Archive for June 2016
#158: Kasey Lansdale's Life Is A Musical (flying monkeys need not apply)Sometimes things just happen that take you somewhere you didn't expect to go, but there you are and it is freaking awesome. Everything about what happened Sunday feels like some kind of divine providence. I finished the novel "The Complex" by notable horror author Brian Keene at 2:00 AM, found out a couple of hours later that he just happened to be signing his new book "Pressure" that very day at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Ok, wild, I thought, so I went. Joining him at the signing, then, was none other than country singer Kasey Lansdale, who also happens to be the daughter of one of my favorite authors, the legendary Joe R. Lansdale. And we hit it off! Yeah, divine providence indeed!
So, of course, I asked Kasey Lansdale to join me on the podcast and we got right to it. My first interview with a country western singer who lived her life around the horror genre. What an incredible combination. I usually get nervous when I have zero time to prepare a podcast episode, but Kasey Lansdale is such a great personality and so easy to talk to that everything came off without a hitch. You'll see when you listen. And don't worry--we do talk horror!
In the conversation, we discuss:1. The Kasey Lansdale Logline
2. The East Texas town of Nacodoches
3. "All the arts are connected."
4. The connections between country music and the horror genre
5. The craft of writing
6. Editing the short story collection "Impossible Monsters" for Subterranean Press
7. Kasey Lansdale's favorite monsters
8. Kasey Lansdale's acting work in Christmas With the Dead and Izzy Lee's Postpartum short film
9. Growing up with Joe Lansdale as a dad.
Tickets, tshirts, and more ARE NOW AVAILABLE for the 7th annual Horrible Imaginings!
NOW LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
#157: Documenting Lives--A Conversation with Elstree 1976 Director Jon Spira
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Last week, Horrible Imaginings presented a week of screenings of the new documentary Elstree 1976 at the Digital Gym Cinema here in San Diego, California. During the Saturday night screening, director Jon Spira graciously agreed to talk to the theater after the screening for a Q&A via Skype. What this meant for him was setting the alarm clock for 3:30 AM in the UK. It was an engrossing conversation, but Elstree 1976 wasn't the last film on the schedule that night and our Q&A was cut short. Partly because of this, I decided to contact Jon again on my own for a more in-depth podcast episode. What I got was one of the most involving and sincere conversations about cinema I've ever had. This could be one of the podcasts I am most proud of.
Incidentally, while editing last night I heard Jon pronounce his last name and I realized that I have been mispronouncing it for a very long time. I've been saying "Spira" with the Spanish "i": "Speera." I think it is correctly pronounced with a long "i." Sorry about that, Jon!
Anyway, as I was saying, this is an epic episode. As with the documentary Elstree 1976, it is more reflective and meditative, more philosophical. Listening to it again last night was an almost cathartic and intense experience. As you all know, yesterday was also the day we all found out about the ruinous mass shooting in Orlando where 50 people lost their lives. It was impossible not to have that on the back of my mind while editing this podcast, where Jon and I talk meticulously about how "every life is interesting" and how focusing on any one person in the crowd will reveal a beautifully complex and full life. The juxtaposition of these thoughts and the knowledge that 50 such lives were ruthlessly gunned down was an intoxicating emotional roller coaster. I have to dedicate this episode--one I am extremely proud of--to the people who lost their lives in Orlando yesterday.
Here are some of the main things we talk about:
1: Jon's most important interview project
2: The Q&A at Digital Gym Cinema
3: Unbelievable exhuastion
4: The challenge of depicting without exploiting
5: Documentarians and their power of manipulation
6: Truth Vs. Perspective
7: In defense of "talking heads"
8: The power of the close up on a human face
9: Infantilized culture
10: The internet age of film criticism
11: Audience expectations vs. challenging audiences
12: I DO go to bat for indie horror!
NOW LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
#156: Explore the Italian Dark SciFi Film INDEX ZERO with Director Lorenzo Sportiello (SPOILER FREE)Index Zero is a new dark science fiction film from Italy, and a debut feature from director Lorenzo Sportiello. As with any good genre story, Sportiello uses high-concept cinema to explore some very real problems facing Europe today--namely the refugee and immigration problems that challenge many European countries. The film also boasts an impressive world-building attention to details, oppressive dystopian atmosphere, and an immersive soundscape as we follow the refugee points of view of two characters trying to cross a border toward, not just a better life, but to actual survival.
Horrible Imaginings has been invited by the San Diego Italian Film Festival to co-present a special, one-time-only screening at The Museum of Photographic Arts on June 16th. Since I will be introducing the film, I decided to contact director Lorenzo Sportiello to get some insights into his vision. He graciously agreed to join me on Skype all the way from his homecity of Rome, Italy.
You never know where an interview will take you, and we get into so fascinating discussions about his refugee metaphor, independent filmmaking challenges, as well as comparing and contrasting indie filmmaking in the US vs. Europe, and the importance of the "middle class" of independent filmmaking. It was great fun for us, and I hope it will be for you, too! This will be a NON-SPOILER episode, so you can listen to it before seeing the film, and I hope it will interest you in seeking the film out!
For those of you who live around San Diego, and if you catch this episode in time, I hope you will join us in 8 days at MOPA for our screening! Here are the details:
Tickets will be available at the door. Now listen to our conversation, and remember to follow me on Twitter @HIFFSD! Until next time!
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
#155: Censoring Hollywood: How the Motion Picture Production Code Changed FilmmakingWow, another podcast episode more focused on classic film than horror! Horror can be peripherally involved, though, as the main thrust of our conversation is censorship and The Production Code that became the means for censorship in Hollywood for over three decades. I was graciously invited to join Cinema Junkie Beth Accomando at The La Jolla Playhouse's Discovery Sunday event yesterday, following a production of their fantastic new play "Hollywood."
"Hollywood" will run at The La Jolla Playhouse through June 12th, so if you listen to this early enough, you should definitely go see it! Not only is it entertaining, with some brilliant acting and some appropriately risque moments, but it is a clever look at the unsolved 1922 murder of director William Desmond Taylor through the eyes of Hollywood's censor himself--William Hays. Patrick Kerr, by the way, plays Hays almost perfectly, with gusto and the kind of charm that would have given the staunch conservative a foothold among wild 1920s Hollywood.
The Discovery Conversation, though, was less about the play and more about the historical context behind and after the events portrayed in the play. We talk about the loose cannon state censorship boards of the 20s, the writing and adopting of The Production Code in 1930, the pre-code era, the actual enforcement of the Production Code in late 1934, and how it affected filmmaking thereafter. This is one of my favorite topics, so I was pretty enthusiastic despite the affects of losing my voice.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy listening to our discussion as much as the audience said they did yesterday! And, more importantly, go out and find some great classic films! We talk Pre-code a lot, but we also talk about Film Noir and some other subversive films. I handed out a pamphlet of recommended pre-code films at the event. Here is the PDF to get you started! Pre-Code Guide
After listening to this podcast, listen to the Cinema Junkie interview with "Hollywood" writer Joe DiPietro here: