I've had several people ask me where I came up with the name Midnight Cinephile. This is the perfect time to tell you. As you more than likely know by this point in our relationship, I'm a horror geek and have been most of my unnatural life. Thirteen years ago this month I came across Issue #14 of Rue Morgue Magazine, which featured The Toxic Avenger with a couple of barely clad purple haired girls. Needless to say, I was immediately hooked. My monthly Fangoria fix now became a double dose ever other month. Then in January of 2004, there was a new column in Issue #37: The Mad Musings of a Schizoid Cinephile. It was the first column I read that month and every month after until it's end in 2007's Halloween Issue (#72) featuring John Carpenter's The Thing.
Reading that first column, I felt like I had found a kindred spirit. A fellow warrior in the never ending war for trash cinema rights. Though I'd never met Chris, I felt that I had, as he once said of fellow Rue Morgue scribe, Stuart F. Andrews, had a brother-in-bad-movie-arms. He didn't just write up a movie review....oh no. He put his heart and soul into that review and if you didn't come out the other end with a new found love, respect and burning urge to watch the films he wrote about, then you are clearly not a cinephile!
That column was hugely inspirational and this little corner of the web is my little soapbox, if you will. It's my homage to Schizoid Cinephile, trash cinema, nostalgia and a love letter to the unsung films, TV shows, music, books, video games, etc. This website is put together with duct tape, bubble gum, a lick and a prayer, but it's mine damnit. A place that I can call home.....and maybe someday a home for other kindred spirits.
Okay, enough about me. You're here because you wanna get the goods on Chris' new film Blood For Irina. I was fortunate enough to catch Chris in between his busy schedule (and a surprise visit to the Emergency Room for me.....) to chat about his film, his life and all the stuff in between. This conversation was truly nothing short of epic, so sit back, grab some pizza rolls and a Dr. Pepper.....ladies and gentlemen.....Mr. Chris Alexander!
Midnight Cinephile: I haven't seen Blood For Irina yet, but I understand that it won awards at Pollygrind and Buffalo Screams. What was that like winning those awards on your first film?
Chris Alexander: Well it won, awards at Pollygrind, Buffalo Screams and this festival in Toronto called Blood in the Snow as well as Best Horror Film at Philip K. Dick Metaphysical, Horror, Science Fiction Festival in Brooklyn, which is weird. It's strange because I don't consider the film terribly horrific, but it's a matter of subjectivity, I guess.
But what was it like? It was incredible, man! I mean, I made this movie very quickly. It was exactly the movie I wanted to make within the parameters I had which were none....I mean I made it between editing two issues of Fangoria, and I had a little bit of time and we shot it in - I think if you calculate it in the amount of hours, it was forty-eight hours or something like that - not straight, but little bits and drips and drabs here and there....a lot of pick up shots in between. You know, I wrote it, I edited it, I shot it, I produced it and I did the whole score for it too. It's a silent film....a real art piece....and it's wall to wall sound. I did the music and the complete sound design for it....everything. So it's like my little baby......again it's an art piece, it's more like and installation than a traditional movie. So the fact that it's been embraced by some people is really cool. I don't know if it's a good movie or a bad movie, but I know if you look at other indie horror films out there right now, there's nothing like it, I do know that. I will say that with pride...for better, for worse there's nothing else like my movie out there to compare it to.
MC: I know it also screened at Times Scare, in New York. How was that as opposed to an audience at a film fest? Was there a different reaction in that kind of environment and mentality?
CA: Yeah, it's all about the venue. This movie - I mean, it's funny...I went into it, again we had no money, but it was financed through Autonomy Pictures (which is owned by TLA releasing) which is pretty cool and they let me have complete carte blanche and I asked for very little money because I had never made a feature film before and I didn't want any risk and I wanted to do it exactly like this. I wanted to create an immersive experience and I think it really plays well if you're trapped by it. It's about the last two days of this dying vampire and the two people who surround her, that are just as fucked up as her, in this little shitty motel by the sea. The intention was the trap an audience in this environment as well and really kind of batter them down with sound and depressing, repetitive imagery. It's not a fun movie....it's not an explicit film, it's quite romantic, really, but it's definitely not a lot of fun....you don't come out of there clicking your heels and saying "That movie was awesome!"
