Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Interview for Women in Horror Month with Amy Lynn Best!

Yo!  Go check out my blog for Jennifer's Bodies to see the full feature line up as well as an exclusive interview I did with the director/producer/star or SPLATTER MOVIE...which is one of the features.  Tickets are on sale now.  Only a week to go as well!!!!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Die! Die! My Darling! - A Wonderfully Wicked Final Film from Tallulah Bankhead!

Dahling......Tallulah Bankhead playing an insane religious fanatic, smiting the thought of wearing "the devil's colour" red, being against smoking and drinking alcohol...sex was obviously out of the question...HA!!!!  Too wonderful for words!  I say this of course because Tallulah Bankhead was THE EXACT opposite of this in real life, haha.  For a woman whos dying words were "Codeine.....bourbon.." and who smoked around 150 cigarettes a day, this really was the performance of a lifetime.  Especially seeing as how she was still apparently drinking heavily at the time.

 I don't care what you say, but the woman is a LEGEND!!!  Tallulah was one of the original bad girls, the thing is, this was in the 1920's and 30's which made it even more taboo!!!  Despite all this she was also a wonderful actress who spent most of her life performing on stage however still did a number of films, including Alfred Hitchcock's LIFEBOAT, the film that I first saw her in...what can I say, I learnt a lot from Hitchcock. :D

 Anyhoo, now you know a little bit about this wickedly awesome woman I bring you to Die! Die! My Darling!(or FANATIC as it is also known.)  As I said, Tallulah plays the every so slightly crazy mother of Stephen Trefoile, deceased finance of American chickadee Patricia Carroll (note to the fab performance from Stefanie Powers) who has just arrived in London and is all set to marry her new man Alan!  Before she can do this though and move on with her new life, she feels pertinent that she pays her respect to Stephen's mother, Mrs Trefoile, namely due to the horrible way in which Stephen died.  (I won't spoil you with details, it's so much more fun to imagine!!!)  Alan tries to sway her in doing so but Patrica won't listen and tells him that she'll be gone overnight as it was a bit of a distance away, and will probably just check into a pub for the night (not in the Jen way of just staying in the pub all night drinking, as in getting bed and board or whatever!) and shall be back the day after.  But, bwahahahaha, unbeknownst to Patrica, she was about to get bed and board alright, but in a crazy old religious freak lady kind of way!!!  :D  

At first Mrs Trefoile seems quite harmless, just a bit strange.  Nothing unusual for someone who lived a largely isolated life, with only two creepy servants and a retarded gardener (played most awesomely by Donald Sutherland) for company.  Patrica tries to leave but Mrs Trefoile insists she stay the night and then go to church in the morning to pray for her el corpso fiasco Stephen!  Again, this seems harmless enough and seeing as how the kooky old lady is hearing nothing of her leaving, Patricia agrees to stay.  When shown up to her room, first signs of weirdness pop up when she realises that the mirror has been removed from its frame and when she goes to see Mrs Trefoile in her room she sees that all the mirrors in her room have been removed from their frames as well...WEEEEEEEEEEEEIRDO!!!!!  I mean at the very least this screams VAMPIRE but you know what, vampire probably would have been a safer option to the crazy antics of this old Norma!  Without giving you line by line details, basically, it turns out that Mrs Trefoile used to be an actress who got up to all kinds of ungodly things *insert REAL Tallulah* until she discovered the Lord and like Norman's mother...turned into a total nut job who the term matricide or suicide from child's perspective, would be more than highly likely!!!

So yay, woot woot, Mrs Trefoile used to be a bad girl but has now gone all freaky two shoes and is imposing her crazy ways of thinking of the woman whom she thinks should be seen as belonging to her son for all eternity!  And therefore she must cleanse her wicked ways such as wearing red lipstick, or as I said before, anything to do with red.  Haha, even a Mini-Cooper. :D What a whore car!  Haha.

