, and perhaps best of all, I started a new sideblog on the Readings/Events page where I can post about upcoming events, notes from readings, and answers to questions about the Tarot that I get from people all over the place.

Don't be sad, things will pick up again over here at hermitosis eventually. In the meantime I'm going great guns over on Arcanalogue and you should visit me there. Draw one card, it'll make you feel better!

February 2, 2009

Seen Between Fingers - The Final Chapter...?

In this regular feature, wimp and noted horror non-enthusiast Chris Kelly has reported back with his first-impressions of memorable scary movies. Having given the original My Bloody Valentine a whirl, it seemed appropriate for him to give the 3-D remake a go. What a trooper!

This will be the last installment of SEEN BETWEEN FINGERS for the time being. Chris has been a good sport, but I fear that if I don't give him time to rehabilitate and re-sensitize, he could wind up brandishing a pick-axe himself. Thanks to those of you who have expressed your enjoyment of this feature, perhaps we'll revisit it in the future.

My Bloody Valentine 3-D is, first and foremost, the least memorable film ever screened for an audience. Honestly, I would have written this review sooner, but I am continually forgetting that I actually saw the movie. It flew from my mind within minutes of leaving the theater. Despite occasionally excessive gore and intermittently interesting forays into the third dimension, it was by and large a waste of time for all involved.

Not that an effort wasn't made -- the film's opening goes out of its way to outdo its predecessor. Harry Warden, formerly just a ghost story, gets one hell of a prologue. Probably still bristling at the notion that nine gory minutes had been removed from the source material, the filmmakers pack the first nine minutes of their remake with the pick-axiest, eye-gougingest, head-shovelingest footage you have ever seen. Take that, MPAA. It was actually an interesting way to begin the story: without context or background, it was suddenly unclear who the main characters were. I had no formulaic plot devices to cling to: anyone could be the star, and anyone could be the next victim.

We then jump ten years into the future. This had potential to be a smart choice; the Valentine's Day Massacre is no longer a distant memory for our leads, but a formative trauma from their teenage years. Unfortunately, no one really signed onto this project to do any of that pesky acting, so we're treated to several open-mouthed gawks from the pouty heroines and brooding, flexy stares from the attractive-ish man-heros. We're also repeatedly told that mining is important to this town. (People have trouble articulating how, though, as no one under the age of sixty seems to be actually working in or around the mine.)

Just when all the talking and explaining and emoting are starting to wear you down, the movie remembers how to have a good time. Let me tell you, I might not recall 75 percent of what went down on that screen, but I will never unsee the three-dimensional projection of a naked, gun-toting blonde in porn heels parading her shaved vulva across a motel parking lot. Where 1981 viewers had to content themselves with a flash of bra, the new generation can use their depth perception to gauge just how fake those bouncing boobies might be. By the time the murderer has dangled an electrocuted midget from the ceiling, I was prepared to give this movie a second chance. I mean, at least we're trying something different, right?

Wrong. It's all routine from here, kids. Sure, the murders are gross. But though I had to close my eyes a couple times, the noteworthy fact is that I kept them open for most of it. Even with the benefit of three dimensions and an ever-loosening set of standards for acceptable on-screen violence, this one couldn't convince me (me!) to look away while people were beheaded and eviscerated for sport. There were also some decent attempts at plot twists, but the love triangle (square?) was kind of hokey and overdone, and in the end, do I really care who they're all sleeping with or which bland, biceped studlet did the actual killing?

I guess everyone did their best. The goal, to make the same mediocre movie with more red ooze, was more than achieved. Body parts jumped right off the screen, and that bespectacled dwarf practically chased her dog right into my lap. There was actual sex and constant, punishing death. People said words with ostensible meaning. A body was found in a dryer and a girl was tormented with coveralls, just like the last time OMG!!! But why does any of that matter if I found myself browsing a bookstore thirty minutes later, honestly unable to recall what I had done with my afternoon?*

*Full disclosure: I checked my shower for three days to see if the miner was there.