So it does work really well in the theater, I find, when the sound is really complex and you have a really great sound system, it really does give you this feeling that you're wandering around in this environment for seventy minutes or whatever. So, festival crowds are interesting because it's kind of like people wander into the movie blind and it is the kind of movie where you'll really like it, or you won't. You need a bit of patience for it and you need to have a certain leaning towards European films of a certain vintage to really gravitate towards it. I've had walk-outs at festivals, and I'm totally fine with that, I've walked out of a million movies...so you don't have to love the film. Times Scare was cool because everybody who was there, kinda wanted to be there, which was interesting. It was this play date....it was not part of a festival....you had to get off your ass specifically to go see this movie. We had a nice crowd and a huge venue.Times Scare, I don't know if you've been there, but it's unbelievable. It's a four floor haunted house, it's got a bar, restaurant, a theater.....it's freakin' amazing! So the venue was great, the people were great and it was kinda like a homecoming because Fangoria is based in New York so all my compadres were there, so I got to see some people I don't always see all the time, you know I run Fango from Toronto, so it was nice. It was a great experience and seeing my name and the movie....taking a cab back to the hotel and seeing the huge marquee in Times Square....there's the name of the movie and my name in blood, you've gotta laugh at how surreal it is! I spent nothing on this movie, it's so small...this little private hobby movie and next thing you know, there it is! It's pretty outrageous, really!
MC: I know you are a huge fan of Jess Franco and Jean Rollin. Their films are stylistically very beautiful and very challenging. I think it's a very interesting style to choose as a first feature film. Can you tell us about the genesis of the film and the thought process behind it?
CA: It's funny, I edit Fangoria and I always tried to draw the line in the sand saying "This is not a Fangoria movie" and make sure we know that....and people sometimes expect because you've got the name Fangoria floating around it in orbit that it's going to be some landmark blood and guts horror masterpiece, which was never my intention to make. I wanted to make one of those longing, romantic, meditative movies coming out of Europe that I've loved. I've always loved those movies because usually I would catch them on television when I was a kid at certain points...and sometimes I was bored by them, sometimes I fell asleep, sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of them and see bits and pieces. They had a certain haunting, REALLY haunting atmospheric quality that would make me keep revisiting and revisiting. For better or for worse, they were auteur pictures....I mean these guys like Franco and Rollin and I'll throw Werner Herzog though he's on a different level, but he's still an inspiration. They were making these very personal, lower budgeted films that, especially with Rollin and Franco, were horror movies but took place in the natural world. So, a lot of natural locations and they held their shots for long periods of time so it almost felt like you were watching a series of moving photographs.
I really appreciate that studied, meditative quality that you don't see anymore. People are afraid, especially in horror, to lose the interest of the audience. So they have to completely inundate you with as much image and information as you can. It doesn't give the audience any time to breath or think. So I went the other way....some criticisms are that the movie are that it's too slow, so maybe I went too far off one end, but that was by design what I wanted to do. I love all movies, but these are films that specifically appeal to me because they felt so alien and so beautiful and so exotic and I really wanted to try and capture that quality.
MC: Did you use any of those famous "Franco Zooms"?
CA: No, I didn't, you know the thing about Franco and Rollin......I love their bodies of work and I love their sensibilities and I love them as, again, auteurs or artists. Rollin was incredibly intelligent and a real poet...and Franco is a genius, really. Sometimes that's not evident in their work. You know, sometimes their sloppy and somethings are rushed and they were also tied into the sexploitation market, so, sometimes they had to throw in all this explicit sex and money shots that really felt like they didn't necessarily belong - they're cool - but they didn't really belong in the movie. If anything it kinda ruins some of the poetry of the film. So I was very disciplined in my zoom lenses. There are zooms in it, but they are very sloooow zooms. There's that opening of Jess Franco's Female Vampire, or Erotikill, or Bare Breasted Countess....whatever you want to call it, where Lina Romay walked towards the camera completely stark naked - big bush of a vagina - and Franco filming her, she's walking, and she walks right into the camera and her vagina bounces off the lens! I always found that really amazing and stupid. No one's vagina bumps off the lens in Blood For Irina, but I love the fact that Franco was SO into that shot, that he let it linger for so long, that it it becomes absolutely absurd. There's stuff like that, there are moments in this movie where the shot goes on for so long, that you feel trapped by it and you're kind of frustrated by it that it goes on and on, but if you stick with it, eventually it becomes trans-formative like that. But no, there aren't those crazy ass Wakka Wakka Bang Bang zooms in Blood for Irina, it's a little more disciplined, I think.
