Elvira Talks Movie Macabre
DC: What made you decide to bring Movie Macabre back?
CP/E: Well, it wasn’t so much a decision as it was that I lucked out because I’d really been trying for twenty years to get the television shot out again. The major problem was trying to get the films. Pretty much unless you get public domain films, you can’t afford to do a show like mine. And I was doing other projects like making my movie HAUNTED HILLS and the reality show and making some various film and video series that I did for various people, so… I was busy. But in between, I was always trying to get another TV show together and I was just not able to make it happen. Finally, just twenty short years later, I found somebody - a syndication company - that was able to pull it together.
DC: The show is on in over one hundred and twenty stations across the country. Do you plan to try and broaden that scope?
CP/E: Yeah, they’re working on selling more stations all the time. So, hopefully… I think it looks good that they are going to continue to add markets and keep it going. I’m already planning next year. I do have to say that I am trying to get it onto cable. Syndication is fantastic and I’m thrilled that I’m doing it, but I gotta say it proves very difficult for people to find me in a lot of markets. It’s on digital stations and it’s on at really weird times, mostly like three or four in the morning. People are having a helluva time trying to find it. If you have a different cable provider, it’s on a different station and it’s really weird. In some markets it’s fine. In some markets, it’s impossible for people to find. So, I’m really trying to find a home for it on cable. That would be ideal. At least you’d know which cable station you could go to and find it. In the meantime, I’m more than happy to be on in syndication.
DC: I found it interesting… I was going through some Netflix stuff, looking for some older films, and I found many had gone out of print and the only way for someone to get hold of them was by renting some of the older episodes of your show. It was the only way some of these titles are available.
CP/E: Well, I’ll tell you why… When I started my local television show, it was on a station here called KHJ-TV in Hollywood, and they were owned by RKO. So, I had that whole library of RKO films at my disposal… and those weren’t just films MADE by RKO. They were what was in RKO’s library from many different film studios. Even when I was in syndication I used their library. So, I aired these movies that other people wouldn’t be able to get because they were owned and locked up by RKO. Then, RKO had to let go a bunch of stations and it was eventually sold. I’m not sure what happened to that library, but… that was how I got those. God knows where they are. They could even be tied up in legal thing because RKO had contributed illegally to the Nixon campaign [laughs] and they got in all kinds of trouble. This is really a long, weird story, but… that’s why you probably can’t find some of those movies very easily.
DC: Did you have a hand in picking what was shown on the show?
CP/E: Not in the beginning. They were more like foisted on me rather than chosen. When I was at the TV station, it was what they had and what they were going to air and that was it. One of the things I like about my show now is that I have total control. I wish there were more films available that I could afford, but what is out there, I get to pick what I like. Unfortunately, syndicators would rather have movies made in color. There’s a lot of black & white films I’d like to have, but they really, really want me to do color and there’s not as many public domain films in color. There just aren’t ‘cause they’re late Sixties and early Seventies and then public domain was no longer.
DC: That kind of makes me sad…
CP/E: Me, too!
DC: …the idea that people - especially younger people - will say, “I don’t watch films in black & white” and “I don’t watch films that are sub-titled.”
CP/E: Absolutely. It’s kind of a bummer. Did you say you liked black & white or you don’t?
DC: I love it!
CP/E: Me, too!
DC: I prefer film in black & white.
CP/E: I know! I really, really do… and the syndicators were like, “Oh, we can’t sell that. It’s black & white.” But you haven’t seen it… “No, nobody wants to see black & white.” I don’t get it. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I don’t get whether it’s black & white or color makes or breaks a good movie. It’s either a good movie or a piece of crap. What does color have to do with it?
DC: They say we dream in black & white and they also say that films are our dreams, so… especially when you look as something as beautiful as - and I use the word “beautiful” really loosely - the first ten minutes of so of Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist.
CP/E: Oh, god yes!
DC: The first ten minutes of that just kills me, the high contrast black & white.
CP/E: It’s beautiful. It is. I totally agree. There are so many things. And you were just saying, subtitles, too. Nobody wants to see subtitles. It’s a bummer. That just has no effect on me. I guess it’s people who can’t read very well. I don’t know. If a movie is subtitled, that makes absolutely noooo difference to me.
DC: A big sawhorse of mine is American film versus foreign (like say Asian) product. There’s often no comparison as to which one is better.
CP/E: I know. I saw THE RING… oh, god. Too scary to even watch.
DC: There’s so much good stuff coming out of there it’s crazy.
CP/E: There’s the one where the Japanese girl keeps cutting the guy’s arm off… and his leg. He’s tied up…
CP/E: Oh, my god!!! Wheeew!
DC: Not to get too far afield, but… Takashi Miike (Audition’s director) is amazing. This is not genre product, but…his new film, 13 Assassins that rocks.
CP/E: I’ve heard about it! I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t seen it.
DC: It’s a throwback to like old Akira Kurosawa stuff.
CP/E: Oh, I would love that, then because I’ve seen a few Kurosawa movies and I LOVED them.