January 21, 2009

INTERVIEW - Lars Horntveth Releases Kaleidoscopic Album That Lynch Would Love

The Norwegian ensemble Jaga Jazzist has been a platform for many side projects, but Lars Horntveth has really raised the stakes with his new album, joining forces with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra to produce a 36-minute single track that invites the listener to take an uninterrupted journey across an imaginative sonic landscape (though passages of it are available to preview here). Here's my chat with Horntveth about some of the intentions and influences that made Kaleidoscopic possible...

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TB: Continuity is a battleground issue in both music and film. Some filmmakers, such as David Lynch, disapprove of films being broken up into chapters on DVD, trying to make it more difficult for the viewer to disrupt the continuity of films. Meanwhile, the music industry is rapidly struggling to adapt to a world where listeners buy singles, not albums. Does Kaleidoscopic's structure comment on these sorts of issues?

LH: Yes, absolutely. The decision not to cut the album up in tracks was very thought through. It's not that I want to be difficult, but I think Kaleidoscopic has to be listened to from start to finish. There is just too much music released these days and so much of it just don't get the attention it deserves. I just like the idea that you sit down, relax and listen to music. Also that you make time for the music to work. Not all albums are made so you can “understand it” on the first listen. I love albums that take time to understand or like cause they are often those I listen to for many years. So I wanted to make an album like that.


TB: I read that you count Joanna Newsom among your influences. Can you describe Newsom's impact on Kaleidoscopic?

LH: Joanna Newsom´s Ys was on of the main reasons I wanted to have just on composition on the album. There are 5 tracks on Ys, but they are very long. I think for a pop/alternative singer like Newsom, it's a very brave decision to do that. I guess there were some fans that fell off, but she most certainly got some new, very dedicated ones. Musically, one of my all time favorite composers, Van Dyke Parks, has arranged the orchestra on the album and Jim O'Rourke mixed it. That's inspiration enough for me.


TB: What does the new Jaga Jazzist work you're rehearsing sound like to you after working on your own music for so long?

LH: Actually, the new Jaga album is already recorded. We are mixing it in February 2009. I think we have managed to combine more complex elements in the music this time. More progressive stuff, harder to play, but still catchy I think. While What We Must was a more straight going, indie rock/shoegazer influenced album, this one is very detailed and “written out.” It´s influenced by Steve Reich, Rick Wakeman, Dungen, Spirit, Fela Kuti, King Crimson, MGMT, Air etc. Hehe, I think it's too early for me to say what this album actually sounds like...


TB: How do you know when a musical idea you've had is something for Jaga Jazzist or something for you to work on solo?

LH: That's is actually not a problem for me. First of all, I have three main projects that I work with; Jaga, The National Bank and my solo stuff. There are so many people involved in these bands, so we have to plan our time very far ahead. So it just gets very natural what to do. We took a break with Jaga for almost 3 years, in that time it was natural for me to do something on my own. Another aspect is that with Jaga, I write for nine people I have known almost all my life, not nine professional musicians. In my solo works I work with classically trained musicians who just play what's on the written sheet. So the processes are very different from each other, democracy versus dictatorship.


TB: You set out to make this album without knowing what the outcome would be. Is that an experiment you'd like to repeat for future albums?

LH: I think that the idea of writing chronologically was very interesting and challenging. The main thing was to keep focus on what would be the right curve of the album. Not to make it too intense, but also not too quiet. I think that it could work to do something like this again. Anyway, I like concept albums, so I'll probably have some kind of dogma thing going on next time as well.

January 20, 2009

VERSUS POLL - Desroy All Bridezillas!

Obnoxious and downright villainous bridesmaids, here is what you have to look forward to! Click here to help decide which of these 16 uncouth damsels has the worst etiquette...

