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Saturday, May 17, 2014
DE PALMA TO APPEAR IN 'HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT' DOC
INTERVIEWEES ALSO INCLUDE SCORSESE, SPIELBERG, FINCHER, ASSAYAS, WES ANDERSON, MORE
Variety's Leo Barraclough reports from Cannes today that Brian De Palma is among several filmmakers who will appear as interviewees in the upcoming feature documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut, which looks at the book of the same name and is based on the recordings (of Alfred Hitchcock discussing his career with Francois Truffaut) that led to its completion. Kent Jones is directing the movie, which will be released in 2015. It will also include interviews with Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Wes Anderson, David Fincher, James Gray, Richard Linklater, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Olivier Assayas, and Arnaud Desplechin. Barraclough reports that "the directors will share how the book shaped their careers, transformed cinema and introduced the French New Wave and 'New Hollywood' to the world."

Barraclough adds, "The film will journey through the extensive series of conversations between Hitchcock and Truffaut, illustrating their love for filmmaking and demonstrating their impact on world cinema. Scenes from Hitchcock’s films will be intercut with comment from the filmmakers. Segments from the 1962 original recordings between the two filmmakers will also feature, allowing audiences to hear candid discussions between Hitchcock and Truffaut, and to witness first-hand a quintessential moment in cinematic history."

"For me, in many ways, cinema began with Francois Truffaut’s book about Alfred Hitchcock,” Jones tells Barraclough. “For me, and for many others, the book was more than formative — it was essential and direct.”

The book, of course, made a cameo in De Palma's Greetings (as shown above).


Posted by Geoff at 4:51 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, May 17, 2014 4:53 PM CDT
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Thursday, May 15, 2014
GREVEN'S 'PSYCHO-SEXUAL' EXCERPT ONLINE
ON "DE PALMA'S INTERTEXTUAL HITCHCOCK PROJECT" AT ROGEREBERT.COM
RogerEbert.com published an excerpt today about Brian De Palma from David Greven's book, Psycho-Sexual. Here's the closing paragraph of the excerpt:

De Palma was one of the first film directors to treat Hitchcock as an established film grammar, a genre unto himself. By treating Hitchcock as a school rather than merely as a predecessor or competitor whose works could provide an example for commercial success, De Palma forced audiences to reconsider and relive the traumas and implications of Hitchcock’s cinema. The “proper” way to use a predecessor is, apparently, to evoke certain effects and instances of technique, but not to dwell on them. Steven Spielberg’s "Jaws" (1975) famously opens with a highly effective and disturbing variation on Psycho’s shower-murder sequence—the skinny-dipping girl’s nighttime swim and murderous attack from the shark—but then proceeds to camouflage all of its borrowings from Hitchcock. If Spielberg makes use of Hitchcock, he does so only sparingly, such as, to give another example, his evocation of the Mount Rushmore sequence in "North by Northwest" in his "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (1977), when the hero and his female ally try to scale Devil’s Mountain surreptitiously. De Palma’s use of Hitchcock certainly isn’t sparing; it’s the whole meal. He recreates Hitchcock’s major effects and then languorously, disturbingly distends them. In so doing, De Palma solicits criticism, but he also forces us to rethink Hitchcock and the work of the cinematic past generally. De Palma’s metatextual meditations are not ends to themselves but, instead, tethered to much larger political and social concerns. And these concerns are with the gendered and sexual logic of patriarchy and what happens to individuals when they attempt to challenge and, much more threateningly, break free of the social order.