After putting up with Mrs Trefoile's insane rules, i.e. NO salt or anything preservative is allowed in food as it is destroying GOD's food....although she did also say they were Vegetarian's which made me smile...all the BEST people don't eat meat, haha.  Being told that she needed to see the way of the Lord and that she wasn't to leave until she had.  It wasn't until they went to the church and then had to leave due to the appearance of the wicked minister, the one who had committed the ultimate sin.  Due to her hateful rants, Patricia assumes that it must have been adultery that gave Mrs Trefoile such reason to despise him, however when she discovered that what actually happened was that he married someone else years after his wife died alarm bells FINALLY start to really go off.  It is at this point that Patricia learns that in Mrs Trefoile's eyes, once married...or even engaged (like she had been to Stephen), that's it.  You are with that person forever!!!!  Which is a very sweet statement and being the nut job that I am, I kind of agree with it.  Patricia then makes the mistake of telling Mrs Trefoile that even had her Stephen lived, she wouldn't have married him and that she had lied before when she said she needed to get back to London to meet up with a girl friend, that it was actually a man she was referring too.  DING, DING, DING......mission, ESCAPE crazy lady and her weird ass servants!!!

Patricia runs away from Mrs Trefoile at the church and back to the house to get her things, asking the creepy man servant to get her car out for her.  Before she can grab all her stuff though, super psycho has suddenly caught up and locked her in the room.  And herein lies the rest of the story, Patricia is held captive and deprived of food...for as long as it takes Mrs Trefoile to cleanse her sins.  Now taking on super gran herself wouldn't have been so much of a problem but insert creepy servants and Patricia is pretty much buggered!

Now obviously the domineering mother story is a well known one in the beautiful world of horror with Norma Bates pretty much ranking as the number one in the crazy stakes...well until I met Mrs Trefoile, haha.  The director obviously knew this and I'm assuming it's a homage to Psycho that one of the scenes is a near replicate, the one in the basement, you know when Norman comes jumping in on Lila Crane, hitting the overhead light...swing, swing, swing...if you don't know what I mean then WTF, get off my blog you vile creature, haha.

Like Norma, Mrs Trefoile clearly is a slightly unhinged woman.  Any woman who has that much of a freaky deaky relationship with their son clearly has a few screws loose.  The thing is...she wouldn't have been nearly as much of a nutter if it hadn't been for a man...yes people, it was her late, religious fanatic husband...the man who had "saved her", who made her that bonkers in the first place!  So hear ye, hear ye...sometimes it maybe ISN'T a good idea to save the party girl from herself, haha.  The fact that she still keeps things from her "old" life, hidden away like a dirty secret, I dunno, it's something we can all relate too...and if not, whatever!?!  We all go a little mad sometimes.  We just have to say fuck it, I accept my crazy ass self and all the shit I have done...and now I am happy to move on with my life.  The end.  Haha.

Now even though the screenplay for this was done by I Am Legend scribe Richard Matheson, the book was actually written by prolific crime writer Elizabeth Linington who was writing under the pseudonym Anne Blaisdell for this novel, which was in fact entitled Nightmare, released in 1961.

While not the greatest Hammer Horror film ever released, it's a downright enjoyable one.  Performances are great all round and I think for a final feature performance, it was a great choice for Tallulah.  It's a shame that she didn't live to be older, but I think 66 was a pretty damn good age, especially for someone who played as hard as she did throughout her life.

She was never afraid to be herself , say what she thought and do whatever the hell she wanted to, and dahling...she lived life the way she wanted too and ended her film career on a truly wonderful, horrorific note!!!  GO TALLULAH!!!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Women in Horror Month - Ana Isabel Almeida Interview

One of the short films that you'll have the chance to see at my Women in Horror Festival, Jennifer's Bodies is Ana Isabel Almeida's A Noiva, or The Bride.  Check out my FESTIVAL BLOG for an exclusive interview with Ana.  

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Jennifer's BLOOD RED Bodies!!! Okay, it's actually my hair but still...