MC: I know you're no stranger to music, having released four or five albums at this point. Was music ever something you thought of taking a career path in, or was it always films?
CA: To me everything is music. All the great writers are musicians, even if they're not by trade, you have to have an ear for music to understand how the rhythms of dialog work. Movies are the same way. Everyone is making movies these days. I see tons of independent films and not necessarily everyone should be. To me the editing is music, so the way you're cutting the film can sometimes be atonal and drag you right out of the movie because it's just tone deaf, it's terrible. To me, music is everywhere, I'm always plugged into the way a movie sounds, but even a silent movie.....if you watch certain silent films, like Potemkin or something like that, and you watch it without any kind of orchestral backup, it's still cut like music. The scene of going up the steps, in Potemkin, particularly is basically a symphony in itself of just metric cuts. So, you know, to me film music, writing, it's all part of the same deal....it's something primal, really. It's image, it's sound, it's communication, it's completely primal to us as a species.
So blah, blah, blah, long story short, when I went to film school, which was in the mid 90's- this was before digital had taken over everything- it was very expensive to make movies. We would use Bolex, 16mm, and it would cost thirty bucks to buy a roll of two minute film, you don't use all of that film, you try your best and try not to fuck up, but you know you'll only be using a few seconds in the final cut. Then it costs another thirty bucks to develop that roll, so you've got sixty bucks for two minutes of film that you're not going to necessarily use all of it. It was a very expensive concept to make independent films for me when I was broke and in college. Music, however, was something that I could do for free because I had all the instruments, I had the ability and I had the creativity. When I quit film school, I started a band, it was an experimental music band, I did film installations with the performance and came into this whole beat from that angle and that's what lead to journalism. I was a publicist at Warner Brothers Films in Canada and became a writer for About Movies for many years and still progressed the music at the same time and all those roads kinda came together when it came to making this movie.
MC: I was first introduced to your writings in Rue Morgue Magazine, my favorite column was your Schizoid Cinephile column. I really latched on and identified because I've always been a huge fan of trash cinema....the babies nobody loves so to speak....movies like Beast of the Yellow Night, which I love so much. How did you come to write for Rue Morgue?
CA: It was very simple. I've always loved this stuff, I always say since I was three years old, and that's true. My Dad liked weird movies...well he was always accused of not liking good movies. So he always had a strange sensibility. I remember him going to see the movie Somewhere in Time, based on Richard Matheson's Bid Time Return, with Christopher Reeve, and him rhaphsodising for a decade that it's the greatest fucking movie ever made, like forget Gone with the Wind or King Kong or anything like that....this is the greatest movie ever made...and yet everywhere you looked it was bad reviews. But he was adamant that he could defend exactly why he loved that film, it was very personal. I always appreciated that. So since I've been three I've loved horror movies, the macabre and KISS and subversive looking things and things that look like they should belong in the natural world and it's just always been what I do. Comic books, all that shit and it's always been embraced, I was always allowed to like that, so it was never really taboo.