Posted by Geoff at 11:56 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 15, 2014 11:58 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014
HOLMES: 'BONFIRE' LACKED LOVE OF SOURCE MATERIAL
THOUGHTS AS SHE READ 'DEVIL'S CANDY' AND EXPERIENCED OTHER ART WORKS OVER WEEKEND
In a "Monkey See" essay for NPR, Linda Holmes discusses three pop culture activities she experienced last weekend, including reading Julie Salamon's The Devil's Candy, which details the making of Brian De Palma's The Bonfire Of The Vanities. One of the other two activities involved spending about five hours on Saturday at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art with a rented audio guide unit. The third is described by Holmes at the beginning of this excerpt from her essay:
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Saturday night at 8:00, I saw a live performance of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, Ben Acker and Ben Blacker's "staged production in the style of old-time radio." It was packed with comedy podcast royalty and guests, including Paul F. Tompkins, Scott Aukerman, Scott Adsit, Paget Brewster, Wyatt Cenac, Busy Phillips, Zachary Levi, Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm, John Hodgman, Marc Evan Jackson, too many funny people to list if we're being perfectly serious as you can now see, and Dick "Yes, That Dick Cavett" Cavett. They performed radio plays about vampires, Martians, time travel, glamorous married people drinking to excess, robot hands, a succubus, and roving bands of invisible stupid wise men. The audience at Town Hall whooped and roared so unreservedly that a lady sitting near me kept sticking her fingers in her ears, overwhelmed.

In between, and all weekend, I read The Devil's Candy: The Anatomy Of A Hollywood Fiasco, Julie Salamon's 464-page, more than 20-year-old book – dishy, sad, and fascinating – about the making and flopping of Brian De Palma's film The Bonfire Of The Vanities. In the book, a project that begins with the conviction that adapting Tom Wolfe's novel can only result in the rare film both admirable and popular suffers wound upon wound: an unrealistic schedule, unrelenting industry gossip, a cynical casting change, location debacles (one involving a scene that couldn't be shot as planned in the Temple of Dendur), resistance in the Bronx to stereotypical depictions thereof, enormous egos coexisting about as successfully as a family of elephants in a college dorm room, and the fact that from the beginning, Wolfe's acidic outlook seems utterly incompatible with the desire – and, given the money being spent, the imperative – to make a hit.

At the museum, there is an ivory comb from the Egyptian Predynastic Period. Roughly 3200 B.C., they say. They suggest it might have been part of the accoutrements of someone's funeral more than 5000 years ago; more than 20 times the entire history of the country the museum is housed in. More than 115 times as long as I've been alive. The teeth of the comb are broken off; what remains is a little more than two inches tall and a little less than two inches wide, and those four square inches hold more than 20 individual renderings of animals. The carvings have symbolic significance, but they're also carefully and elegantly done, particularly on a piece so small. The comb played a role, perhaps, in an important ritual, but it's also a beautiful object, like many of the drums and bowls and pieces of blown glass.

The piece was, then, meant to be an offering of the artist's skills, to convey a meaning, to evoke an emotion, and to bring pleasure. So was The Bonfire Of The Vanities. So was The Thrilling Adventure Hour.

Those aren't the only purposes to which these other works are being put: the film was also engineered to make money, of course, perhaps cripplingly so. The live show, while far less damned by its relationship to commerce, is part of the performers' livelihoods particularly in the broad sense, since many of them remain people whose projects might well be described using, at some point, the word "cult." It supports you, the cult, but only sometimes does it keep you in food and shelter. And it demands to be fed in return, of course.

The Bonfire Of The Vanities didn't just aspire to keep people in food and shelter; it aspired to keep people in mansions and private planes. What it doesn't have that The Thrilling Adventure Hour has is an animating love of the material. Everyone involved seemed to have assumed Wolfe's book was capital-G Great, whether or not they had read it, but they began excising its controversial elements – which in this case meant its essential elements – almost immediately. There was so much money, there were so many trailers, there was so much fake rain, there were so many gowns and extras ... but the way Salamon tells the tale, few of them were – maybe nobody was – there for love.


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Posted by Geoff at 11:59 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:07 AM CDT
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014
ZSIGMOND TO PRESENT 'BLOW OUT' IN PARIS
PART OF RETROSPECTIVE; ALL OF HIS DE PALMA COLLABS, PLUS A MASTER CLASS
Le Grand Action in Paris is featuring a Vilmos Zsigmond retrospective this month ("Vilmos Zsigmond passe à l'action") that began May 10 and 11 with the two films he shot for Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate. In all, eleven of the cinematographer's films will be screened: the two Ciminos, both films he made with Richard Donner (Maverick and Assassins), the four that he's made with Brian De Palma (Obsession, Blow Out, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, and The Black Dahlia), and the three that he's made with Woody Allen (Melinda & Melinda, Cassandra's Dream, and You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger).