January 19, 2009

Guest Post at Trailers Undone - Coming Attractions, Yet To Come


I was invited to write a guest article for the site Trailers Undone, a great blog about movie trailers by a fellow MeFite. Here's my bit about the phenomenon of bootleged previews that have inflamed the internet, popping up all over to let us know which trailers we're not cool enough to have seen in person, with links to the "leaked" trailers for Tron, Star Trek, and The Wolf Man (for which I am personally wetting myself in anticipation). Did I miss any good ones? I'd love some links in the comments over there...

January 16, 2009

MicroHorror Featured Pick - "I Am Done! Or, The Last Entry of J. P. Lawson"

This is the 14th story from MicroHorror that I've featured -- a mere microcosm of the site's cyclopean compilation of 666-words-or-less fiction. This entry by Seth Furman reminds me of Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a book whose images are leaping-off points for bizarre tales; as you read over the entries and begin mentally filling in the blanks, you wind up considering all sorts of dreadful things...

"I Am Done! Or, The Last Entry of J. P. Lawson"
by Seth Furman


Microhorror

October 31, 1962

And so this will be my last entry. I am tired. Years it seems. Years. For years I have diligently kept this journal and now I am tired. They have beaten me at every turn but I have finally figured it out. Without my words they are nothing. Without my thoughts they are undone. They enter my mind through my musings and once inside are free to play. I will host their games no more. I am finished. I have won!

November 1, 1962

And so this will be my last entry. I am tired. Years it seems. Years. For years I have diligently kept this journal and now I am tired. They have beaten me at every turn but I have finally figured it out. Without my words they are nothing. Without my thoughts they are undone. They enter my mind through my musings and once inside are free to play. I will host their games no more. I am finished. I have won!

November 2, 1962

And so this will be my last entry. I am tired. Years it seems. Years. For years I have diligently kept this journal and now I am tired. They have beaten me at every turn but I have finally figured it out. Without my words they are nothing. Without my thoughts they are undone. They enter my mind through my musings and once inside are free to play. I will host their games no more. I am finished. I have won!

November 3, 1962

And so this will be my last entry. I am tired. Years it seems. Years. For years I have diligently kept this journal and now I am tired. They have beaten me at every turn but I have finally figured it out. Without my words they are nothing. Without my thoughts they are undone. They enter my mind through my musings and once inside are free to play. I will host their games no more. I am finished. I have won!

November 4, 1962

And so this will be my last entry. I am tired. Years it seems. Years. For years I have diligently kept this journal and now I am tired. They have beaten me at every turn but I have finally figured it out. Without my words they are nothing. Without my thoughts they are undone. They enter my mind through my musings and once inside are free to play. I will host their games no more. I am finished. I have won!



Copyright: © 2008 Seth Furman


January 14, 2009

Seen Between Fingers - Chris Kelly Wooed By Original Bloody Valentine

In this regular feature, wimp and noted horror non-enthusiast Chris Kelly reports back with his first-impressions of memorable scary movies. (He's also starring in a NYC revival of Torch Song Trilogy that opens next week, if you care to see him in his natural habitat.) In anticipation of My Bloody Valentine 3D, which I hope to inflict on him next week, I decided that a look back at the original slasher classic was in order. Surprise -- I think he liked it!

My Bloody Valentine was released less than a year after Friday the 13th, so while it is tempting to view it as just another slasher flick, it’s important to put the work in context. The many tropes that have since emerged (the teenagers murdered as punishment for intercourse, the faceless killer driven by childhood trauma, the disposable blonde in the first ten minutes) were fresher at the time. I’m having trouble seeing the piece as anything other than the continuation of a trend, but I’ll do my best to focus on the aspects that are better than, or different from, other selections from the youth-mauling genre.

