SHORTS…and to the point! Richard Gale (THE HORRIBLY SLOW MURDERER WITH THE EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT WEAPON)
Movie trailers have become such an accepted part of our collective movie-going experience that some us actually feel gypped if we miss a few due to a late arrival to the theater. If you haven’t ironically narrated your day’s activities with a ponderous baritone at least a few times in your lifetime then you must be Amish. Or Helen Keller. Because you have. Richard Gale’s THE HORRIBLY SLOW MURDERER WITH THE EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT WEAPON is a funny “preview” of a promised horror epic where a man faces the prospects of his demise at the hands of a relentless assailant armed with a lethal (well, maybe eventually…) spoon. It’s clever, it’s fun, and it delivers the promise of that title.
Will the typical movie trailer format ever not lend itself to being mocked?
Probably not. The movie trailer is an awesome format for short parodies… and to me, so many horror films and thrillers are filled with the potential to be ridiculous– it’s fun territory to explore.
How many debates did you have with yourself along the lines of “too much spoon, not enough spoon”?
Great question– one of the biggest challenges of this film was that the humor comes from the monotony of the killer, but how do you make monotony entertaining, without it becoming truly monotonous and annoying? It was decided in the editing. I wanted to push the joke as far as humanly possible, and the hopefully the many location changes kept things interesting.
You took 22 days to shoot the short film because of all the locations required. Why not just shoot the 9 hour feature film that’s promised by the “trailer”? Or….did you?
We actually shot so much footage(for every second of screen time of the victim being hit by a spoon, there’s five to ten minutes of unused spoon-attack footage) I realized I can actually create a 90-minute “excerpt” from the 9-hour feature. I plan to put it on the DVD for THE HORRIBLY SLOW MURDERER WITH THE EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT WEAPON, which will come out later this year. But the 9-hour version? Trust me, you really wouldn’t want to see that. Even those who sat through all of Warhol’s Empire (6 hours of a single shot of the Empire State Bldg) couldn’t take it.
Brian Rohan, who plays the ‘Horribly Slow Murderer’ works as ‘Norman Bates’ on the Universal Studios Tour. Did you have to stop the tram in order to cast him?
No, but every time I call my friend Brian during the day when he’s at work, he’s at the Bates Motel. After a few minutes of talking he says to me, “hold on, I hear a tram coming, just a sec,” and puts the phone down. After a minute, I can hear forty people screaming in terror in the distance, and a moment later, he returns to the phone and says “sorry about that.” He has the coolest day job ever.
The “trailer” claims the film contains 20,000 spoonfuls of terror. Would counting each spoonful of terror bring with it it’s own special brand of horror?
I don’t believe anyone has yet attempted to count every spoon hit in the film, but I know I will not attempt it. Someone suggested making a drinking game around the spoon hits in the film, but that would be truly dangerous. People would get alcohol poisioning before it was over. Fear the spoon.
What will happen in the feature-length sequel to THE HORRIBLY SLOW MURDERER WITH THE EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT WEAPON?
The Spoonkiller will take on Freddy, Jason, Leatherface and Pinhead from HELLRAISER, and beat them all into submission with his unstoppable relentlessness, coupled with his relentless unstoppability.
AFI DALLAS – Cool Ass Short Films (Round One)
From the first moment I began doing film festival PR, I wanted to figure out a way to get some attention for the shorts and the filmmakers who made them. Some of my favorite films regardless of length have been the shorts that have played at AFI FEST and AFI DALLAS.
Among the films that have stuck with me are Moon Molson’s searing and tragic drama, POP FOUL; Leo Ricagni’s ethereal ode to the positive power of education, FEATHERS TO THE SKY; Alexandre Franchi’s brilliant vision of twisted romanticism TROLL CONCERTO and Lilah Vandenburgh’s almost perfect treatment of bitter romance in glorious black and white, BITCH. In fact, if in some wonderful world of my dreams, I was the a member of The Medici Family during the Renaissance I would sponsor anything Lilah Vandenburgh wanted to do – wouldn’t even have to be art – anything. If Lilah wanted to do a filmed still life treatment of an old pizza box next to an empty can of Mountain Dew, I’d write the check because somehow she’d figure out a way to make that pizza box rueful and surly and the soda can its distrustful partner-in-crime. I think she’s that good.
