Archive for Goth

‘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.

GRUESOME GIGS: GARY NUMAN LIVE IN TORONTO

Posted in Concerts, Events, Goth, Music with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by darklordbunnykins

GARY NUMAN

The Opera House

Toronto ON

Oct. 24

Any worries that Gary Numan’s status in North America as a one-hit wonder would mean that no one would turn up to The Opera House to see the synth-pop icon and his band perform his seminal 1979 album The Pleasure Principle were pushed aside when the “Sold Out” sign was spotted on the east end Toronto venue’s door.

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NASTY NAILS: “GO GOTH!” THIS HALLOWEEN WITH OPI NAIL POLISH

Posted in Beauty, Goth with tags , , , on August 23, 2010 by darklordbunnykins

Is Urban Decay still the brand of choice for gothlings? Well, if Shoppers Drug Mart is closer than your nearest Hot Topic story, then those looking to make their Halloween that much more macabre might appreciate OPI’s “Go Goth!” (!?) nail lacquer collection, which come in four “alternative” shades. Oh, and each mini pack also includes a free black lace cuff bracelet “to amp your style.” Awesome.

Re the colours, we have Obscurity (matte black), Sanguine Deep (dark blood red-maroon), Unripened  (“a glittering green so dark it’s dangerous) and Nevermore (“You’ll be c-raven this blackened purple.” Rimshot!).

“Go Goth!” mini packs are available starting in September.

DARK DESIGNS AT THE CLOTHING SHOW IN TORONTO

Posted in Art, Clothing, Photo gallery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2010 by darklordbunnykins

The DLB spent part of his afternoon thumbing the threads at the twice-yearly Clothing Show (formerly the Old Clothing Show) down at the Better Living Centre on the CNE grounds in Toronto. (The show returns Sept. 25 – 27.) New designers mixed with vendors of vintage, and lovers of fiendish fashion have a number of choices, including…

Jen from Sick On Sin

Sick On Sin undies

I discovered Sick On Sin five years ago (at The Clothing Show) and love their cutesy monster T-shirts. Jen (pictured above) also sells ladies undies and baby onesies which are almost worth the price of reproduction in and of themselves. Go to http://www.sickonsin.com for all the deets.

Local designers BBJ specialize in pop-culture accessories like rings and broaches. We loved their Bettie Page candles (pictured above). Be sure to party with the ladies this coming Thursday, May 20, at their 10th birthday party, to be held at Buddies In Bad Times (12 Alexander St.). It runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Play Dead Cult

Rock star faves Play Dead Cult (www.playdeadcult.com) represented with a great selection of undead threads for boys and grrls. Check out their store/play space, Playdead Mansion, at 1233 Rear Queen Street West, open Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Entrance on Gwynne Ave.

Elise from FuturState

Cybergoth was represented by the Futurstate booth. They sell at Borderline in Toronto, or via their website, http://www.futurstate.com.

Dana from Culturshoc

In their own words: “culturshoc combines art, fashion, literature, music, culture and community. we are open tuesday-friday 12pm-8pm, saturday-sunday 10am-6pm.We are located at 1205 queen street west, toronto.” Well done and good luck!

Absynthetika designer Megan Sawyer (right) with model

Custom corset designer Megan Sawyer will cinch you in as tight as you dare. Contact her at 416-890-0468 or via her website, http://www.absynthetika.com.

Georgie Lambert from Retro G re-purposes vintage clothing and puts her delightful, playful spin on it.

"Skellington" by Angela Osmond

This Clothing Show also contained an art component.

Part of Rejected's line

Skulls play a major part of designer Megan Philbin’s Rejected line (www.rejected.etsy.com)

This year’s Clothing Show is on tonight until 8 o’clock and tomorrow (May 16th) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Go to http://www.theclothingshow.com for more information.

INSIDIOUS INTERVIEWS: CHRISTOPHER MOORE TALKS ABOUT HIS VAMPIRE COMEDY NOVEL “BITE ME”

Posted in Books, Interviews, Vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by darklordbunnykins

Rightly renowned comedic author Christopher Moore rolled into terrifying Toronto a couple of weeks ago to talk up Bite Me, his final instalment of his unintentional Bay Area vampire trilogy.

Bite Me is the follow-up to 2007’s You Suck which is itself a sequel to 1995’s Bloodsucking Fiends. Briefly, Bite Me follows the misadventures of Jody and Tommy, newly-turned San Franciscan vampires who, in the last instalment, found themselves encased in a bronze statue by their wannabe servant, teen Goth temptress Abigail Von Normal, “Emergency Back-up Mistress of the Greater Bay Area Night.” Newly-released, the couple are separated and must mount any number of challenges, including clouds of vampire cats and ancient vampire hunters, to be reunited.

Here, Moore, who began his career as a horror writer but switched gears when he found more readers were snickering at his work than shivering, talks about vampirism as a useless metaphor, stalking Goth blogs, and the importance of humour in his horror. The DLB interviewed Mr. Moore in the Lobby Bar of the swank Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto.