Zsigmond will be on hand to present select screenings, including the May 17th screening of Blow Out, in which he will discuss his work with De Palma. In addition, there will be a master class with Zsigmond on May 18th, and Zsigmond will be given carte blanche to discuss and screen four film selections: Federico Fellini's La Strada, Luchino Visconti's Death In Venice, Carol Reed's The Third Man, and Vittorio De Sica's Umberto D.

Posted by Geoff at 6:28 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 6:29 PM CDT
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Monday, May 12, 2014
ADRIAN MARTIN ON SIGNIFICANCE OF DE PALMA
"SEVERAL GENERATIONS...HAVE RECEIVED A THRILLING, FORMATIVE SENSE OF WHAT CINEMA CAN BE"
Adrian Martin has written a "World Wide Angle" piece for Film Krant that takes off from the blind spots that are inevitable in "Greatest Films" lists. "Whenever my eye falls upon yet another 'Greatest Films of All Time' list," Martin begins, "I think about the filmmakers — undoubtedly fine and significant filmmakers — who, on most occasions, do not come within a million miles of being deified by such exercises in canon-making. They get chopped off the list very early in the cull. Brian De Palma, Mario Bava, John Carpenter, Dario Argento, William Friedkin, even Sergio Leone: just a few of the directors (all of us can name many more) who have given us works that we enjoy, teach, analyse, write about and cherish."

After briefly going through some of the regulars that usually show up on such lists, Martin brings it back to De Palma:
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When it comes to the significance of a director like him in world cinema, there is another way of looking at the question. In short, some filmmakers are important not so much for the richness of their art (as judged by conventional terms), but the role they play, the significance they have, in a film spectator's life.

What really matters is your encounter, at some key moment of your developmental biography, with the work of a particular director. So there is a De Palma Age (for example) in the autobiographies of many of us — just as there is, for instance, a David Bowie Age or a Sylvia Plath Age or a Philip K. Dick Age.

Several generations of cinephiles and aspiring filmmakers have received a thrilling, formative sense of what cinema can be from the bracing experience of seeing, for the first time, Carrie (1976), Dressed to Kill (1980), Blow Out (1981), Carlito's Way (1993) and Femme Fatale (2002). It does not matter whether you were 15 years old in 1976 or 20 years old today, whether it's a Cinémathèque screen or a laptop: that formative thrill is the same.

Discovering a De Palma movie for the first time, soaking up its elaborate formal conceits, is to have one's eyes opened by boundlessly inventive tricks with time, space, narrative and perspective. Cinema is more than De Palma, but anyone can start to discover cinema through De Palma, as many of us have. And that is no bad thing.

It also does not matter if, later in life, we convince ourselves that we may have grown beyond what could be described, in retrospect, as an adolescent passion: it has lodged in there, inside of us, helped to form our sensibilities. And De Palma is one of the great sensibility-shapers of modern cinema.

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(Thanks to Yusef!)

Posted by Geoff at 11:41 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 11:43 PM CDT
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Sunday, May 11, 2014
'ORPHAN BLACK' PAYS HOMAGE TO 'CARRIE'
ACCORDING TO CO-CREATOR GRAEME MANSON


Graeme Manson, co-creator of Orphan Black, tells Entertainment Weekly's Dalton Ross that a creepy scene in the latest episode (which aired Saturday) was an "homage to Carrie, all the way. The director did a great job with that scene and it’s right up the alley of what John Fawcett and I really like. It really slips into horror mode there and we like that the show has that elastic tone that we can do that...It’s a truly freaky and wonderful scene." I left some of what he said out of there, and do be warned that if you go to the EW article linked to above, it is full of spoilers.