As far as how I came to write for Rue Morgue.....Rue Morgue was a free magazine in Toronto, it was Issue #2, I think and Rod Gudiño would write the whole mag under various pseudonyms....and I found it free at a Goth clothing store- when I was a dopey little Goth teenager guy- and there was an article on Tomb of the Blind Dead. This is really before the Internet took the choke hold....to me it was like "Who the hell has seen Tombs of the Blind Dead, besides me?" I remember it was on Big Box VHS when I was a kid and I actually spent thirty-five dollars on a used copy at a mom and pop video store because no one else wanted it...but the guy charged me thirty-five bucks and I held onto it with a death grip because it was just a masterpiece....and it was a great essay on what a masterpiece this movie was. So I was so excited I almost got hit by a car, because I was reading it walking down the street. I called the number that was on the masthead and it was Rod's number and I left this long verbal diarrhea message about how much I loved this little magazine and he transcribed it for the next issue and we had a relationship based on that.....and I started working at Warner Brothers and then I started working at Rue Morgue when they were in their infancy on that level for promotions. Then I just said listen, let me write for the mag....he gave me a bunch of movies to review, I reviewed them, he loved it and within a year, I had my own column and I was six or seven years with Rue Morgue, did the radio show, DJing their parties, writing extensively and again it was just following the passions and following up with the passions too, I didn't just let it go. I didn't just want to be a reader of Rue Morgue, I wanted to be a part of it.
MC: One day it seemed like you just disappeared from Rue Morgue and then next thing I knew, Tony Timpone stepped down from Fangoria and I see your name on the masthead as Editor in Chief. How did that come about?
CA: Well it's strange. I read an interview with John Carpenter recently where he was talking about working with Charles Band in his early career and how "after the nuclear war, there will be cockroaches and Charles Band left" because Charles Band never practices failure. He never fails....and he flunks non-stop, but he never personally fails because ever time he's about to flunk with a project, he's got about ten others in the pipeline ready to rock. So, he's always working, he's always moving, always busy and whether you like Band or not, or his work, you gotta appreciate that sensibility. I've always appreciated that sensibility, so I've always had a lot of things on the go at any given time.
The gulf between leaving Rue Morgue and getting the job at Fango, is actually about three years. With Rue Morgue, it was simply the concept of wanting the moon and not wanting to settle with the little condo on the space station. I really loved the stuff, I really wanted to be a part of it....in this short finite period of life I really wanted to pursue what I can do with it and Rue Morgue wanted to keep the foot on my head, which is the truth. They wouldn't pay me- and I've said this openly several times, with no ill will towards Rod Gudiño anymore, but it was a bit disparaging at the time- they wouldn't pay me any more to stay at Rue Morgue, but they wouldn't allow me to write for Fangoria or any other horror magazines because it was the competition and I was a columnist and on the radio...I was one of their featured guys. I said, "You know, I have a child now and I gotta live. There aren't many horror magazines out there, man, and this is what I do, so if you wanna keep me exclusively, you're gonna have to make it work for me a little more too." Basically he said "No, you're gonna have to make a choice." and I said "Well, that's not fair, I'm making my choice and I'm walking away from this." It was scary, because I'm in Toronto and Rue Morgue was horror in Toronto, so everyone was basically saying "You're gonna isolate yourself from the horror community." and that made me wanna leave more, because I hate scenes. Despise them. I was like, "You know what, the love of this stuff has nothing to do with being part of a scene. Conveying your passion articulately for this has nothing to do with making the scene or showing up to the bar on a Friday night with the Rue Morgue crew." So I said "Fuck that" and I left them and I went to Fangoria which was great because Rue Morgue never did set visits or anything, suddenly Fango letting me do all that and I became the Canadian Guy up here. I was doing all the set stuff for Fango, which was amazing. Big opportunities to meet people and see how the magic works of film making and it was a real education and just a real life changer.
As far as taking over Fango, I don't know, I just stuck with it....I stuck with it, I was always there, I was always pitching ideas, I was always showing up and I was very resourceful. At the same time I was also freelancing for Metro News, The Toronto Star and Dark Side out in the UK and Wired Magazine. My fingers were in a lot of pies, I was always moving and so I had a lot of connections. I could get basically anybody on the phone at any time so a lot of the pieces I was bringing them were pretty neat, you know, hanging out with Nicolas Cage and getting him to imitate his character from Vampire's Kiss and being able to post that on the site without being assigned that just being able to go out and do it. So, I think after a couple years of doing that, the Powers-That-Be wanted to switch things up there anyway, because Fangoria was getting a bit stale and one day they just asked me. There's so much detail in this story and I'm trying to be as quick as I can, but I"m still talking your head off!
MC: NOOO! That's fine!
