Alexandre O. Philippe Exclusive Interview on 78/52; First Word on New Alien Documentary! - Dread Central
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Alexandre O. Philippe Exclusive Interview on 78/52; First Word on New Alien Documentary!

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No matter what kind of movie fan you are – you know about the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1962). It’s iconic. Iconic enough to warrant a new documentary all about it. Enter filmmaker and documentarian, Alexandre O. Philippe. Philippe digs deep into everything about Hitchcock’s fixation on this particular passage, from the creating the storyboards to finding the body-double. The footage and behind-the-scenes stills are bolstered by an interesting array of insiders and modern-day filmmakers.

We caught up with Philippe to ask him about his own obsession with Hitchcock’s obsession and how 78/52 (review) was made.

Dread Central: Why make a whole movie about just one scene?

Alexandre O. Philippe: First, it’s obviously a passion for Hitchcock and his work and his craft. But really I think a bit of an obsession with this scene, which is the most extraordinary, complex, two minutes in the history of movies. I think it’s two minutes that you can crack open and go down the rabbit hole as it were and never get to the bottom of it. It’s an endless source of fascination I think. There’s just so much to learn from it. It’s a way to look at Hitchcock, you know, by really focusing on the details. I think in that scene you can see everything – his fears, his obsessions, his moral universe, his desire to achieve the greatest cinematic trick in the history of movies, which is pretty much what he achieved with this scene. So by looking in the details you can have a better picture of the whole.

DC: Do you worry that you’re dissecting it to the point of demystification?

AOP: No. I wanted to treat this piece of work as something that remains full of secrets and mysteries still fifty-seven years later. I think hardcore Hitchcock fans, hardcore cinephiles will still find these things inscrutable. Whether it’s why did Hitchcock pick the casaba melon for the sound of the knife striking the flesh. Why the painting of Susanna and the Elders on the wall that Norman Bates removes to peep at Marion Crane. Was Marli Renfro, the body double that we got to interview, was she, did she actually have a more important role in that particular scene than previously thought. So there’s definitely new stuff for hardcore fans but I think, even people who don’t consider themselves cinephiles but are just curious. People who may not have even watched Psycho in the first place, I think will have an enjoyable time. And I think the film was very much designed to appeal to the general public and to be accessible.

DC: When did you first see Psycho? Was it as a child?

AOP: I was exposed to Hitchcock’s movies at a very young age and I’m talking like five or six years old, my dad was watching them, and strangely enough because they were always around, I don’t have this first memory of watching Psycho. I don’t have a first memory of watching any Hitchcock film as a matter of fact, which is really weird. I do have certain scenes or moments that have affected me deeply, that almost borderline traumatised me as a kid – I thinking about Eyes Without a Face, I’m thinking about Scanners, I’m thinking about Night of the Living Dead. There were certain images that I remember watching from a very, very early age. But Hitchcock, no. Hitchcock was always around. I’ve always had a real comfort level with him. I’ve always wanted to revisit his films, even when I was very young. And then growing up and becoming a film maker became really interested in his craft. How does he achieves the impact. How does he create this emotional rollercoaster ride. It’s fascinating to study how he does what he does.

DC: One thing I really loved about 78/52 was how deeply you dug, and especially in finding Janet Leigh’s body double and getting her story.

AOP: It was actually really serendipitous because if you do a bit of research, there is a kind of urban legend out there that Marli was actually assassinated. So I actually thought she wasn’t alive. It was a Hollywood editor who contacted me and said have you been in touch with Marli? Well no, because she’s dead! And she said well, actually no she’s not and I know her very well and would be happy to put you in touch. So that was one of the things that really completely changed the movie. She’s an amazing lady, she’s so much fun, just so many amazing stories to tell. And so, to be able to set the record straight on that front because she’s not very well know. I mean as a matter of fact, Janet Leigh went on record saying yeah, there was a body double but then every shot in the shower scene is her. And, as it turns out, it’s not true. Marli had a very important part to play in the shower scene. Basically, every shot that you see, that you don’t see Janet’s face, is Marli. It was quite a discovery and oh my gosh I had a million questions for her of course.

DC: You should do a spin-off documentary about her. When she was talking about being a Playboy bunny and all that, I thought: ‘Ooh, I want to know more!’

AOP: We might. She’s very fun and full of energy and obviously we’re exploring other things right now, but who knows. Maybe we’ll do another piece with Marli down the road. I just know that I really, really enjoy being around her, she has great, great energy.

DC: You have so many interviewees – everyone from Hitchcock’s granddaughter to Eli Roth. How do you narrow them down?