The creators aren't the only ones from Orphan Black who are fans of Carrie. Last month, actor Jordan Gavaris, who plays Felix Dawkinson the show, told the San Francisco Chronicle's David Wiegand that he fell in love with movies when he worked at Blockbuster at the age of 15. "I got 10 free rentals a week," he laughed to Wiegand. "Before 15, you're seeing all the blockbusters. But then I saw (Brian De Palma's) Carrie. It was a phenomenal film, and I am obsessed with Sissy Spacek. I watched her entire filmography and what that did was expose me to directors like Robert Altman, Todd Field, Costa-Gavras, Michael Apted."


Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 12:11 AM CDT
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Saturday, May 10, 2014
'THE CANAL' DIRECTOR LOVES DE PALMA & ARGENTO
IVAN KAVANAGH'S HORROR FILM MOSTLY WELL-RECEIVED AT TRIBECA FEST
The Canal, a psychological horror film written and directed by Ivan Kavanagh, was mostly well-received when it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last month (check out reviews at Fangoria, PopMatters, and the less enthusiastic This Is Infamous). The Canal is about a film archivist, and Kavanagh explains to Complex's Matt Barone that since the character's job is watching films, it makes perfect sense that his hallucinations and/or fantasies should be colored by those films. "For me," Kavanagh tells Barone, "it was the perfect opportunity to reference the films I love, to make a film that at moments seems like a Dario Argento film and at other moments like a different directors' films. It seemed right for the character. The film is about cinema, in a way. I don't usually do that referential thing in my films, but it just fit here. And a lot of them are unconscious. If you love the genre and love certain films in it, you can't help but be influenced by them. Another one we looked at a lot for this film was Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now, specifically for that film's look. We use a lot of zooms and lenses that are directly influenced by Don't Look Now. We put a lot of thought into everything. The best horror films, for me, are always divisive. Like with Argento, I don't love all of his stuff but I do love Suspiria. Films like that are so divisive—people either love them or violently hate them. That's the perfect type of film."

Elsewhere in the interview, Kavanagh discusses Brian De Palma: "Another filmmaker I really love, as well, and whom I've become an apologist of over the years is Brian De Palma. He's a bit like Dario Argento in how he uses color beautifully, especially in his early films. Argento and De Palma both have this thing where their color schemes can almost seem too over-the-top at times but it adds so much to the atmosphere of their films. Maybe we don't quite reach that level in The Canal, but I understand what they're after—it's not reality, it's something else. It's inside the protagonist's mind."

Kavanagh discusses more of his inspirations with the Hollywood Reporter's Matt Patches.


Posted by Geoff at 12:38 AM CDT
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Thursday, May 8, 2014
NANCY ALLEN & KEITH GORDON IN FANGORIA
TALKING 'DRESSED TO KILL': "EVERYTHING HAD TO BE PERFECTLY TIMED AND CUED UP"
The current issue of Fangoria (#332, May 2014) features what the cover bills as "Sex and Death in 1980: Dressed To Kill and Cruising." Inside are two separate articles about each respective film. The Dressed To Kill article by Lee Gambin and Camilla Jackson, titled "Murder Most Mod," is an interview with Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon, in which they discuss working on the movie together. Allen talks about how Brian De Palma, her husband at the time, would write in the morning, and when she would get up and get a cup of coffee, he would read to her "his current installment." She was initially excited about it, but later became nervous when she realized how much of the movie she would be carrying by herself, in contrast to the ensemble work she'd done on De Palma's Carrie.

Gordon talks about how his character was originally written as a 12-year-old, but when De Palma found the role difficult to cast, he called Gordon in for a reading, saying he was thinking of reconceiving it. "In the end," Gordon tells Fangoria, "it was more fun; there could be some flirtation, and some of the sexual jokes with Angie worked better than if [Peter] was a little kid not really understanding what people were saying or what was really going on. We kept a lot of the same dialogue, and the lines originally intended for an innocent kid became a bit more tongue-in-cheek and ironic."

