Archive for the Festivals Category

‘THE GOTHIC IS A WAY TO ENTER THE TABOO.’ AN INTERVIEW WITH THE LODGERS SCREENWRITER DAVID TURPIN

Posted in Festivals, Ghosts, Goth, Interviews, Movies, Sex with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2018 by darklordbunnykins

rachel

Everyone loves a good Gothic ghost story, especially one drenched in murder, dread, and the promise of deviant sex. The Lodgers delivers all these things, but director Brian O’Malley’s follow-up to the gory Let Us Prey is a far different if no less horrifying beast.

The setting is post-WWII rural Ireland. Charlotte Vega ([REC] 3: Genesis) stars as Rachel, a young woman living alone with her twin brother Edward (Bill Milner) in their decaying childhood home. The siblings, whose parents died years earlier, are cursed to stay in the house or suffer a terrible fate at the spectral hands of unseen beings. This terrifying childhood idyll is about to be shattered by the onset of adulthood, and Rachel’s diffident attraction to Sean (Eugene Simon, Game of Thrones), a newly-returned and wounded vet.

The DLB spoke with screenwriter David Turpin about The Lodgers during the film’s world premiere at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

On the origin of the script:

It was a game I played with myself as a child. We lived in a flat upstairs and there was another flat below us, and I used to imagine beings coming out of the lower part of the house while we were asleep. So that idea was always buzzing around in my mind from I guess when I was 5 or 6 years old.

rachel and bermingham

On the influence of Jean Cocteau’s 1929 novel Les Enfants Terrible (The Holy Terrors), also about isolated siblings whose bond is shattered by the pressures of adolescence:

And then I thought if you take that kind of weird sibling relationship and then you planted that within a Shirley Jackson world or a Turn of the Screw; you took that weird psychosexual thing, and you used the horror as a way of heightening it and sort of exploding it out.

 

On Shirley Jackson:

I love the eerieness she creates, the sense of evil, sometimes in the banal. I find her quite fascinating.

edward floor

The house as character as a trope in horror and Gothic literature:

When I was writing I was always visualizing the artist Edward Gorey. His designs for Dracula; those kinds of cavernous spaces, interiors that look like they’ve been burned down and people have continued living in them. I was thinking of those kinds of eerie, decrepit spaces.

I was also thinking of Shirley Jackson and Hill House and the house as a kind of organic beast. I was thinking of all the great dilapidated houses, like the one in Edward Scissorhands with the huge hole in the roof. All these wonderful places. The House of Usher.

 

On the haunted estate of Loftus Hall where much filming took place:

It seemed to pretty much perfectly capture what was on the page and also bring more to it. Because when you’re writing a script you don’t know how many sets you’re going to have, you don’t know basically what you’re going to be able to afford. How ambitious can your production design be?

There was a great production designer, Joe Fallover, who worked on it. But the house itself was such a gift because it came so close to what I imagined, even before Joe came in and added all his design to it.

rachel edward

On twins:

The idea of someone who is you but isn’t you, it’s such a fascinating idea. You have all these great doppelgangers in Gothic literature and in film. There’s just something so incredibly uncanny about seeing yourself in another person. I always find it uncanny when I meet the children or parents of a friend of mine; you can see the genetic resemblance moving through the generations, and twins are the most extreme example of that.

One of the things I think horror helps us to do is explore very troubling psychological states; especially sexual things are very hard for us to talk about. And twins are a great way of exploring conflict within one’s self. The feeling that we all have of being torn, of being ambivalent or suspended between two different things; wanting something but needing something else; loving but hating something at the same time. And twins, because it’s two people, you can really visualize that. What the film is really about is these two young people are coming of age at the same time, they’re both at the beginning of sexual adulthood. One of them is able to process it and move forward, one of them is not able to process it, and is destroyed by it. I think everyone encounters a moment in their lives when they could go either way. And the great thing about the twins is they allow us to show both ways simultaneously.

rachel in bed

On the film’s deviant sexuality:

The gothic is a way to enter the taboo. And they’re not taboo just because they’re wrong; they’re taboo and they’re wrong and we want to know what it feels like. The gothic allows us to step into the unacceptable and live the unacceptable.

Those ideas of warped or wrong sexuality… I love the original Cat People, which is a film about bestiality. Paul Schrader’s remake of Cat People touches on both bestiality and incest. Much of horror is about frightening us and exciting us. It’s also about creating a safe space to talk about things that are deeply troubling and about giving us a set of metaphors so that we can talk about things that we may not know how to express otherwise. It’s sort of like dreams in that way.”

 rachel in house

On the rules Rachel and Edward follow:

I’m very interested in folklore, folktales, and oftentimes they’ll involve quite a schematic idea, or in the way in a folktale they’ll be a repeated rhyme, like in Hansel & Gretel. And I wrote the words of the little song quite early in the writing of the film. And it just seemed to me that if you lived in this weird closed world where you were sealed off from everything else you would have a series of codes that you lived by that are very strict. And it became a metaphor for the idea of sexual rebellion and the idea that we are all kept in check by various rules, and we all need to transgress past those rules to know who we are. But at the same time society says, ‘Transgress past these rules and you will be destroyed.’ So becoming an adult is finding a way to transgress the rules just enough to be able to live and know yourself and not be destroyed.

 

On fate:

I guess the closest we come to [Edward in gothic fiction] is Roderick Usher. And I always loved in The Fall of the House of Usher the way though there’s a curse on the family, there’s some kind of security in that, in that it gives him a way of understanding the world. Like so many of us I don’t know what the world is about! I feel very lost a lot of the time. I think most people do. But Roderick Usher, and Edward in our story, they understand; they know what the world is about. It’s about this curse, it’s about this fate. They aren’t fluffing around in the breeze not knowing what to do. I guess it’s the way some people’s identity can be shaped by their victimization.

