This post first appeared in my e-newsletter I WAS BIGFOOT'S SHEMP.
I was extremely flattered to be invited back to the Farmland Community Center to screen THE GIRL IN THE CRAWLSPACE in the very location where we shot the "Outcast Swords" portion of the movie. A lot of cast and crew from the movie were there, along with their families and friends, making for a very warm and friendly audience. There were laughs and clapping and an audible gasp at the final reveal--so much so that my mother almost slid off her chair. After, she told me, "you need to tell these people you had a normal childhood."
My wife and I didn't get too far in watching horror movies this October, but we both really liked HOLD THE DARK, which really wasn't as much a horror movie as it was billed which is okay because the title does not stick in my head well enough to tell people about it. IT STAINS THE SANDS RED was really clever, and AS ABOVE SO BELOW made my stomach hurt. THE DEVIL'S CANDY was solid enough. But what we super binged on which I think counts is THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE which has real and genuine chills from beginning to (almost) the end and comes recommended.
While my wife is out of town at a conference, I have been catching up on all the obscurities I seek out and gather up from all different places.
I watched SHOT, which was an early 70s action film made by some incredibly ambitious University of Illinois students, and by ambitious I mean car crashes and helicopter stunts and gunplay, so much gunplay that these goofballs running around like this today would draw the attention of Homeland Security in about five minutes. But it was a simpler time, when the fuzz could beat on longhairs who are just out trying to make some bread.
In the extras is an interview with the director, who did this movie and then went out to Hollywood for ten years and couldn't get anything going, except he had a memorable meeting with Orson Welles I wish he had talked more about.
I watched a double feature starring Peter Carpenter, BLOOD MANIA and POINT OF TERROR, shot back to back in 1970 and 1971 respectively, two hyperbolic titles for what are interesting but tame dramas with splashes of horror, leftover hallucinatory imagery from the 60s, and fuzzy rock chords on the soundtrack. So naturally I loved them both.
Carpenter is an interesting figure who the internet can't find out much about, except he sort of appeared and through force of personality willed these two starring vehicles for himself into life. And then mysteriously died, or maybe disappeared into obscurity.
I think why I like these kinds of movies is that it reminds me just how hard it is to make a movie, any movie, at any time, at any place. This time last year I had pretty much just finished writing THE GIRL IN THE CRAWLSPACE for myself because I hadn't been hired to do anything for a year. I have three screenplays turned into films that have yet to come out and a fourth that might not get made. In this very newsletter I am typing right this second I was about to announce another project that had to be shelved earlier this week, that we were going to start shooting tomorrow. But it was shelved with good reasons so I can't be too upset.
Everyone says when you are working on a movie you have to be telling people about your next one. I was so wrung out at the end of shooting CRAWLSPACE that I could not get my head around another one; I thought I would be a one-hit wonder, and some day in the future somebody would find my movie and wonder where I went and how I died too. But all my filmmaking friends who shared the pitfalls before I started shooting told me of this pitfall, too--that it gets in your blood. So it may be time and past time to start working on the next one.
Until later, thanks for reading.