Tuesday, April 7, 2015

GWAR! The Lost Dave Brockie Interview with Robert A. Mitchell

It was late December 2008 and I was living in Toronto preparing dinner when I received a call from a local promoter I knew. (People still used phones in those days) He asked, "Would you be interested in interviewing GWAR! tonight?" There was little hesitation when I said yes. I hung up and rushed through finishing making and eating dinner.

I then fired up my laptop and beginning working on questions. I prepared two sets of questions. The first was for the band in character and the second -- was in the unlikely event that I would interview the band themselves.

I headed out and to the Queen East streetcar that took me over to The Opera House. I got into the venue and met up with the promoter. The one stipulation I was told was that I would not be allowed to film the live show. The band was very protective of the live shows and was a source of income for the band selling DVDs. The show was great and a lot of fun. I shot images after the show of people walking past me covered in fake blood. It was such good footage I used it at the starting of the interview.

This one of my first "big" interviews and it was backstage after the show. The excitement increased when I learned I would be interview Dave Brockie outside of his on-stage character which was extremely rare. Being backstage was tamer then perhaps some would think. However there were a lot of crew loading out equipment, which at a GWAR! show is a lot. Plus there were several people hanging around who once they saw the camera tried to get their way in front of it. With the amount of experience I have gained since I would have controlled the room and interview a lot better.

As I write this it is still weird and difficult to talk of Dave Brockie, founder and former lead singer of the band in the past tense. He was funny, energetic and had a real passion for music and you can see that in the interview below.

Monday, April 6, 2015

HEADLESS: Scott Schirmer, Leya Taylor & Arthur Cullipher Interview with Robert A. Mitchell

Bloomington, Indiana located an hour south of Indianapolis where the farm lands of Indiana begin to give way to the rolling hills of Southern Indiana. These hills eventually make their way further South and meet up with the Appalachian mountains. Bloomington is also where I currently call home. It was falling in love and getting married that lead me to this college town. What do these geographically and personal details have to do with an independent horror film?

As far as the rolling hills turning into mountains, there is a small collective of individuals here giving rise to personal horror films and helping to put Indiana on the map as a place where films can and are being made. The first film from this group of filmmakers is a movie called Found. The film was directed by Scott Schirmer who also wrote the screenplay adapted from Todd Rigney's novel. Found was made not on a shoestring but the frayed remnants of a shoestring. Proving that money is only a tool of film making and not end all and be all of cinematic storytelling the finished film is a strong first feature made by a dedicated core of individuals. One thing that stands out for me is cinematography of Leya Taylor. The film looks beautiful as it takes it viewers into the darkness of humanity.

Which leads me to love. Found is a film where one can see that the creators are clearly in love with cinema and their personal discovery of first finding films. One such instance can be seen as characters  in Found track down VHS tapes in a video store. This is where the genesis of the next film would be found. (pun actually unintentional) In Todd Rigney's story there is a film called Headless which is the kind of film that kids of the eighties would seek out like Faces of Death where it was the thrill of the hunt to find a copy and then through fingers covering eyes would uncomfortably watch the movie. Scenes of Headless were shot for Found. In these scenes one could see Arthur Cullipher's and his team's talent at creating special effects.

While on a cursory note one would like to say the two film are bookends, Headless having direct beginnings in the film Found and the creators behind both films. However the two are very different stories and cinematic experiences. Headless is it's own film and shows that this team while operating within the horror genre can make vastly different films. Arthur Cullipher steps into the director's chair and the film was written by Nathan Erdel. Headless is definitely not a horror film for the faint-hearted. Here is the interview I conducted with Scott, Leya and Arthur in my living room. (I should do more interviews here)