AOP: You want to cast a wide net to a certain extent because at the end of the day, you never really know whether the usual suspects are going to be the best interviews or not. And sometimes actually you get the vibes – it’s not always the people you expect that will give you the best. But certainly Hitchcock experts, obviously editors, people who were involved with this scene, that was easy. There was only Marli [from that era] who was still alive. But also I wanted to reach out to a number of women. I think it’s extremely important when you’re making a movie about Hitchcock, especially Psycho, to have a strong female presence. And editors. The scene is very much a master class in screen editing and I think they’re the forgotten heroes of Hollywood and film making. And so to have the opportunity to meet Walter Murch, Chris Innis, Bob Murawski, Jeff Ford, and all these amazing people, John Venzon, Amy Duddleston, it really added a whole other dimension to the film and to hear them talk about what Hitchcock is doing – look at the cuts! It’s amazing how much you learn. For me it was like sitting through a master class day after day after day. It’s just so much fun.

DC: Was there any hesitation to get screen time in your documentary about the Psycho remake? I mean, not many people liked it…

AOP: I think I really had to, and… I mean, look, I can’t say that I’m a big fan either, but I’m really glad that it exists because it makes you think about movie magic. That it’s not something that you can sort of recapture. Even with a great film maker with, more advanced equipment with, knowledge of the scene and a great crew. It’s not possible to recapture the genius of something like this. And that in a way is kind of reassuring and cool because if we could just recreate everything at will, then it begs the question, did the original really have that genius, if it’s something that can be duplicated or replicated. So I think it’s a really cool thing that it exists. I think what Amy Duddleston did, the editor of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho, said on camera, ‘we shot it the same way, we cut it the same way and it just didn’t work.’ I think it’s one of those actually mind-blowing moments of ‘wow’. It’s really, really interesting – it’s actually really cool that she said that.

DC: Have you seen the TV series “Bates Motel”?

AOP: I have not, actually. And I think that part of the reason for this is, I spent so much time in that shower, so to speak, everyday – I just never really went there. But I’m obviously well aware of it, I hear it’s very good. I will watch it at some point down the road. I think I need to just get over my shower scene for now – I’m being a little facetious here because I love that scene and there are moments where it is hard to be constantly in touch with it. It’s a hard thing to watch over and over and over again. But if I let it go for a few days, I get excited about it again. But in the series, I hear they did something very interesting with Rhianna as Marion Crane in the shower.

DC: What’s next for you?

AOP: We actually started working on a feature doc about another scene, believe it or not. It is the infamous chest burster from Ridley Scott’s Alien! So that’s what we’re working on right now. And then we’re also doing some shorts for the Criterion Collection, which will be released probably very soon and all kinds of other projects that are in various stages of development and hoping that we’ll start shooting them early next year, so we’re going to be busy for a while.

78/52 features interviews with Guillermo del Toro, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Eli Roth, Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, and more, including Janet Leigh’s daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Anthony Perkins’ son, Osgood Perkins. Philippe wrote the script, which breaks down the scene that became a template for how to terrorize a movie audience with a combination of imagery and suggestion.

The film is out in the US and it hits UK cinemas today, November 3rd.

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Joe Dante’s Matinee Starring John Goodman Blu-ray Special Features Announced!

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One of my favorite childhood movies was director Joe Dante’s Matinee starring John Goodman. I watched the flick all the time and still make sure to give it a peep as often as I can. In fact, I just rewatched the movie last month. Still holds up too!

As I’ve grown up and watched more horror movies, I have come to call this film “Popcorn for the whole family.” And visa versa, have labeled Popcorn as“Matinee for the 80’s slasher crowd.” Both of these statements as completely apt by the way.

It is with this love of the film in mind that I wanted to make sure to pass along the news that Shout! Factory is planning to release Matinee on Collector’s Edition Blu-ray January 9th, 2018. And it is a beauty.

You can check out the full list of special features below along with the Collector’s Edition cover art. Then make sure to let us know what you think of Matinee below!

Matinee hits Collector’s Edition Blu-ray via Shout! Factory January 9th, 2018!

PRE-ORDER HERE

Synopsis:

John Goodman is at his uproarious best as the William Castle-inspired movie promoter Lawrence Woolsey, who brings his unique brand of flashy showmanship to the unsuspecting residents of Key West, Florida.

It’s 1962, and fifteen-year-old fan Gene Loomis (Simone Fenton) can’t wait for the arrival of Woolsey, who is in town to promote his latest offering of atomic power gone berserk, Mant! But the absurd vision of Woolsey’s tale takes on a sudden urgency as the Cuban Missile Crises places the real threat of atomic horror just 90 miles off the coast. With the help of Woolsey’s leading lady, Ruth (Cathy Moriarty), the master showman gives Key West a premiere they’ll never forget. Anything can happen in the movies, and everything does in this hilarious tribute to a more innocent (and outrageous) time in American cinema.