Let’s start with the setting, which is bleak as fuck. This is a town in which the most romantic scene takes place on a cold, gray, windy outcropping littered with scrub grass. The best view for miles, the place where you bring your lady to win back her affection, has a view of what is probably a sewage treatment plant or other industrial blemish. Though we never see the inside of a local home, their exteriors suggest that they are little more than storage units. If you ever call PODS to move your belongings, consider what it might be like to forgo the relocation process and simply pack yourself into that sad metal rectangle. Perhaps this squalid hamlet’s depressing surface is what has driven the population to perform all sex acts underground; we are, after all, shown three instances of (or at least attempts at) subterranean copulation, without the faintest hint that one might pursue such an activity in, say, a bed in someone’s “house.”

The oppressive awfulness of daily life in a mining town does a great deal to temper the impact of the film’s many deaths. These are people who could not possibly care less. Consider the first victim, a woman whose only joy in life is to leave the listless Laundromat she runs to festoon the town with streamers in a futile attempt to erase the memory of a series of grisly deaths. If her entire life will be one long dryer cycle anyway, is she not better off dead? Look at this motley collection of mulletted, doughy, chinless halfwits. Working filthy jobs, drinking cheap beer, butting their interchangeable personalities against each other in some rudimentary attempt at conversation—it’s tough at times to say whether this is murder or mercy.

Which is not to say that there aren’t genuinely scary moments. Sure, the opener seems clichéd now, but I bet at the time, audiences were stunned when the titillation was interrupted by the total boner-killer of a pick-axe piercing through the heart (and, just to drive the point home, the heart-shaped tattoo) of the village’s most buxom inhabitant. And what about that scene with the mining coveralls descending from the ceiling? That shit was bananas. I expected gore, but I didn’t expect the mounting pressure and disorientation of that poor, piggy girl’s scramble for safety amidst flaccid replicas of her assailant. Good show!

Actually, while we’re on the topic of gore, now is a good time to mention the fact that this movie comes to us pre-sanitized. Nine awful minutes were famously excised by the MPAA. For a lightweight like me, this comes as welcome respite, but chances are that most of you are desperate for whatever craven splatters and slices you can get. In that case, we’re both in luck: I managed to squeeze this review in while the footage is still unavailable, and you can all treat yourselves to an extra-gross Valentine’s Day when LionsGate releases an uncut DVD next month (that is, if Wikipedia is to be believed, which it is sometimes not). I’m sure I’d have less jokes to make and more pants to wet if I had seen the original version in all its viscera-encrusted glory.

As it stands, this movie was a really fun guilty pleasure for me. It was occasionally intense, but mostly just hilarious. This is the kind of stupendous train wreck in which the lead stud’s Canadian accent makes him sound like a gay high schooler trying to hide his lisp and the only female to actually have sex looks like she’s maybe a dude. I encourage you all to invite your friends over for popcorn to watch this while playing “Who Dies Next?” or offering your own MST3K commentary. You won’t be disappointed.

January 13, 2009

INTERVIEW - My Bloody Valentine 3D Director Patrick Lussier Keeps It In The Family

Considering how much of last year he spent hunched over in a dank cave shooting a slasher movie, editor-turned-director Patrick Lussier seemed incredibly chipper as we spoke about the upcoming My Bloody Valentine 3D, the first horror movie to play around with the brand-new 3D technology we've all been hearing about (since none of us actually saw Journey to the Center of the Earth). You can read the first half of my interview at AMC, and the rest is right here. Watch your head -- MBV3D opens Friday!

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TB: People always say that the version of movie we end up seeing is formed by the editor, not the director. In the age of digital media, is that more true or less true?

PL: I think it's always been true... So much of the movie that you make is built in editing; you have so much control over what it can become and the shape of the performances, and I think that's always been the case. Digital technology affords you the ability to shoot more in less time, which means there's more emphasis on editing because there are more possibilities -- but the more you have to sift through, the harder it can be to find those kernels of gold to create the best movie possible.


TB: As a director, do you think you'll always edit your own films?

PL: Probably, but I like to edit with somebody so I have a fresh eye as well. I'll definitely shoot something with a specific way in mind, and someone else can come in and may show it to you in a way you hadn't expected. It's important to have a creative partner, there can be some great surprises.


