Sunday, August 7, 2011

JESSICKA RABID DIRECTOR MATTHEW REEL CHATS SLEAZE , SEX , AND SWET WITH DEMONICA

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                      Hello babies , it's me Demonica here with a special treat for all of you rabid and frothy little fuckers out there. Just yesterday as I was coming home from the grocery store I recieved a phone call from my doctor. Dr. Rutherburg proceeded to tell me about the results of my recent blood test , I am HIV positive.

             HA HA HA HA !! Just fucking with you. Kinda got your attention , didn't it ? I do however have an interview with the one , the only , the sexy Matthew Reel writer and director of JESSICKA RABID out Aug. 9th from Troma ( who else ?). Below Matthew talks about some of his sleazy inspirations and favorite celluloid atrocities as well as  what we can expect from his next cinematic assault SWET. So be sure to take some time and read over everything fuckers ............ ENJOY !!!!!



 Have you always had a love for obscure cinema or gutter cinema as I  call it ? What are some of your early influences ?

Of course, as far back as I can remember.  My earliest theater memory was watching 'Super Fuzz' with my mom.  Even for a children's movie, it was incredible goofy trash.  Also as a youngster I would often walk down to the mom and pop video store and spend hours gazing at the old big box horror films.  The artwork was always so salacious and morbidly absurd that even though I never got to watch many of those as a kid, the images always left an impact.  My early influences are still some of my influences today.  Blood Feast and Wizard of Gore, Pieces, John Carpenter films, Dune, Flash Gordon and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.  the films that most inspired my film work relate to my earliest exposure to experimental films, namely work like 'Death of a Hollywood Extra', Kenneth Anger and the like.
 
 


 I hear you have a love of silent film and that your first film Oubliette was a tribute to that genre. What are some of your favorite films of that era and how do you use those techniques even still today ?
  


It boils down to actions speak louder than words.  Almost all my films, even Jessicka, deals with very little dialogue and more about juxtaposition of scenes and theoretical imagery.  A cigar is sometimes just a cigar, but a banana is never a banana.
 


 I know you went to school with an interest in music and multimedia before deciding on film as your form of art expression. Do you feel that even still music plays an important part in the development of a film and the impression it can make on an audience ?
   


Music and silence are the two most important aspects of any film.  A perfect example would be 'Once Upon a Time in the West'.  The first ten minutes of the film into the opening credits has no music but rather ambient noise and long pregnant pauses, which ultimately leads to incredible tension and anxiety in the viewer.  Then of course when the final showdown occurs, you have this maddening and blooming score by Ennio Morricone building the exact same tension.  The music stops, again another pause of silence and then the violence ends as quickly as it started.  Moments like that are the cinematic equivalent to an orgasm, seriously.  Beautiful.


  Did You attend Film School or was it all self taught ?

I did attend film school, but didn't finish.  I've learned in film school you can deconstruct a film to the point the film is useless.  It taught me the basics, but the rest has been from studdying film language on my own.




 Tell me a little about THE GOAT SUCKER one of your earlier shorts. Was that film at all inspired by any John Waters ? Did The Goat Sucker intentionally have that Lynchlike dream quality ? It really put me on edge in a great way.
 


The Goat Sucker wasn't meant to be a serious project.  It started out with a mask, a script I wrote in a day and the urge to shoot just about any damned thing.  It wasn't so much John Waters but rather early/mid sixties drug and sex films.  Particularly more along the lines of Michael Findlay.  It was also a film of experimentation in visual styles, I did want to create something that was like a drug-fueled nightmare.


 What are some " sleazy " films that you have loved that have also inspired you to make horror films ?

Again, back to Findlay, roughies and sixties proto-porn.  The Flesh films were astounding in how much sleaze and garbage that was thrown in those films before the censorship boards started to disappear.  You couldn't go into a theater yet to see porn, but you could go see films like The Touch of Her Flesh and White Slaves of Chinatown.  Seeing films that have razored dildos, poisoned g-strings.  Even H.G. lewis had great moments like that later on with The Gore Gore Girls with nipples getting cut off and one breast spewing regular milk and the other chocolate.  And almost all films of that type have a scene of a woman in her underwear going to the refridgerator and knowingly pull out a cucumber.