Bonus Features:

NEW Master Of The Matinee – An Interview With Director Joe Dante

NEW The Leading Lady – An Interview with Cathy Moriarty

NEW MANTastic! The Making Of A Mant

NEW Out Of The Bunker – An Interview With Actress Lisa Jakub

NEW Making A Monster Theatre – An Interview With Production Designer Steven Legler

NEW The Monster Mix – An Interview With Editor Marshall Harvey

NEW Lights! Camera! Reunion! – An Interview With Director Of Photography John Hora

Paranoia In Ant Vision – Joe Dante Discusses The Making Of The Film

MANT! – The Full-Length Version Of The Film With Introduction By Joe Dante

Vintage Making-Of Featurette

Behind The Scenes Footage Courtesy Of Joe Dante

Deleted And Extended Scenes Sourced From Joe Dante’s Workprint

Still Galleries

Theatrical Trailer

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Exclusive: P.J. Starks Talks Volumes of Blood 3

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One of our favorite low-budget horror anthologies here at Dread Central is producer P.J. Stark’s Volumes of Blood (review). If you haven’t seen the film, get on it asap.

The film’s sequel Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories (review) was also good horror times, and we would recommend that flick as much as – if not more – than the original.

It is with this in mind, all of us here at Dread Central are counting down the days until the release of the third (and final?) entry in the series, which is currently going by the killer title Devil’s Knight: Volumes of Blood 3.

While the new film is still in the scripting stages, we had a chance to speak with creator and producer P.J. Starks this weekend, and he dropped all types of new info on the film, including how many stories the new film will present, and what we can expect.

Mainly that Devil’s Knight: Volumes of Blood 3 may very well be the final chapter in the series, but a host of spin-offs are still very much a possibility.

You can read our quick interview with Starks below and then make sure to let us know what you think of the Volumes of Blood series in the comments below!

Dread Central: What can we expect from the third entry?

P.J. Starks: Eric and I want the third film to be everything fans of the first two films appreciate and more. The set pieces are larger, the stories are even stronger than in the previous two installments and the body count is probably the largest I know for any independent production. We wanted to really go out with a bang and I feel the script we’ve collaborated on will make good on that.

DC: How many stories will be included in this installment?

Starks: We’re going back to the basics with five stories. We’ve tossed around the idea of doing a sixth possible story, but nothing is set in stone. We don’t want to bog down audiences with too much. There’s a progressive story unfolding over two films already, so we’re being careful not to convolute things. We’re working hard to bring, what I’ve been calling the “Volumes of Blood Anthrillogy” to a smart and entertaining finale.

DC: Is it actually the final chapter?

Starks: Never say never. Right? We do have potential spin-offs planned. As for this being the nail in the coffin of an ongoing story arch, absolutely. I think that’s what separates our series from so many other anthologies. It’s not just a series of random shorts plucked off YouTube with some loose connective tissue. It’s a fun ride, but you still have to pay attention to details and follow the larger narrative developing. Wrap around segments tend to be throw away material, but that was never the intention on VOB.

Nice! Again we are all looking forward to the third entry in the VOB series and any spin-offs that may occur. The possibilities are f*cking endless. Bring ’em on!

Until we have further info on just when Devil’s Night: Volumes of Blood 3 will hit, you can always buy the first two Volumes of Blood flicks on Blu-ray HERE and HERE.

Thanks for chatting with us, P.J.!

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Read Darren Aronofsky’s Screenplay for mother!

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This past year we saw the release of writer-director Darren Aronofsky’s mother! (review) a film that was controversial, to say the least. Some loved it, others loathed it.

And speaking of mother!, Aronofsky has said before that he wrote the movie in a mere 5 days (!) and today we have the film’s screenplay for you to download. Paramount released it officially a few weeks back and I say it’s worth the download and the read.

Especially if you fancy yourself as a screenwriter, like me.

What I found most interesting about Aronofsky’s script is that he forgoes typical sluglines. Instead, he jumps from location to location, without any uses of INT./EXT. or DAY/NIGHT. For instance, instead of writing:

INT. HOUSE – LIVING ROOM – DAY, he just writes: LIVING ROOM.

Interesting approach.

You can download the screenplay for mother! right here.

After giving the script a read through, hit me up in the comments below and let’s start a dialogue about the screenplay, the format, the structure, and the finished film in general if you’d like. I’m big into the craft of screenwriting so let’s talk about it!

The film is written & directed by Darren Aronofsky and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brian Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson, and Ed Harris.

mother! hits Digital HD Dec. 5 and 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs Dec. 19.

PRE-ORDER HERE

Synopsis:

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice.’.

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