Yo ho ho, just done a post about zee dyeing of my hair to the lovely BLOOD RED for Women in Horror Month.  You can see more lovely pictures of the DYEing if you like if y'all hop on over to my blog for Jennifer's Bodies!!!  :P  I even created a spangly new Flickr account, how exciting I hear you rawwwrrrrrr!!!!!  And ooh, just to show some local support, the company I got my super fab hair dye from, BeeUnique, are actually based in Dundee, so I'm totally supporting local awesomeness and I think you should too!!! :D

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Jennifer's Bodies - Scottish Premiere of Elizabeth Fies, The Commune

Greetings people, if you head on over to the blog for Jennifer's Bodies then you can find out more about the films I am going to be showing for my Women in Horror Recognition Month event.  First up is Elizabeth Fies and her dark, twisted movie The Commune, that has been described as "The bastard child of THE WICKER MAN and Greek Tragedy" byThe Huffington Post.  Jennifer's Bodies will be the first time this film has been shown in Scotland and it's just a shame that Miss Fies can't make it over to see it in lovely Wicker Man country.  

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Women in Horror Month - Twisted Twins Massive Blood Drive PSA 2011

If you've not already seen the wonderful new PSA for the Twisted Twins BLOOD Drive, check it out.  It's a wonderful wee video showcasing some awesome women working in the genre...and me.  It's fun, it's quirky and most of all, it's all to raise awareness around the importance of giving blood.  Oooh, and to announce who AMERICAN MARY is!!!  Mwah!

Women in Horror Month - Bloggage Part 5 - Happy DAY ONE!!!

Doh, was supposed to upload this to my blog earlier...i.e. before Mary was announced.  Oh well, nevermind.  My sillies.  

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

And Mary is......

.....KATHERINE ISABELLE!!!!!!!!!  

So happy that Jen and Sylvia have cast genre darling and also more to the point....past X Files star, mwah! to play Mary in their upcoming movie American Mary.  This is amazing news and I can't wait to see what happens when this super rad trio work together!!!  Gonna be so good.  Best known for her role as Ginger in the GINGER SNAPS trilogy, I first discovered this talented chickadee when she starred in the X Files season 5 episode Schizogeny.

Check out the teaser for American Mary and get all excited about GINGER stepping onto the autopsy table.

Women in Horror Month - Christina Agamanolis Interview

Greetings ghouls and boys, Happy Women in Horror Month DAY ONE!!!  Mwah!  Here I bring you an interview with the adorable, wonderfully talented Christina Agamanolis.  Chris is one part of the awesome Siren Music Productions threesome that did the score for the David Jacobsen movie Dahmer.  Dahmer stars one of my most favourite actors of all time (and one who is FINALLY getting the recognition he has deserved for a LONG TIME!!!), Mr Jeremy Renner!!!  *insert lots of hearts and butterflies and stuff*  ;)  Sooooooooooooo..............

I love in the featurette on the DVD (R1…I refuse to have the R2 one as they have called it Dahmer: The Cannibal…grrrrr) where you speak about how on an emotional level you start to relate to some of the things he was going through, it’s a beautiful little part of the featurette and I felt that you perfectly summed up so much about what I love about the movie.  Now I freely admit how much of a slight obsession I have with Jeffrey Dahmer, he fascinates me like no other serial killer.  I feel empathy for him.  You have made such an incredibly dark, yet touching soundtrack, did you feel that same kind of empathy?

A tricky question.  I did feel empathy for the teenage Jeffrey Dahmer as David Jacobson depicted him in his film.  In the movie, Jacobson introduced the young Dahmer right as he was discovering himself and his true passions.  Not only was Dahmer figuring out that he was attracted to men, but also that he enjoyed the act of killing something.  I can only imagine how alone, confused, and scared he felt at the revelation of what brought him true satisfaction/pleasure and how overwhelmed he must have been by the implications for how he would (or wouldn’t) fit in with normal society.  (I felt Renner’s depiction of Dahmer during this time was incredibly insightful.) As teenagers, we all go through this trial and error period to figure out who we really are.  Most times, even for “normal” people it is a very emotional period in one’s life.   For Dahmer – not only the realization that he was attracted to men, but also of how different he was from everyone around him must have been horrifying.  And think – back then there wasn’t the internet or blogs - any outlets for someone like him to research his condition or anonymously discuss his actions and feelings.  He had to figure it out for himself – Could he live the way he wanted to, keeping all of  his indiscretions secret – or should he reach out and get “help” - try to be a normal member of society.  In the last scenes of the movie we watch him make this critical decision – and I think the way David wrote and directed these last moments of the film, and the way Renner acted them was brilliant.