The pair discuss working with Michael Cain, Dennis Franz, and Angie Dickinson, who was still working on TV's Police Woman at the time, and would fly in to do her scenes. Whereas Allen and Gordon had plenty of rehearsal time, Dickinson did not. "Angie was finding her movie-acting rhythm again, and that was interesting to watch," Gordon tells Fangoria. "We did that one scene we had and we didn't rehearse it to death, so that was good. I was always trying to make her more comfortable by getting her to laugh and whatnot, and at first she didn't seem to like that, but she slowly warmed to it. Brian would tell her, 'Look, we're not trying to rush through eight pages a day, we can take our time.' and she relaxed into that. You could see that she remembered liking doing movies and having time, unlike TV where everything is bam-bam, real fast."

Allen talks about meeting Dickinson on set: "Angie and I met in the elevator and then said goodbye; it was like 'Hello! And goodbye!' all in one shot! I didn't have to use too much imagination for that scene; it was all there in front of me. All that blood and gore! But of course, it was also very technical. My hand had to be in this place and my eyes had to be there, and it all works because it's so brilliantly edited."

Fangoria then follows up: "The technicality of the shoot in general must have been very complex, with all the cuts, split screens, dissolves and so forth. Did that highly stylized direction dictate your performances in any way?"

Allen responds, "So much of it was all about timing. It felt robotic at times. For instance, at the end, with the shot first of Keith, then of Michael, then of me, everything had to be perfectly timed and cued up. So I would be doing strange things, and sometimes feeling rather awkward."

'UNDER THE SKIN'
There's a lot more to check out in the Dressed To Kill article, and other terrific articles in the magazine, including the cover story interview with Jonathan Glazer about Under The Skin. At the end of that interview, Fangoria's Chris Alexander tells Glazer, "We're putting Under The Skin on the cover of the most widely read horror-film magazine in the world. Many might not consider it a horror movie, but we do."

Glazer replies, "That's interesting. How does it fit into the canon of horror cinema for you?"

FANG's Alexander: "Horror has always concerned the everyday somehow transformed into a place of danger. It's about that sense of dread, of nightmarish ambiguity. No questions are answered at the end of Under The Skin, and it's haunting. Its effect lingers. To me, that's a horror film."

Glazer: "Great. Then I'm honored that it is. If that's what it is to you, if that's how it feels to you, then that's fantastic."


Posted by Geoff at 11:25 PM CDT
Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2014 11:34 PM CDT
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014
SLASHER-MUSICAL 'STAGE FRIGHT' PULLS FROM DE PALMA
'PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE' & 'CARRIE' CITED AS INSPIRATIONS
The new movie Stage Fright is not a remake of the old Alfred Hitchcock classic, but a slasher-musical starring Meat Loaf and Minnie Driver. It was directed by Jerome Sable, who co-wrote the music with Eli Batalion. In a dual interview with Den Of Geek's David Crow, Sable mentions, among other things, a couple of Brian De Palma films that helped inspire Stage Fright, which is currently available on VOD. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
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GEEK: Speaking of Rocky Horror though, what were the musicals and, for that matter, slasher movies that influenced both of you and then which ones influenced this movie?

EB: It’s interesting, because we love musicals, but we don’t necessarily love all musicals. I wouldn’t describe us as Broadway fanboys. Actually, there’s probably a lot of stuff on Broadway that we violently detest. [Laughs] But there’s a bunch of stuff. Our musical influences, going to more traditional music, certainly Kander and Ebb, some Gilbert and Sullivan as well. We were just talking a little earlier about Lionel Bart.

JS: The guy who wrote Oliver! There’s influences there not only in terms of the music, but also in terms of the directing Carol Reed. Just the kids in the lunchroom at the beginning in the orphanage if you’ve seen that version of Oliver! And of course, there’s then the rock influences.