CA: I had just two children at the time- I make a lot of babies- I have three boys. I was so tired...I was teaching at the same time as writing. I was driving back from teaching film history at the film college here, and I was so tired that I wasn't paying attention to the road and somebody hit me and knocked my car in the air and flipped it. My arm went out the window and rode on it's side. I was thinking I was gonna die and all the skin on my arm was completely like Hellraiser, it de-gloved me and ripped me up. I had to pull my arm back in, I ejected myself from my seatbelt rolled onto the ceiling and rolled out the passenger window, ran away from the car while it was upside down rolling the street and it was a shocker and real wake up call to screw my head on a little bit tighter. Lost on the skin on my arm....it was not pretty. But I was right back on the horse, got out of the hospital and off I went. So, like a week later, I was in a used record store picking up some DVD's and shit and I was completely bandaged up, my arm is oozing all this puss, it was disgusting, right out of a horror flick. I got a call on my cell out of nowhere and it was Scott, who was part of Fango at the time, he's not there anymore, he basically just said "I don't know what you do for a job outside of this, but do you want a job?" I said "Well, what job is that?" He said "Do you want to edit Fangoria?" and I almost fuckin' fell down!
Here I had this traumatic, like near death experience where, again I feel like Uncle Frank in Hellraiser....no fun. I don't know what my next moves going to be and the suddenly the next move just lands in my lap....and it was just as easy as that. Obviously I didn't need any time to think about it, I said yes! Tony moved on to other things.... the
VOD stuff for the company on a different level and I took over the mag. Over three years now, and I think three very successful years by many fan reactions that people are fairly satisfied with some of the changes I've made and the energy I'm putting into it, so I think it's going okay!
MC: It was around the same time that you released your first book, Chris Alexanders's Blood Spattered Book. What was the thought process behind that?
MC: Very Cool! And you have a new book coming out: The Twilight Zone Legacy, which is an episode by episode breakdown of the series?
CA: Yeah, in fact that's what I'm doing right now. This book is giving me a great excuse to do what I love, and I would do it anyway, but now I feel like I have a purpose to do it instead of just leisure....and that's watch The Twilight Zone over and over, read everything I can about The Zone and that's what I'm doing right now, while I'm working on the mag is just watching The Twilight Zone in the background. There's a handful of things that I love. That I love, I love, I love. I am a man of passion, if you will and I don't hide any of that, I wear it on my sleeve. Horror Films, KISS, Twilight Zone. I think that's the Holy Trifecta right there. The three major non-living things, that I will love until my dying day and obsess over because they have done so much for me, personally and have been there as friends for me my whole life and has transformed my outlook on humanity, on....on everything! Again, education is where you find it. The smartest people I know, have never stepped foot in a University. So long story short, I love The Zone. I love KISS too, I managed to do The Official KISS Magazine for a while there too, which is great, but this is another level because The Zone is such a big part of my life and Serling, to me, is one of the greatest of writers of all time of any period. There's a great melancholy about his work........just really beautiful stories of people, masked in this science fiction and fantasy and horror sheen. There have been, obviously, a million books written about The Zone and Marc Scott Zicree's episode guide is indispensable and he's been such a force, but I think he's been the "go-to" guy for a long time when it comes to The Twilight Zone and I do have some issues with his assessments of each show. I sometimes find him very dismissive, especially when it comes to Season Five, which is largely booed upon by the purists and I think it's just a fantastic final act to the show.....and he's very dismissive of it. I'm not. There are so many elements that are at work in The Twilight Zone that are interlinked and that reflect other things that were going on at the time, with Hollywood and Television. Whether it be actors that showed up and repeatedly showed up in the show or some of the themes that were going on. Some of the music, the musicians, the scores the sound effects libraries that were exploited in some episodes. I've watched these things to death and I think I'm ready now to analyse from stem to stern each and every episode in there as well as round up some of my "famous friends"- who love the show as well- from every corner of the pop culture universe and call on them to tell me what their favorite episode is- or episodes are- and how it's influenced their work. I think if you're a Zone fan, that's a huge part of it: Saying "Remember that one where....." and "And then at the end it turns out it's a cook book..." You know, everyone loves to do that. So this is a two fold book. On hand, it's an episode guide, an intelligent, articulate episode guide for the show and then on the other hand, it's a big, huge party with all kinds of crazy guest stars sitting around waxing nostalgic on why they love the show and which episodes they love.