Did you have any reservations about working on a movie about such a prolific serial killer?

No.  I was mostly excited my co-workers and I (in Siren Music Productions - Mariana Bernoski, Willow Williamson, and myself) to get our first feature.

What did your friends and family say when you told them you were working on the movie?  Were they mortified, disapproving or did you just get raised eyebrows all round?

Raised eyebrows for sure.  Most people (again) were happy for us that we landed our first feature film.  As for the subject matter, we got mixed feedback.  Not disapproving – more like concerned, disturbed or grossed out.  There were some people who were really into it too.  I definitely remember having a few intense conversations with my mom (she was one of the ones who was concerned.)

How familiar were you with the story of Jeffrey Dahmer prior to shooting?  

Pretty familiar.  I grew up in Akron, Ohio.  Dahmer grew up in Bath Township – only 15 minutes away.  I remember the day when he got caught.  I was in high school and the news circulated the school hallways.  I even remember a girl crying in the bathroom – saying that she knew the family (perhaps even knew Dahmer himself) and that she couldn’t believe what was happening.  We were all pretty shocked. Since he was from Ohio, the story was widely covered on our TV news reports. 

I have never seen David Jacobson’s 1994 movie Criminal, I’m curious about it.  Have you?

Nope!  I’d really like to though – maybe tonight!  I bet it’s really good.

If you go onto the IMDb message boards for Dahmer, one of the main topics that always comes up is people asking, “Who did the end title credits song?”  How does it feel to have created something so beautiful and haunting that makes people instantly fall in love with it?

It feels wonderful.  I’m so grateful that people like it.  One of the main things that drives me to write music is to reach out to people – make that song or piece of music that people want to hear when they’re happy or sad… music that they turn to for comfort when they need to cry, or listen to when they want to cheer up.  A song that people can really relate to.  I feel like I’ve really accomplished something with Blue Theme.

The only thing that wasn’t so great is that we were never allowed to release the song or the Dahmer Soundtrack to the general public.  We tried to when the film originally came out, but there were a lot of complications (legal and otherwise).  The girls and I still talk about trying to get it up on iTunes – we are in the process of giving it another shot.  We’ll see what happens this time!  It would be a shame if we never get to put it out there – we still regularly receive fan mail and requests for the song.

What kind of mind set did you have to get yourself into to work on getting the perfect score for this movie?

Heavy.  Introspective.
When we landed the film I was temporarily living in Ohio – working at Oberlin College as a Visiting Professor of the TIMARA Department (Technology In Music And Related Arts – basically music composition).  One of my previous teachers went on sabbatical and I took his place for a semester.  Being in the Ohioan climate really helped with my mindset.  I am always very inspired by weather (which makes me wonder why I lived in LA for so long!!).  Feeling that heavy humidity and heat, seeing huge thunderhead clouds floating above you, hearing distant crackling thunder ripping through the sky (and wondering, hoping that it’s coming your way), rain storms, seeing the leaves change color and fall to the ground, the barren trees, smelling the damp leaves rotting on the ground, the crisp smell of the first snow and the sound of snowflakes falling and hitting the ground.  I love it.  It really puts me in an awesome place for writing – definitely helped with the introspective part.  Also the housing in Ohio is a lot more charming and romantically tattered.  I remember first writing the bass line for Blue Theme in my makeshift home studio there.  The wood floorboards were so warped that I had to struggle to keep my rolly studio chair from drifting down into my keyboard, which is especially difficult when you’re trying to balance a bass on your lap and click the record button all at the same time.

Also, since the film was being shot and edited in LA, I travelled back there for meetings and to write and record the soundtrack with the girls two weekends of the month for about 4 months.  I love flying – I’ve often thought that I’m at my most creative when 40,000 feet in the air. Melodies and lyrics fly through my head and I have to struggle to get it all down.  I wrote quite a few things for the film on the plane.  And I’m sure the jet lag contributed to my mindset too.  Arriving in LA and being dead tired… sleeping on Mariana’s floor for an hour before we began a writing session…

As a huuuuuuuuuge Jeremy Renner fan, like right from the very start when he appeared onscreen in National Lampoon’s Senior Trip (haha), I have to ask…what was he like to work with and how absolutely gorgeous is he in real life?  Also what is your favourite out of all of his performances to date?

