Saturday, February 25, 2012
On the stands in April (however, you can preorder your issue by visiting: http://www.captainco.com/homepage/fm261b.html is FAMOUS MONSTERS #261 featuring my friend, Justin Beahm's article and interview with TIM BURTON, director of DARK SHADOWS (featured on cover).
ALSO: My FIRST ever article for the magazine: THE SEXY SIDE OF SILENT HORROR CINEMA with CONRAD VEIDT and MARY FULLER. Pick it up!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
As a writer for Fangoria, I often stumble upon rare gems while researching or watching films for interviews and feature articles. Writing about one movie usually points me in the direction of several other movies I desperately need to see; it makes sense and The Fixx said it best: “one thing leads to another”.
Nick Simon’s REMOVAL was recently added to my must-see-movie-list while I was finishing up an article I’ve written for an upcoming issue of Fango. It happened like this: I was interviewing Oz (Osgood) Perkins about his brilliant father Anthony Perkins (you may remember him from a little film called PSYCHO) and I discovered that young Perkins is a talented writer and actor in his own rite. He briefly gave me a short plot summary of REMOVAL (which he co-wrote with Nick Simon and Daniel Meersand) and I immediately emailed my editor to get my hands on a copy. And just as I suspected, REMOVAL is one of those rare gems, discovered almost by accident.
REMOVAL isn’t exactly a horror film; it’s more of a psychological thriller, however since horror is coupled so closely with the “twist” ending (REMOVAL employs several plot twists), it could be considered as such. The film has many deep and dark secrets hidden beneath its carpets and under the furniture. REMOVAL centers on Cole Hindin (Mark DEAD & BREAKFAST Kelly), a troubled, professional carpet-cleaner who witnesses the suicide of his best friend (Billy Burke) and spends several years cleaning up his psyche in a rehabilitation center. His girlfriend, (Emma BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER Caulfield) doesn’t think he is ready to live without therapy, but Cole disagrees. He ends up lonely and alone, slaving over dirty floors, and hallucinating about his dead friend.
Just when we think it can’t get any worse for our poor protagonist, Cole is called out to an isolated mansion to meet Henry Sharpe (Oz Perkins), a calm, collected, and egotistical millionaire who offers him $5000 to spend the night cleaning his entire house, top to bottom. One room in the mansion is a complete disaster: red stains on the carpet, bed sheets tossed and tussled on the floor, lampshades crooked and turned. Henry even asks Cole to help him carry and lift two large trunks into the back of his car. Having witnessed a brutal death before, Cole’s mind runs wild with ideas about how Henry has killed his wife – and his hallucinations worsen with every inch of the mansion that he cleans. What’s in the heavy, black trunks? Is Henry really the awful murderer Cole thinks he is? Are Cole’s hallucinations getting the best of him?
Of course you’ll have to see the film to find out! Although a fairly low budget film, REMOVAL is beautifully shot with an art-house sensibility and attention to small detail. Each actor does an excellent job. Perkins’ acting style and portrayal of Henry Sharpe is reminiscent of his father; he’s boyishly handsome and intellectually comedic - yet he is hard to read – and you’re not quite sure if you can trust Henry Sharpe at any point in the film. Mark Kelly also does a brilliant job keeping the audience guessing. Nick Simon demonstrates real potential as a major film director; REMOVAL is his first feature (he directed two shorts prior in 2008), but you would never know it.
I caught up with both Simon and Perkins to let them know how much I enjoyed the film and ask him a few questions.
SPIDERBABY: REMOVAL is one part horror, one part psychological thriller, mixed with a little bit of black comedy – would you agree?
PERKINS: I always saw it as a thriller and with that you have to be careful because almost everything has been done a thousand times before and so it becomes really
hard to stay, you know, "thrilling". I felt like it was important to also have comedy in there, just to keep the texture rich and surprising. not comedy that goes for laughs, per se, but rather a sense of comedy that kind of just lingers in the world and knows that it's there and knows that it is woven into the world. The script had, I think, a lot of comedy in it. For example, Cole gets up in the morning and he's talking to his wife about what a beautiful day it is and we cut to his point of view and he's looking out at the most depressing suburban tableau imaginable, yet he thinks it's beautiful because he is in such a deep sense of denial.
SPIDERBABY: It took awhile for the film to be picked up for distribution, but you’ve gotten really positive reviews. Are you happy with how the film turned out and all of the feedback you’ve received?
SIMON: It's been a really long and hard uphill battle getting the film released. So it feels really great to get the positive response that we are seeing. We made this film for a very small amount of money. And when making an independent film you never think about how long it might take to get distribution. Or even if you do get it, for that matter. I'm just so happy that people can finally see it.SPIDERBABY: Oz, What’s it like writing and taking direction from Nick?
PERKINS: It was great because we more or less met and worked for the first time together on a short film and so we had a good sense of things going into
the making of the feature. I think we always just wanted to do a better version of the short, so we had a basis from which to build it. I felt like we very much co-authored the movie in that way, almost like we were curating the movie, taking care of it and making sure that it was being well represented as it evolved into a feature. we wanted to honor the short which was why were all there in the first place.
SPIDERBABY: And working with Oz?
SIMON: Oz is really one of my best friends. He is an amazing writer, actor and collaborator. We made a short film in 2007 together called SHADOW PLAY, which isthe bones for REMOVAL. I was lucky enough to have him in the film. He was a little intimidating to work with at first. But he is literally one of the funniest people you would ever meet and he went out of his way to make me feel more comfortable with him. We also have the same birthday, so there maybe some weird cosmic thing going on!
SPIDERBABY: What’s next on the agenda (future projects we can look forward to)?
SIMON: I have a couple scripts ready to go that I've worked on with my co-writers on REMOVAL, both Daniel Meersand and Oz. Also, Dan and I just finished writing a script called SITE 146 that Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur are attached to, through Silvatar Media. Working in development with Alex has been a real eye opening experience. His passion for the genre is so contagious . He has so many great ideas and I think as a writer I've grown considerably since working with him.
PERKINS: I’m working on something really cool as well, but I don’t want to say too much and jump the gun just yet! You’ll have to wait and see!
Although it may be an unlikely comparison, REMOVAL reminds me of Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW meets Ti West’s HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. A contemplative, creepy, and unsuspecting thriller, REMOVAL is definitely worth checking out (it hit the shelves January 3rd).