Anyway, the point is, I have seen it as a particular mission of mine to do things for our shorts filmmakers that no other film festivals do (or certainly not to extent that we do) whether it be putting them on the same red carpets as everyone else, including them in the daily interview junkets, placing them on panels, scoring radio interviews, weaving the subjects of their films in stories about the themes playing out in feature films within the same festivals, to doing features on the directors themselves (even if I have to write the bulk of those stories myself).
Because let’s face it – it will be a cold day at a major publication before someone will do a feature or any kind of significant story on a shorts filmmaker. Can’t hold that against them – as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, it’s all about movie stars or at least what passes for that these days. They literally have bigger fish with longer running times to fry.
So here’s another way for me to get the word out. This blog. I’m going to tell you about some really cool ass short films that Sarah Harris, the patron programming saint of shorts and James Faust have chosen for the schedule this year. And by the way, why aren’t the single male directors romancing the shit out of Sarah Harris? And I don’t mean in a cynical “maybe she’ll program my short if I fork over dinner and a movie AND open the car door for her”… I mean, she’s got the in-the-know smart and funny goods, can hang socially with the indefatigable Faust-about-town, and is the kind of unassuming cute that saves those guys from their worst tongue-tied nature. I know, I’ve seen that scenario play out right in front of me.
I’m just sayin’.
Where was I? The shorts… Okay, these films haven’t been announced yet. It’s the first you’re hearing about them, reading about them, getting the scoop…
That’s right – these are official selections and they haven’t been announced! Holy crap, start twittering! E-mail your friends! Look ‘em up on IMDB, and if they’ve got a site then check it out and tell someone who already got their pass they should check them out! If you know them, tell them it’s safe to get their laurel wreath on because the PR guy went nuts and he’s gone on a leak the info bender!
Okay, if you haven’t got the point by now you’re slow. And good luck with that “Palin in 2012” thing. Let’s start, shall we?
Speaking of politics, yet not really is Sukwon Shin’s animated film, UNBELIEVABLE4. Okay, let’s pretend that George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield and Condi Rice were members of an elite squad on a super cool mission to uhmm, do something cool to stop something bad (like you know, racing around in sports cars and motorbikes and stuff) AND they were also members of a rockin’ 80s band in their own music video playing their own theme music which happens to be….wait for it…”The Final Countdown.”
It’s too perfect. I just heard a quote that you can never really know your country until you view it from another country. Well, Sukwon just saved you the trip.
How many shorts pursue the elusive pristine snapshot of a the male/female dynamic in a relationship? I won’t make you guess. The answer is lots. Too many would be an acceptable answer too – if you’re just angry by nature or someone of the opposite sex hurt you along the way. Well, Todd Luoto’s OIL CHANGE gives you a developing Polaroid of a relationship that is not just “wrong” in the first place, it steadily descends into an uncomfortable rock and a hard place with no room for polite escape. Simply, a mismatched couple go on a needlessly tension-filled first double date with another couple that gradually ratchets up the bad moments until it all reaches a point of no return.
I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I will say that a monologue is involved that is one of the best be-all/end-it-all out-on-a-point-of-no-return limb moments that I have seen in quite awhile.
Sometimes with a short – for me, it’s all about style. And that’s why I love both Denis Villeneuve’s NEXT FLOOR and Pedro Pires’ DANSE MACABRE. NEXT FLOOR lets us watch a decadent feast in progress that is a dual portrait in gluttony and the grotesque as channeled through Terry Gilliam. Attentive servants keep serving and dishing up the food until the entire table of people crashes through to…the next floor. The servants follow, dust off their charges and start serving it up again. Until happens again. And again. And so on…
Pires’ DANSE MACABRE is literally a dance of death – precisely executed and exquisitely choreographed. The film is so artfully done that a corpse can achieve a beauty in its movement and placement and a body in a morgue can be visually manipulated with the snap shot imagery of the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE’s title sequence to effectively intertwine beauty and horror.
I’ll finish with silliness. And silliness that leaves no stone unturned in the playing out of its title idea. And that film is Richard Gale’s THE HORRIBLY SLOW MURDERER WITH THE EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT WEAPON. It’s simple: The film delivers what that title promises. In sequence after sequence, Gale gleefully plays with what we have already guessed might happen once a stock movie trailer voice over presents the idea that someone has made a movie about the ultimate slowburn torment of an ordinary man being terrorized by the character of ‘Death’ as he would be presented in VH-1’s version of Bergman’s THE SEVENTH SEAL. Oh, and I almost forgot -‘Death’ is armed with a spoon. That’s right. Voice over guy promises (and I quote) “20,000 spoonfuls of terror!”
Hard to top that…