I met him a handful of times, but never really had a chance to get to know him.  (I definitely don’t think he’d know who I was if you mentioned my name to him … lol)  He definitely was an attractive guy in person. 
I honestly haven’t seen him in very many films, but out of all of the ones that I have seen, I really do still think that Dahmer is one of his best performances.

Post Dahmer you released the album This Side of North with your Dahmer collaborators Marianna Bernoski and Willow Williamson…this is one of the single most perfect albums of all time in my humble opinion.  Here’s a difficult question for you though, if you had to recommend one song off that album to a newbie, what would you pick?

That is a very difficult question.  To introduce people to This Side of North, I’d pick from Come Around the Island, Five Four, or Driving, or Under the Covers.  Probably Driving?  It’s really hard to pick because I love all the songs.  Several of them reflect the collaborative writing the girls and I did (like the ones I just listed), and others are more examples of my own writing style – Love Affair with the Sun, Silence as the Storm Calms, & Under Cover.

You have a new band now, Luna Vida.  Again, loving everything I’ve heard so far.  What are your hopes for the future of the band and would you like to do any TV/Film work with them…or are you just happy gigging it up and going with the flow? 

Hopes for the band – Number one, I just want to enjoy playing and creating with my band mates regardless of “music business” success. It’s been such a long road for me back to feeling comfortable with music, deriving pleasure from playing and creating.  I don’t want to let that go no matter what happens.  That’s not to say that I don’t want that commercial success, but it’s no longer a driving force in my life.  I think all of the members of Luna Vida (Ryan Anton, Matt Rogers, and myself) would love it if our upcoming album reached a wide audience– and even better if we could quit our day jobs and focus all day on writing!  (Though I would miss doing flips with my students at my current day jobJ  We aren’t gigging at the moment – just writing, recording songs, and endlessly working on lyrics (we write so much material that it’s hard to keep up).  We’re planning on releasing our first album in late 2011 or early 2012.  I hope that a few of the songs get placed on TV programs or in Films. 
As for me, I am excited about the idea of writing for TV and Film again, but no opportunities have come up yet.  I really want to write for a feature length Sci-Fi or psychological thriller-type film – I think that would be extraordinarily fun and I’d be really good at it. 

Is there anyone whom you would love to work with, be it either in the movie or music industry?

Beck.  Foo Fighters. Cliff Martinez.  Steven Soderbergh.  Arvo Pärt.   I know there are so many more…
I’m really bad at remember names of things so I can’t offer you too much here.  This would literally take me hours to get you a good answer.

What else can we expect to see/hear from you over this coming year?

I’m pretty focused on Luna Vida, though I do get calls and write music for commercials from time to time – none of my tracks have been selected recently for any of the final commercials, but you know never know!  I also have been craving to make some ambient/textural music – lots of guitar.  Fun!

And last but not least, who is your ultimate favourite woman in horror, be it an actress, director, composer, writer…anyone?  And also, if you had to pick, what’s your favourite horror movie?

Again, I’m pretty crummy when it comes to names of films or people.  I’m the kind of person who says, “… you know that film where there’s that guy and then he gets chased around in that city”.  I can however sing you soundtrack themes and songs left and right.
OK – Off the top of my head – I loved the soundtrack to “The Shining” by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind.
Does funny horror count?  I love Anna Farris.
Favorite horror movie – gosh… I don’t know.  I don’t really like “horror” movies.  I get scared, I yell at the actors on the movie screen (ex., “the bad guy is right behind you – you idiot!!  Turn around!!), I grab fellow movie-watchers, and have bad dreams.  I enjoy psychological thrillers - like Silence of the Lambs – even though they still give me bad dreams and creep me out.  And Sci-Fi horror.  And I love funny horror…