MC: That's awesome!
CA: I hope so! I'm in the process now and it won't be out until next year, but I think it's going to be good!
MC: That's a massive undertaking...there's one hundred and fifty six episodes! Here on Midnight Cinephile, I'd started a similar project a while back....going episode by episode and not so much review them as writing my feelings on them. I had to take a break because I started watching so many, I got backed up!
CA: It is massive, but again, I've been watching Twilight Zone obsessively since I was a little boy and I have every episode on VHS, I have every episode on DVD and I have every episode on Blu Ray. I have scads of books and technically I never need to watch The Twilight Zone again because each and every one, even the minor ones, are branded onto my brain. But now I'm approaching this from a different angle, where I'm looking for the elements that maybe I missed the first time around and I can revisit it. And I never get tired of it, you know? I've seen every single on multiple times and I will never, ever get sick of this show. Ever. So it's a massive undertaking, but it's a joy, it really is.
MC: Back to Blood For Irina, I heard it was coming out on Blu Ray and DVD in May, is that correct?
CA: Yep. That's right! May 13th, I think, is the target release date in North America, France and the UK.
MC: And who's handling the release on that?
CA: Autonomy Pictures put it out. Autonomy was created by TLA so they could release The Bunny Game. This is their second release, but the first one that they actually funded, which is interesting. It is radically different than The Bunny Game, it's funny, it's just as cheap but....well The Bunny Game starts with a blow job and continues on for the next hour with screaming....and the basement and my film is not that at all, it goes the complete other direction. So they're interesting companion pieces to each other as far as low budget independent genre film making goes. I think both are interesting sides of perhaps the same coin. But it is Autonomy putting it out, or if you will TLA Releasing, the parent company.
MC: Are there going to be any special features?
CA: Yep. I wrote the movie around the fact that there's this grungy motel from the thirties that had not been changed at all that they were ripping down, so I figured "I have this much money, what can I conceivably sell?" It has to be a single character piece, really, you have a really interesting single character piece and use the local areas around this motel. To have the motel be like Dracula's Castle, have the death of the motel mirror the death of this character, who's trapped in this motel, which is very heavy handed that way. So we shot a lot in this motel and in the Special Features are the destruction of the motel. The motel was destroyed after we shot, so it's kinda like the end of this location, the end of the movie, and it's kind of an interesting coda to the film. We also have commentary with the stars as well as myself....a real fun commentary....so in a way, it's kind of like film school, because we tell you everything that we did. From using iPhones to shoot stuff, to everything we did in a guerrilla way.....we never shot with any kind of permit of any kind, to make an entertainment. So it's an interesting, fun commentary. We've got deleted scenes, because originally I had a lot more footage in this thing, you know like every movie, it comes down to the crunch and certain things don't work but they're still nice shots, so I threw all that stuff in there for fun....as well as stills. We have thousands of beautiful still from the movie, there's some real beauty in this film, I think. They'll be put together in a way, with all my music...basically the alternative to sitting through the film, you can actually just sit back and watch the still gallery put to the music, which is kind of interesting. And finally, the music itself is available in an isolated track, so you'll be able to just enjoy the great diverse, in depth music I created for the movie, by itself.
MC: Are there any more films in your future?
CA: Yeah, there's one right now and hopefully Autonomy will be backing it. I think they will. It's going to cost more than Blood For Irina, but you know there's a lot of waste, and I've been on a million film sets and there are wasters in Hollywood. I'm not a Hollywood filmmaker, I never want to be. I want to make personal films and I don't want to waste anything, I want all the budget to be amplified on screen and I think you can do that. If you take control of it, and because I can do it all, I might as well keep doing it. So the next movie is kind of a companion piece to Blood For Irina, but it's expansive. It's much bloodier, it's much darker, it's much more surreal and it's called The Queen of Blood, with no relation to the Curtis Harrington movie...well sort of it is, in some respects, but I don't want to spoil it. It's kind of an homage to that film, in a way. I'm fully prepared. I love Jean Rollin, I love the fact that he made these female vampire movies over and over and over again. Revisiting themes and expanding them with many of the same cast members and I love that idea of doing this casual thing and making these kind of sensual vampire films with many of the same cast members. So that's what this next one will be....a new expansive companion piece to the first one, with kind of a wild west theme. I don't want to get too much into it, it's kinda weird, but there's definitely another one coming!