There’s also in the idea of fate and the curse; the transgression is so extreme that it can go down from generation to generation. And I think we’re all fascinated by those ideas of curses, and horror gives us a way to look at that. It’s so much part of human history, the feeling that one might be cursed because of what one’s ancestors had done. I teach a little bit of American gothic literature. The idea that America as a country is haunted because there is a horrible blood crime at the root of what America is. It’s fascinating, the idea that your crimes will return, and they’re so extreme that they’ll return for generations after you. You may not pay for your crimes, but eventually somebody on your side will.

The Lodgers opens in limited release in the US and on iTunes Feb. 23.

TORONTO AFTER DARK BEGINS!

Posted in Aliens, Events, Festivals, Gore, Halloween, Movies, News, Sci-Fi, Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by darklordbunnykins

 

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival returns to the newly renovated Bloor Hot Docs Cinema this year, opening with two highly anticipated entries, the Irish horror comedy Grabbers, screening at 6:45, and The Soska Sisters’ blackly comic American Mary (as seen above).

As I’m about to head out the door to see Paranormal Activity 4 (review tomorrow), The DLB will have to cut and paste each summary:

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TORONTO AFTER DARK SUMMER SCREENINGS TONIGHT

Posted in Events, Festivals, Gore, Monsters, Movies, News, Supernatural, Violence with tags , , , , , , , on July 11, 2012 by darklordbunnykins

Toronto After Dark returns to The Bloor Cinema tonight for the final installment of its summer series. First up, at 7 pm, is music video director Joseph Kahn’s Detention. The Hunger Games‘ Josh Hutcherson stars in this horror comedy about a killer stalking the halls of Grizzly Lake, and reviews have been surprisingly positive.

The cast of Detention

Next up, at 9:45pm is V/H/S. A found footage anthology film that scared the shit out of Sundance audiences, it sees a group of thieves screening a series of disturbing videotapes during the search for a piece of rare footage. Directors on the film include David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Ti West, Chad Villella, Justin Martinez, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Nicholas Tecosky, Simon Barrett and Tyler Gillett.

Visit Toronto After Dark’s website for more details.

DEVIANT DVD: “SAINT” (2010)

Posted in DVD, Festivals, Ghosts, Gore, History, Movies, Reviews, Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by darklordbunnykins

SAINT

Starring Egbert Jan Weeber, Bert Luppes and Huub Stapel

Written and directed by Dick Maas

eOne Entertainment

The recent angry Facebook status updates I have noticed from those looking to reclaim their right to wish people “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” speaks to just how protective some people get about Christmas… sorry, the holiday season. Similarly, the Dutch take their equivalent, Sinterklaas, very seriously, to the point where poet and artist Quinsy Gario was pepper sprayed and arrested in Dordrecht, Holland, last month for wearing a  homemade T-shirt that read “Zwarte Piet is Racism.” (Zwarte Piet — or Black Pete — is Sinterklaas’s Sambo-like servant.)

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EXCLUSIVE! “TAKE SHELTER” DIRECTOR TALKS ABOUT FILM’S HORROR UNDERPINNINGS

Posted in Festivals, Interviews, Movies, Violence with tags , , , , , on October 12, 2011 by darklordbunnykins


Director Jeff Nichols’ great new film Take Shelter  is a psychological thriller that stars Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) as Curtis, a middle-class dad suddenly plagued by dreams  of strangers taking his daughters and visions of a coming apocalypse. Are they hallucinations? Has he inherited his mother’s schizophrenia? In either case, Take Shelter has its fair share of scary moments, something The DLB asked Nichols during a recent interview at TIFF.

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TORONTO AFTER DARK ANNOUNCES NEXT SLATE OF FILMS

Posted in Devils, Events, Fantasy, Festivals, Ghosts, Gore, Halloween, Monsters, Movies, News, Sci-Fi, Serial Killers, Supernatural, Thriller, Vampires, Violence, Zombies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2011 by darklordbunnykins

Toronto After Dark Film Festival founder Adam Lopez announced the next slate of macabre movies to show at his fast-growing genre film festival, which will take place at the Toronto Underground Cinema between Oct. 20 and 27, on last night’s edition of Inner Space. Among the new additions:

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TERRIFYING TIFF: ON “MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE”

Posted in Festivals, Movies, Thriller with tags , , , , , , on September 17, 2011 by darklordbunnykins

Martha Marcy May Marlene is not a horror film, but Rosemary’s Baby was a big influence on director Sean Durkin’s debut feature. Starring Elisabeth Olson as Martha, the film traces her character’s escape from a cult and subsequent attempt to integrate back into her family. But are the cult members coming after her? Durkin’s film, which recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, gradually builds tension, culminating in a taut ending which will frustrate some viewers but is absolutely perfect. Here is a quote from my recent conversation with Durkin.

Sean, you’ve described this film being somewhat inspired by Rosemary’s Baby and Robert Altman’s Three Women. To what extent do you look at this as a horror film? Three Women is very creepy.

Three Women very much in the sense that it’s an experience. It’s not horror but it’s so unsettled and you just go on the journey of these women talking to each other and no one is listening to each other, and the feel of that film really settled on me.

“But I love horror films and I hate when horror films get gory. I love the build-up so I think that very much like that, very much in the desire to portray that, very much settled in my subconscious at some point of my life and just ends up making its way into all the films I make.”

 

Martha Marcy May Marlene opens in limited release Oct. 21.