. Who are some of you personal favorite " sleaze" directors of any genre that have inspired you to make films ?

Again with Michael Findlay and Lewis.  You are also looking at Andy Milligan, George Kuchar, William Girdler, Harry Novak, Paul Morrisey and Ken Russell.  I don't know if Brian de Palma would appreciate the notion, but he's had some incredibly sleazy moments in his film.







 What was the last GREAT underground or sleaze  film you recall seeing ?

A SERBIAN FILM.  I've talked about the subject for twenty years about wishing to see a film that broke every barrier and taboo to such an evil degree in a classical narrative form.  It's a strikingly beautiful film but it is also the most repulsive and nightmarish film I had ever seen, perhaps even too much, but A Serbian Film has set the bar.


 Any directors working currently in the genre that you admire or that you feel are bringing that underground edge back into the limelight ?

I was highly impressed with the works of Nick Palumbo thus far.  If you see the right version of MURDER SET PIECES he has an incredible grasp of visuals.  When he's off he's off, but when he's on it's going to be brutal and uncompromisingly striking.  I've been keeping an eye on the Toe Tag guys, while I don't think they've yet come into their own I suspect they will break in in a big way.  Jim Van Bebber has been doing this for a while, but every work of his has shown a great deal of maturity with whatever subject matter he works on.  I was highly pleased to see The Manson Family do so well.  One film, a director known only as "Escalpo Don Balde" made the extremely wonderful and perverted BRIDE OF FRANK, shot on video released on video back in the 90's.  It's one of my favorite films, so much potential.  Anyway, I think the director that has the most promise is Damon Packard.  His work is actually a big influence on my own, and if you can track down the original cut of REFLECTIONS OF EVIL it is probably the most exhaustingly wonderful underground film I've seen, or any of his other work for that matter.  He's going to be making an appearance in SWET, if you haven't seen his work then you have no idea how crazy and wonderful that's going to be.


 Can you tell me a little about your production company and how it was formed , what is the process in developing and maintaining a company ?

Master Reel was started for the production of SWET.  For the time being it serves the purpose of a fancy and professionally pretentious way to announce "A Matthew Reel Film".  But really it's a spare bedroom operation, but I have been getting some offers for some freelance work so hopefully Master Reel can expand into something much more.



 Is it extremely difficult in these times of financial crisis to get an Indie film funded and distributed ?

You know it is and it isn't.  It's kindof worrisome thinking about SWET because that's one film that has so many production elements, it's going to be expensive.  But also because of the various production elements and the somewhat fractured narrative it presents, I have an opportunity and rare luxury of producing it piecemeal and having an advantage from it.

      
  Do you prefer to work mainly behind the camera as opposed to playing dual roles ( Actor - Director )  As I believe you did in THE GOAT SUCKER ?

Much prefer the behind the camera work.  It's the inner god-complex at play, I suppose.


 Can you tell us a little bit about JESSICKA  RABID  and how it came about , where did the idea originate ?

Jessicka is about a girl that has been sexually abused her whole life by her family and treated, literally, like the family dog.  the idea started from my film partner on the project, Elske McCain.  We were out of ideas and creative gusto and she suggested I write a script called JESSICKA RABID.  After house sitting for her and taking care of her crazy dog and watching films like Bad Boy Bubby and The Baby, I had a script.


 
 
 
  From the looks of the JESSICKA RABID trailer it seems to be keeping very much with your style of grainy almost dreamlike nightmarish  material ... Is this where most of your projects originate ? It's almost as if you have that Andy Warhol/ Paul Morissey matter of fact vibe coupled with David Lynch like visuals and an Anarchist attitude. I dig it.
    
