Sunday, March 27, 2016

Jane, You're Playing A Game

A new poster for CALAMITY JANE'S REVENGE, looking pretty swanky.  A new trailer from the distributor is here.  I'm glad I lived long enough for westerns to come back into style.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Wandering Man, I Call Thee Sand

 This post first appeared, in a slightly different form, in my e-newsletter I Was Bigfoot's Shemp, which you can subscribe to here.

I talked recently about how I like to write characters who reflect the interests of the people who are probably watching my movies. I also like to salt in Easter Eggs that give hints about the backgrounds of the movies.

For instance, when I wrote JURASSIC PREY director Mark Polonia suggested I watched BEAST FROM HAUNTED CAVE as a primer for what he was looking for.  Fair enough, as the movie was reworked from NAKED PARADISE and later reworked again as CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA.  That's why I named a minor character Hellman after director Monte Hellman and another character Wain after screenwriter Robert Towne's pseudonym, and so on.  It gives knowing viewers a little nod and a wink (although I'm not sure how many people were in on the joke).

CALAMITY JANE'S REVENGE was a little trickier as they were by and large real people.  Even though some people who have seen the movie didn't know Calamity Jane was a real person, much less Con Stapleton, Charlie Utter, and "Crooked Nose" Jack McCall.  But the story is peopled with all kinds of owlhoots and scalywags, so I leaned upon a classic actor from the spaghetti western era, Klaus Kinski, for inspiration.

Klaus Kinski was one of the great scenery-chewing lunatics of the spaghetti western era, and is in more movies than even a devoted fan like myself can keep track of.  Even more so, most of the time he acted like he DGAF about what was going on around him.

My favorite performance is as a character with the unlikely name "Hot Dead" in I AM SARTANA YOUR ANGEL OF DEATH (he also DGAF in another Sartana movie, IF YOU MEET SARTANA PRAY FOR YOUR DEATH, as a different character).  In a German-helmed Eurowestern called THE LAST OF THE RENEGADES he parades around in a crazy hat and just DGAF.  In one of the great late spaghetti westerns, THE GREAT SILENCE, he is called, appropriately, Loco, and he struts like he DGAF even as the bad guys win (belated spoiler from 1968).  There are just so many spaghetti westerns where he DGAF, but the one he probably should have and DGAF was Sergio Leone's classic FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE.  But he plays a character called Juan Wild, so he can hardly be blamed.  And he gets that iconic scene where Lee Van Cleef strikes a match off his face.

So there you have it, five times where Klaus Kinski DGAF and maybe should have, and I paid tribute to him in CALAMITY JANE'S REVENGE.  And yet, even though I based the name of the lead villain, King Garrett, off of Klaus Kinski I told actor Adam Clevenger that he was really based on one of my favorite actors of the spaghetti western era, William Berger.  He was inspired by Berger's role in the classic KEOMA, but I also liked him in IF YOU MEET SARTANA PRAY FOR YOUR DEATH, and HANGING FOR DJANGO even though he is more or less a good guy in that.

Despite this, actor Adam Clevenger played him like Gene Hackman in UNFORGIVEN, and I was fine with that.