TB: 3D is really taking off. Do you think other audience immersion techniques on their way in too?

PL: Surely, if you go to theme parks, they've been explored and exploited for years now. As for 3D, having seen it a few times from the audience, you see the amazing reaction people have to it, and how participatory it is. It's a genuinely pleasurable experience just viewing the technology, before you even consider the content. 3D feels like it has potential to really catch on; the more theaters that can add it, the more viable it's going to become, to the point where you could have two or three 3D movies in release at the same time -- that will be how you know when it has really arrived. Even now with this film you can sense that people are having that theme-park sort of experience, which makes it a really fun date movie. That kind of scary-fun, not like a torture-porn movie or anything. We wanted it to be a fun throwback to those great '80s slasher films, with really advanced technology, and that's what it is.


TB: Looking at your cast, particularly the younger ones, it's impressive how many film credits they seem to be racking up lately. Did you find them to be a particularly ambitious group?

PL: The cast we had was amazing. They were all so enthusiastic about the project and their characters and the story and bringing their absolute A-game every day on set, never taking their foot off the accelerator during the 18 hours a day that we were shooting, and in incredibly exhausting conditions. This is Megan Boone's first film, and she was so in tune with the character and film, and had such boundless enthusiasm. She brought an unbelievable amount of terror to her role. Myself and the DP would watch her during her big scenes, and we couldn’t believe how riled up they were getting and how terrified they were, it almost became impossible to say "Cut!" because you were on the edge of your seat just watching them as they were performing.


TB: Are there any 3D movies from your youth that you remember with any fondness?

PL: I remember seeing a few of them, like Jaws 3D, and Spacehunter, and kind of going, "Eh…" The technology at that time was a little clumsy. It was a noble attempt but they didn't have the technology to make 3D such an incredibly immersive, high-quality experience.


TB: You've worked with your son, Devin Lessier, multiple times over the years, including MBV3D. can you tell me about the working relationship you two have?

PL: Since the time he was two I've been training him to work in editing rooms, and he's kind of grown up in the environment. A few years ago he decided that he wanted to pursue a career in editing, and when he was 15 he started working for us on Red Eye as our post-production PA, and then he did some work for us in Cursed, and did a great job. He's so technology-savvy, way more than I am, having had a computer since he was a child. He has such a natural understanding of systems and databases and how things work and how to find things and how to move and make things. He became an invaluable asset almost immediately. And to get to work with him and watch his career blossom -- he was the apprentice for The Eye and was First Assistant Editor on Quarantine with the Dowdle brothers. It was incredible to have him on Valentine, to know you had someone who would always shoot you straight. He's incredibly smart -- of course, you know he's my son, so what else am I going to say? But to get to work with him fills me with nothing but pride.

Beware The Azalea Trail Maids And Their Hypnotic Parasols Of Slavery

Does this image fill you with righteous indignation? According to the Alabama NAACP, it should. The Azalea Trail Maids began promenading in 1929 in an effort to get people to plant azaleas along the streets of Mobile, AL, but apparently some think their floofy costumes are a throwback to the days of slavery and are trying to get them banned from walking in Barack Obama's inaugural procession. I'm acutely sensitive to issues of discrimination and oppression and think the NAACP is usually an incredibly useful organization, but I don't think anyone ever felt oppressed by a hoop-skirt except the people who've had to wear them.

Considering the fact that the White House and the Capitol building were built by slaves, and that the inauguration event will be kept civil by policemen on horseback and others leading trained attack-dogs, going after the Trail Maids for dressing like Aunt Pittypat is pretty fucking harsh. If you'd like to contact the Washington DC branch of the NAACP and urge them to make a statement appealing to reason, here's the information:

Phone: (202) 463-2940
Fax: (202) 463-2953
Email: washingtonbureau@naacpnet.org