Thanks!  My work often originates from a notion.  I know that I want to create a certain mood or idea, and so I work from there.  And everything can be accomplished visually, so I use what works for the film.  Life doesn't make sense, it's full of nightmarish absurdities, so I go with what makes me uncomfortable and go with it.  And since Jessicka, there have been several real life cases like that guy in Europe who kept his daughter in a cellar her whole life.  Bizarre.




 It has become a trend in the past several years to remake horror films. What is your take on this trend ??

I say remake everything.  It's always been a trend.  Since the writer's strike, I think it has become a bit more of a comfortable trend for studios to revisit old properties and bring them back.  they are what they are, and while I get annoyed most of the time because I can't often relate to something that may have been special to me at one point in my life, it's no big deal and some of them have been quite good.  I think I'm more confused by studios having a knee-jerk reaction to current franchises and having to "reboot" everything before the body is even cold.  Why does Warner Bros. have to talk already about rebooting Batman after Nolan leaves the director's chair?  Or look at Spider-Man.  Money. Money. Money.  Peter Parker is emo enough as it is, let alone go the Twilight route.


 What are some films you feel could use a good ole fashioned restart ?

No film in particular, but I would say westerns.  I love westerns, I adore them and they've become a dead thing.  Once in a while you'll find them in the theater, but it irks me that the majority of new westerns are some weird post-modern mish-mash that they are no longer westerns.  And it irks me that the only new ones you can find are on the Hallmark channel and aren't worth watching.  That's why when something like the remakes of "True Grit" and "3:10 to Yuma" are so damned welcome to me.  Bring them back.


 As a filmmaker how do you feel about digital cinema in general ? What kinds of camera do you use to film most of your productions ?
       
Digital today isn't even what digital was a few years ago.  The technology has improved so much that it has become impressive.  I suppose things I have a problem with is that when I'm watching a blu-ray film that sometimes an older film is cleaned up so much that it no longer behaves as if it was shot on film in the first place.  Film behaves differently and even on the best of HD televisions, it no longer has that warmth or emotional impact.  Truth be told, 35mm film has the resolution equivalent three times that of the best HD can offer at the moment.  Do I prefer film?  Not at all, digital works wonders.  Now as far as current trends, 3D needs to go.  rarely does it work in a truly impressive manner.  I suppose it can add that parlor-trick element to what you're seeing, but I am bored to death of these overblown special effects ridden features.  You would have to drag me kicking and screaming to see what had been done to JOHN CARTER.  Now with that said as much as I do not want to see THE HOBBIT, it is being shot in a 48p format which could become the next industry standard.  We'll see.  As for me, I shoot with what I have which is a small prosumer Canon HD camera.  With SWET, it's a multi-aesthetic film so I will also be shooting on VHS and S-VHS if I can swing it.


 Is it hard work to sell and promote a film once it is completed or while the film is in production ? Is it more difficult to promote domestically or internationally ?

When you're doing things on your own, it's always hard work.  And you have to continue to promote it every step of the way, no matter if it's domestic or international.  You keep talking about it until you are blue in the face, but when you don't have a studio behind you that's what you have to do for it to work.


 What are some important tools or suggestions you can give on promoting an independent or no budget film ?

Don't rely on dialogue to get get the movie done, don't get married to the script and always think about how things will be pieced together as you shoot them.


 When working outside the system does the MPAA harass you much as an Independent filmmaker ?

Not at all.  No impact yet, only that the independents are kindof snuffed out of the equation.  But of course there's a lot of shit coming out of the independents these days, it is what it is.


 What are some directors that influenced the look and feel of  JESSICKA RABID ?

The look of the film boils down to the movie SNUFF.  I had toyed around with differnt looks and film behavior along the way, but Snuff in particular had that dirty look I was looking for.




  I hear your next project is going to be SWET based on and around the band of the same name. Could you tell us a little about that ?