I understand that you began your career writing horror fiction. Were you disappointed initially that people were laughing at your work?

That was basically it.

That’s gotta suck!

No, no, it was okay! I hadn’t turned a phrase by accident. I was trying to write in a way that I was turning a phrase cleverly, but I was writing horror stories. And what people were laughing at was the way I turned a phrase, and I just went with that. So it wasn’t the shock that ‘oh, you’re stuff’s not scary, it’s funny,’ it was that the funny stuff was funnier than I thought it was. And whether the horror was effective or not, it wasn’t as effective as the funny stuff was. So that’s sort of the direction I went in. You go with what you’re good at, and that’s what I discovered I was good at.

Who were your favourite horror authors growing up?

Richard Matheson, who wrote I Am Legend and The Incredible Shrinking Man and almost all the Twilight Zones; great short story writer. Robert Bloch, who I loved and also had that grim sense of humour. His most famous work is Psycho, but his short stories are brilliant. Ray Bradbury really early on was an influence. And then as I got into my teens, I was actually reading Stephen King. I think Salem’s Lot was… ‘Oh, that’s how you do suspense!’ device-wise.

I read everybody. Poe and Lord Dunsany and all those guys. H.P. Lovecraft and so forth.

Do you have any interest in trying to write a serious horror novel at some point? Do you think that is even possible?

I don’t think it’s possible for me. I certainly couldn’t maintain it for a novel. I might be able to write a straight horror short story, but that’s how I react, that’s my default setting for the world. So I don’t think I could write a whole novel that didn’t have humour in it.

I recently interviewed Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son, and he described humour and horror as “very close allies.” Would you agree?

Well, there’s a relief factor to it. You can take it so high. When you’re writing a novel there’s sort of a – not to sound too high-minded about it – there’s sort of a symphonic structure to it where you go up and down and up and down. It’s not like a short story where you have one effect and that’s all you want to do.

And so the relief, the counterpoint a lot of times is the humour, and the suspense, let’s say, is the engine that drives the story, but the humour are the beats that go along and the counterpoint to the horror. So I think they’re entwined in that way. It’s an interesting observation. I don’t think I thought it as beats before, but the metaphor certainly works, and that’s why.

Chris Moore in Toronto

Your character Abby gets a lot of time in Bite Me. At what point did she start to take over the narrative?

I think I decided for this book that it would be her book because she sort of took over the last one (You Suck). I didn’t design that to happen in the last one, but she became really the vehicle for… Most of the humour in the last one was rhetorical because of the way she talks and reacts. So with this one I decided she was going to be the engine for the book and it was going to be more of her story than the other two books had been, and so right from the get go on this book I knew it was Abby’s book, basically.

Abby is an iconic Goth teen, and I understand that you read a bunch of goth blogs to help flesh out her character.

I did. When I wrote You Suck I read Goth blogs for about 40 minutes every day before I wrote any of Abby’s parts, just to get it by year, sort of to get the idiom by ear. And there were a lot of clever kids writing blogs then, and so there was material to draw from. It was obviously a different vocabulary and syntax than I was accustomed to using, and it wasn’t something where I was going to go hang out with a bunch of kids on the bus to listen to them.

Middle-aged white men.

I know. Creepy. Deeply, deeply creepy. There was a point where my girlfriend would come into my office and look at what was on the screen and she’d go, ‘Oh, the FBI is just going to break the door down, aren’t they?’ And I’d say, ‘Well, no. I’m not really interacting, I’m just lurking like a big creepy perv so it’s fine.’

But basically I think the interesting part of that is when I went back in 2009 to do the next book, the blogs were gone. The world had changed, and everybody was texting or Facebook, updating, and those good writers that I had encountered three years before were not writing, at least not online. So I don’t know what that says about the evolution of the human language, but it didn’t look good to me.

What other research went into writing this book versus, say, the first one?

I did worry about the city having changed because the neighbourhood the main characters Tommy and Jody live in, SoMa, was a lot of industrial lofts and Pakistani restaurants and transmission shops and artists’ lofts and stuff like that when I wrote the first book. And it also turns out to be where the Internet happened. So by the time I went to do the second book, that’s where all the original offices of Google and Anthead.com and all these other places had renovated that area of the city, and they’d become these upscale, modern loft areas and office lofts.

And I was concerned about it, and I actually met with a book group in San Francisco from a book store named Borderlands. They read a different science fiction or horror book every month and discuss it. And I was living in Hawaii at the time. I teleconferenced with them and said, ‘Okay, guys. You live in the neighbourhoods. What should I do about this intervening twelve years?’ And they said, ‘Just ignore it. Just act like it didn’t happen and go on forward.’ So I said, ‘Okay.’ That’s what I did. I went forward as if, well, it doesn’t really matter. It’s not relevant.