EB: Which I say is less Rocky Horror—we’re influenced by Rocky Horror in terms of it setting the precedent, but in terms of the specific rock sound, I think that’s more along the lines of AC/DC, Black Sabbath, some Led Zeppelin, some of the vocal stylings of Axl Rose. That’s the stuff we listened to in high school, so it was an interesting combination of combining that stuff with stuff we had accumulated as enjoyers of music since our teens, and to then throw them together in one film.

GEEK: I felt the whole thing had a very obvious nostalgia for the 1980s. The slasher elements were very Friday the 13th and also Carrie—though that’s the ‘70s—but also the musical that it was most parodying was Phantom of the Opera. I bring that up to ask do you have a love/hate relationship with some of this genre? Because you say Led Zeppelin, and I hear Van Halen in “Metal Killer.” People who listen to Van Halen probably did not like Andrew Lloyd Webber in the 1980s.

JS: Yeah, it is love/hate. It’s like our love letter and it’s also like hate mail. So, it’s our love/hate mail to musical theatre. But here’s the thing, Andrew Lloyd Webber does <>Jesus Christ Superstar, which in itself was more of a rock musical. And then he chose to do his version of Phantom, which is intentionally, and I think he would admit this, high on the cheese factor, high on the romance. He just wanted to take what essentially is a slasher story, because it’s about this guy who offs people in a theatre one-by-one, and takes a slasher and says, “Let me do a slasher completely dripping with romance!” And oozing with this sort of red rose [imagery]. And I think he’d admit that’s exactly what he did. I think on their first draft of the music and lyrics, he thought it was just too haunting or serious. He’s like “let’s just make it more romantic.” Sure Andrew, we can do that.

So, he’s done that, and then we said, “Okay. What about dialing it the other way and making it just more brutal, but also with a sort poking-jabbing at the belly of the beast.” Because of course, it’s such an iconic—when I was young, my mother took us to see Phantom, and the chandelier fell, and it was a hugely impressionable moment. “Oh shit!” [Laughs] So, it makes an impact whether you love it or hate it, it’s a huge part of our culture, which is his take of that story. And by the way, in prepping for this movie, we went back and watched the original movie, the 1925 Phantom of the Opera, and also Brian De Palma’s take, Phantom of the Paradise, which people may not remember [precedes] Andrew Lloyd Webber’s take on the Gaston Leroux story.

EB: I guess a lot of people have done that story.

JS: Yeah, even Dario Argento did one. Even Freddy Kruger himself, the actor Robert Englund, was in a weird version of Phantom of the Opera.

GEEK: To transition a little to the slasher movies, which slasher movies really influenced this? For example, I think you used a lot of in-camera effects for the gore.

JS: Yeah, to your point about there being a lot of nostalgia for the ‘80s and the late ‘70s, yes, there is. I just think those are awesome movies and to name a few others like Black Christmas from ’74, and of course Halloween from John Carpenter, as well as Nightmare on Elm Street, Carrie, Texas Chainsaw, and also Hellraiser. But even the Dario Argento movies, the Giallo, movies like Opera and Susperia; these movies that take place with the ballerinas and opera singers. It’s cool to mix high-class theatre and opera with low-class slashing.

GEEK: Was it hard to get them to sing or lip-synch with all the fake blood splattering around?

JS: They were really singing! We did all live-singing. That was another thing that was tricky to do in-camera singing and in-camera effects. Once we had our cast, they were so talented they could nail it over and over again, being of that theatre ilk and having those chops. But like you say, practical effects take time, and you can’t control splatter, as much as you would like to, so you’d just have to take your time and go again. There was stuff that could go wrong, and it was a complicated shoot, to say the least.

GEEK: Why did you approach it with live-singing as opposed to pre-recorded music?

JS: Same reason as the gore. The results that you get have a certain grit and texture, whether it’s live-singing or in-camera gore. We talk about the splatter. With CG blood splatter, the gravity just never quite looks or feels the same. And maybe you only perceive it on a subconscious level, but if something is fake, it might just feel fake. It is the same with singing. You may not know it, but you feel that you connect more to the character, because it was just what they did in that moment. That’s the result part of things. The other is when you’re on set, having the actors not only singing then and there, but also get splashed with something or see something, that just affects their whole emotional performance. It is throwback, but is also just better in general, I find, to do as much as you can in-camera. It just brings more out of the people then and there.