SWET stands for "Soaking Wet Entertainment Tonight".  If I were to describe it as a band made up of meth addicts who suddenly find their way to stardom, only to be hunted down by an international crime conspiracy and finding themselves trying to protect an evil malevolent pop-star, that would be somewhat correct.  But it is much more than that.  I used to joke around years ago with my friends from high school about people who used to do too many drugs and huffing scotch guard.  I went on to make movies and they went on to start a band called The SWET Band which continue to use those exact same themes in their music.  I've always wanted to do a music-themed film, so that's basically how the concept started.  I am working with both them and my wife, Romerita Prates, who is starring as the "Lady Gaga" creature Madame.





  The teaser trailer that is now online kind of stirs up old feelings of 80's hair metal horror on acid ala Black Roses and Trick R Treat with the off the wall Argento lighting and synthetic sound. Any influence in that department ? Or is this a whole new breed of bitch ?
       


This is definitely a whole new breed of bitch.  There's nothing conventional about this film, not in the story or the format.  If we're talking music-themed horror, the closest in this field would be Phantom of the Paradise, but it goes even beyond that.  This is in a category of it's own.  Sometimes it is like an old Cannon action film, other times it is like Head, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Beavis & Butthead and so on.  The script is staying on point, but this is definitely something unlike you've seen.

  How important was the actual music of SWET in developing the films story ?

100% important.  A lot of the scenes and scenarios in the film have come from the music and musical ideas of The SWET Band, so I have immersed myself in 80's music videos and action movies, constantly listening to 80's new wave while watching disturbing documentaries about meth and drug abuse.  Listening to music by Missing Persons is just as important as watching Cobra or Miami Vice in developing the film.  there are also several moments in the film that deal with a crazy fundamentalist church from the 70's, they take their notions so far that they have burned eight people alive.  they had a gospel band, so it has been rather useful listening to old gospel music like The Louvin Bros to bring out a layer of depth to such scenes.  I've been dealing with abstract notions even in the story, and it has been interesting putting this film together as it is coming from a singular concept.  SWET.




 Since SWET does appear to have a more punk aura about it , how will it stay true also to your grainy almost grungy earlier films ?

I've been somewhat versitile in my films in the past.  there's a lot in common with films of mine such as "Toutes les Francais sont Putains (All the French are Whores)" and "Bath Water."  Not to mention SWET digs deep into its own grunge and filth.  You'll see, this is very much a Matthew Reel film.  But yes, it does have a old punk film feel along the way.  I've been studying films like Repo Man to grasp the timing of the dialogue and how the satire and non sequiturs play out.  But the stuff that has changed, i don't think anyone will mind, as weird as it is this is my most personal film to date.



 Is it difficult to cast a independent film ? To Find actors who are willing to do outlandish things for minimum pay ? What is some advice you have for directors in that  area ?

Yes and surprisingly no.  You may have to keep casting to find the right person, but often times you will find someone who seems to be having a lot of fun doing these crazy things.  As far as advice, be patient and you will find what you need.





 What's some advice you would like to give upcoming filmmakers with low to zero budgets ?


Don't fill up your script with useless dialogue unless it serves a purpose, don't throw in movie refernces for the sake of movie references, and shoot!



 When and where will I be able to seeJESSICKA RABID or SWET I'm very excited about these films.

JESSICKA RABID is being released by Troma this week on DVD, you should be able to purchase it after August 9.  As for SWET, who knows yet.  It's a long road, but trust me it will be worth it!




 And of course since this is THE TRASH COMPACTOR please leave us with what you think to be the " best" , " trashiest" moment in film   history in any genre
It's hard to boil everything down to one particular scene.  I could simply say the entire movie of Thundercrack!, I think it boils down to three.  The scene I had previously mentioned from The Gore Gore girls with her nipples getting cut off to only squirt different flavors of milk, Udo Kier licking the virginal blood off the floor in Blood for Dracula or the dance of the seven veils sequence in Salome's Last Dance by Ken Russell.  favorite trashy quote, from Findlay's FLESH series: "Do you know what a dildo is?"  "Why yes, it's a girl's best friend!"




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Thank You ever so much Mr. Reel. Look for Jessicka Rabid out on dvd this Tuesday from Troma. Buy a copy or you will not go to heaven .

Until next time.

What do you say , babies ?


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