Fortunately there weren’t that many cultural references as far as music and things that would really date the first book and the second book because it’s just that any musical references that I’d used in the first were classic rock when they might have been cutting edge at the time.

Was this story always conceived of as a trilogy?

I did the first one basically as part of a multi-book contract. But when I finished writing it I thought I would like to do this again because a vampire story really isn’t really a vehicle for big themes and serious philosophical treatises. It’s just a lot of fun with funny characters. And I thought, ‘I’d like to do this again.’ But my publisher at the time didn’t print many of them, and the book consequently didn’t do that well. And I wanted to keep my career on an upward vector so I couldn’t really write the second one until I had an audience that would buy anything that I’d write. So by the time I wrote You Suck I had that, and they did.

And I just thought You Suck needed… The ending wasn’t as satisfying as I thought it should be, so Bite Me is to wrap it up. And so it became a trilogy sort of on its own. But I’d always wanted to do a second one. It just took career moves to be able to do it.

What was your opinion of vampire fiction prior to writing the first one?

I sort of self-educated in the whole genre – writing in general – but, sure, I had read Stoker’s Dracula when I was fourteen and then all of the things you have to read: Camilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, and you have to read [John] Polidori’s The Vampyre.

And by the time I wrote Bloodsucking Fiends Anne Rice already had, I think, five or six books out, and she had written the history of the vampire race. And I told my editor that when he picked this idea as one of the ones I submitted. I said, ‘Look, she’s already done the vampire history thing. I don’t know that I can do that. And he goes, ‘Well, are her books funny?’ And I said, ‘No,’ and he said, ‘Well, there you go’ and so the decision was made.

But I had a pretty good background, and I think the first story I ever won an award for at a writer conference was a vampirish story about a girl vampire who sort of turns the whole predator thing back on men who are preying on young girls.

Do people put too much importance on vampirism as a metaphor?

Well, they’re looking for it. I know every interview I do somebody asks me why do I think it’s so popular. Typically I’ll say it’s a superhero you can be. Or everybody likes the bad boy. Whatever. It’s an interesting, fun genre to write in because you really are writing about a superhero and he’s got built-in kryptonite of daylight or whatever box of tools you decide to use, whether it’s garlic or stakes or holy water, and that’s always interesting is to have this built-in weakness to either a hero or a villain that has powers. But I don’t think it’s a serious metaphor for life period, no matter how much you want to stretch it. It’s just entertainment and to try to make it anything else is disingenuous.

MACABRE MUSIC: FAITH & THE MUSE, JOHNNY HOLLOW LIVE IN TORONTO

Posted in Concerts, Events, Music, Theatre with tags , , , , , , on April 20, 2010 by darklordbunnykins

Johnny Hollow cellist Kitty Thompson

Toronto’s creatures of the night came out in full force last night to sup on the sinful sounds of local Goth trio Johnny Hollow and the act they helped bring to town, America’s Faith & The Muse. This was FATM’s first local show in 11 years so the 90-minute delay to the start of their set (border troubles, of course) was only a minor impediment.

Johnny Hollow has built up a solid local following in the last couple of years, packing the Horseshoe Tavern on a Monday night this winter (despite the doubts of the ‘Shoe’s booking agents, we were told) and now drawing a solid crowd to the El Mocambo, a nice follow-up to their gig at the same venue on Devil’s Night last year. Here is the band performing their cover of The Sisters of Mercy classic ‘Temple of Love’:

And here they are playing their own song, ‘Worse Things’:

Janine White of Johnny Hollow

Not being overly familiar with Faith and the Muse, the DLB was curious, having only heard a few songs and watched the YouTube trailer for the Toronto show:

Monica Richards of Faith and the Muse

The result was mesmerizing, a phantasmagorical display of hypnotic rhythms, atmospheric music and a theatrical presentation. Core members Monica Richards (vocals) and William Faith (guitar, vocals, electric cello, drums) were joined by six other multi-instrumentalists to play an alternately beautiful and compelling blend of Gothic, Celtic and tribal tracks. Not being familiar with the band’s catalogue, I haven’t been able to name these songs but feel free to comment if you know their titles:

William Faith, almost in focus

Here’s hoping we don’t need to wait another 11 years before FATM’s next Toronto show. Johnny Hollow’s, by the way, is June 6 at Neutral (349A College St. at Augusta) with Attrition.

MACABRE MUSIC: FAITH & THE MUSE IN TORONTO

Posted in Concerts, Events, Music, News with tags , , on March 1, 2010 by darklordbunnykins

Fabled Gothic rock duo Faith and the Muse is winging its way back to Toronto for a show at the El Mocambo April 19th. Opening the evening will be local band Johnny Hollow, while legendary Chicago-via-Berlin DJ Scary Lady Sarah will be providing the macabre melodies between sets.

William Faith and Monica Richards

Tickets are $15 each, doors are at 9 pm. Go, listen, be happy for once. Oh, and to see what to expect, watch this…