August 5, 2008

INTERVIEW - Watch Out For Lynda Barry's Sudden Ankle-Grabbing Power

Did Lynda Barry want to tell me about her favorite horror movies? And how! I'm a longtime fan of her comic strip Ernie Pook's Comeek, and her new book What It Is is not to be missed-- but it was her ghastly, sickening, totally amazing novel Cruddy that compelled me to seek out her opinion on all things horrific and eyeball-sucking. It should come as no surprise that she was so generous and thoughtful she was with her answers, but her opinions are so incredibly refreshing that I can't get over it. Here's the article on AMC with her Top Ten, and here are her additional thoughts on the matter at hand:

More on the movie Carrie:

"I know that when I identify with the monster I have a much better time watching the movie. I like riding around in their heads and seeing things from their point of view, which is what is so great about Carrie. That might have been the gateway movie for me in terms of learning how to be a monster. The story is made so we do see things from her point of view and even when she’s locking all the gym doors and starting the room on fire and killing everyone, it’s kind of hard to blame her for it. It’s sad that she has to die, but it’s nice that she can still suddenly reach up through the ground and grab people’s ankles. That’s another power I wouldn’t mind having. I know that part was a dream sequence but to me it still counts. If I were making Carrie 2 it would be all about her sudden ankle grabbing power and other things that she could do by shooting up through dirt unexpectedly.

"The other thing that is revolutionary about that movie is she kills her own mother. What’s interesting is that De Palma does it with flying knives which is great except for the extra crucifixion sauce he pours on the scene. When I read the book I was really surprised to find that Stephen King has Carrie kill her mom in a very gentle way. I think she just makes her mom stop breathing and her mom slowly passes out and that’s it. I screamed when I read that part, not from horror but from disappointment. I just couldn’t believe Stephen King let Carrie’s mom off so easy."

On the joy of writing Cruddy:

"I can’t actually watch movies that have every squeamish detail in them. I can read books with lots of squeam-action, and I can listen to people tell me about such things, but I can’t stand to watch those things portrayed on film. The weird part about writing Cruddy was that because it was a story being told by a character, it was actually more like listening to a story than it was thinking up a story. I was very surprised to find a part of me had no hesitation about the bloodiest most violent fly covered scenes. Until I wrote Cruddy I kind of thought I was a sweet hippy with just twirly peace signs, infinity signs and ankhs in my mind. I was pretty surprised by that book and how much I loved the time I when I was writing it and really missed it when it was over."

On modern film making:

"The thing that I think has had the biggest most disruptive effect in modern film making is the constantly moving camera and fast cuts. It gives me shaken baby syndrome, like someone on speed is just whipping me around by the head."

On her favorite monster-maker:

"The person I could listen to all day long when he talks about monsters is Guillermo Del Toro. His is the only commentary I’ve ever watched that was as good as the movie itself. If you haven’t watched Pan’s Labyrinth with his commentary on, may I recommend it? That’s a guy who gets monsters and doesn’t ruin a film by talking over it. He also keeps a pretty still camera. It moves a bit, but he lets you look, really look at things."

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