EB: When you have a canned musical like Singin’ in the Rain, and you can tell that they’re clearly not singing, as a viewer and an enjoyer that takes you out of the moment. It’s very distancing.

JS: Imagine this whole interview was lip-synched, and we weren’t saying what we’re saying.

EB: But we’re still saying these things, but it’s pre-recorded. That would be weird.

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'STAGE FRIGHT' REVIEWS

The Black Saint, HorrorNews.net
"As I watched Stage Fright I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similarity to De Palma’s Phantom Of The Paradise and I wonder if that wasn’t intentional either. A few times I recognized some shots seemingly lifted part & parcel from De Palma’s film. There’s also a nifty little Carrie (1976) homage (another film directed by De Palma) near the end of the film that made me wonder how much of a BDP fan Sable actually is."

Clayton Dillard, Slant Magazine
"If one didn't know any better, Stage Fright might appear to be some sort of explicit homage to Brian De Palma, loosely held together by post-Scream clichés. At least, the litany of references to De Palma's cinema would suggest as much: a roaming, tormented killer amid a musical production like William Finley from Phantom of the Paradise; a bucket of blood straight out of Carrie; and a power tool in desperate need of an outlet, à la Body Double. The similarities end here, however, as Jerome Sable's debut feature couldn't be further from De Palma's delirious cinematic essays on vision and genre. Instead, Sable operates under the most requisite notions of intertextuality, blankly referencing and parodying far better, more exuberant films less as a form of revision or reflexivity than to engage a pop nihilism that has characterized numerous Scream imitators over the last two decades."

Patrick Bromley, F This Movie
"Like so many up and coming horror filmmakers, Sable loves horror and gets a kick out of paying homage to the films that inspired him. Sometimes, it's a heavy-handed and obvious nod to Brian De Palma's Carrie; other times, it's a fun little throwaway reference to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The greatest influence on the film, however, is the Italian giallo film; from the mystery of the masked murderer to the over-the-top brutality of the kills, Stage Fright is steeped in the look and feel of that subgenre. Even the poster looks like an '80s giallo.

"Stage Fright feels distinguished from almost anything else in horror. The songs probably help, but so does the setting and the energy with which Sable stages everything. I can't wait to program my 24-hour horror marathon in October, because Stage Fright is definitely getting a spot. It's the perfect movie to break up the monotony of a marathon -- it's incredibly entertaining, very much its own movie and still delivers the goods when it comes to the horror (the gore is over the top in the best way). While Stage Fright is never going to be my favorite musical horror -- Phantom of the Paradise cannot be topped -- it definitely earns a spot near the top of the list. I smiled the whole way through and wanted to watch it again as soon as it ended. This movie is too much bloody fun."

Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
"Playing like a very special slasher film-themed episode of Glee, Stage Fright mixes horror and Broadway –style show tunes to decidedly mixed results. While this sort of stylistic hybrid has worked in the past—The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise being two eminent examples—Jerome Sable’s directorial debut lacks both the anarchic wit and musical chops to make it anymore more than the sort of horror film curiosity best seen on late night cable television. Despite Meat Loaf’s hammily entertaining turn as the desperate owner of a musical theater summer camp, the film fails to live up to its obvious inspirations."

Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times
"The shoddy plotting — Did the mother’s murder go unsolved? Does the siblings’ adoptive father (Meat Loaf) run the camp single-handedly? — is just pretext for Brian De Palma-esque pastiche, including a killer who sings heavy metal. Give the movie some zip, a few memorable songs and a stronger third act, and (to paraphrase Mr. Sondheim) something good’s just out of reach.


Posted by Geoff at 10:19 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, May 12, 2014 10:11 PM CDT
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014




Posted by Geoff at 12:48 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 12:50 AM CDT
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