MC: That sounds awesome!
CA: I hope so! The music too! With Blood for Irina, I wrote the music first and then kinda built the movie around the moods of the music so this is gonna have to be the same way, with a lot fuller score, I think, but I'm going to write all the music first and then invent the movie, to some degree, some of the images will be invented around the music.
MC: Horror films seem to emerge with a different theme in each decade, The Fifties Monster Movies, The Eighties Slasher Boom....the first decade of the new millennium was labeled as the Torture Porn decade. Where would you like to see the genre go in the next decade? It seems to me it's still trying to formulate itself and doesn't really know what it is.....
CA: Well, it depends what we're talking about. That's always a question that I don't really have an answer for. Everywhere you look, every corner of the globe, everyone's got their own style from a cultural stand of making a horror film. We're at the point now where there's so many different sub-genres. If we're talking about what's leading the pack, commercially in Hollywood....well it's pat and parcel with what's going on in the world. Torture Porn films emerge after the Internet, and what's freely available and how hard it is to shock people and disturb them anymore. People don't want the cerebral shocks, they want the visceral shocks. Saw and Hostel did very well, so off you go. I think we're at the level where these movies have become kind of laughable. If I see another movie where a girl is duct taped to a chair.....ugh, I can't do it anymore. Brutality is not amusing to me, it's just lazy. It's just lazy fucking shit and when I see independent films, especially, that exploit that ad nauseam, all I see is unimaginative film making. If I see people dropping the "F Bomb" every two minutes in that same context, again I see unimaginative film making....and people that don't understand what makes horror films special.....just trying to be "hardcore"....and not understanding that they're not being "hardcore" at all, they're being very safe and boring.
So for me, commercially in Hollywood, it's interesting. I don't know, I like all movies, all over the place. If a trend isn't appealing to me, I'll just look somewhere else. I just saw the Mexican/Argentinian film Here Comes The Devil, and that blew my fucking mind......but that's my kind of movie. There's certain kind of movies I like, I like slow burning, surreal, dark, minimalist films.....those are the horror films that really, really speak to me and have an emotional kind of heft to them as opposed to a narrative one. So Here Comes The Devil, just fit perfectly, but it would bomb if it ever played or came to Hollywood, right? Though someone would remake it and radically change it. So, I don't know where horror movies are going, I know that the technology is such that anyone now can make a horror movie and I think that's a double edged sword. So there's going to be a glut of films on the market place, which could be a good thing, it might not be. I think the most important thing we can say is that people will keep dying and as longs as people keep dying and The Powers-That-Be will keep fucking up the world enough that people are paranoid and anxious at all times about their demise and their lifespans and the fate of the planet, we'll keep seeing horror films. Horror films that will echo that anxiety and kind of diffuse that anxiety too. So horror movies will always, always be here and some way, shape or form.
I'll say this: I'm getting sick of zombies. The Walking Dead is a masterpiece, but hopefully independent filmmakers will stop making zombie movies, because I'm tired of people running around with ketchup and putty on their face, chasing each other around their back yards.
MC: Here, here! It's about time those end.
CA: Yeah, I'm done. World War Z looks fun. I read the book....they didn't run around like mad men in the book, but that's okay. But that's a different movie....that's a big Hollywood apocalypse movie and the zombie thing will take a backseat to the contagion element of it. Other than that, yeah. Zombies....you don't need this many zombie films anymore. Please. Go away.
Many thanks to Chris for taking time out of his insanely busy schedule to chat with me! Fangoria Issue #321 is currently out, so chiggity check it out....and make sure you check out Blood for Irina when it hits DVD and Blu Ray on May 13th!