Crispin Lets Us Know What It Is

Crispin Glover (click for larger image)There’s no end in sight for Crispin Hellion Glover, who continues the prolific tour of his much-touted directorial debut What Is It? – which is having its Los Angeles run this weekend on December 8th, 9th, and 10th at the American Cinematheque (you can view the trailer here). The event starts with Crispin’s Big Slideshow – an hour long reading of his books (Rat Catching, Oak Mot, etc.) performed by the actor himself – that leads into the 72-minute presentation of What Is It? followed by a lengthy Q&A and a book signing.

This DC writer attended a previous screening and, without trepidation, can say that this event will absolutely blow you away. For fans of cult cinema, it’s a must. There is no way to fully articulate the surreal nature of the experience. Words cannot do it justice. It must be seen to be believed.

Speaking with Dread Central at his home, Crispin goes into more detail about the film which, according to the maverick director, was made to counter the corporate-run system of cinema. “It was important for me to make the film entirely with actors with Down Syndrome and have them play normal characters,” he says. “This is the first in a trilogy. The second film, It Is Fine. Everything Is Fine! was co-written by (What Is It? co-star) Steven C. Stewart and is based on his life. It’s going to be the best and most emotional film in the trilogy. That was recently completed and will be having its premiere at Sundance in January.”

What Is It? poster (click to see it bigger!)As of now, there are no plans for a commercial release of What Is It? as Glover intends for it to be seen in conjunction with his slideshow/Q&A. “It’s important for the whole thing to be one big experience,” he says. “I plan on touring with it for the next three years. I would do it every weekend if I had the time, but I have to balance it with my busy schedule.”

Busy indeed. Glover has four films due out in the next year, three of them genre-related.

“They’re all great roles,” he says. “The first is an independent film called Simon Says. I play twin brothers Simon and Stanley, who do horrible things to people.” Also on the slate is Beowulf, the big budget adaptation of the epic poem which reunites him with Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis. “I play the monster Grendel. Angelina Jolie plays my Mom. Anthony Hopkins plays my Dad. The character wasn’t originally supposed to speak, but I have actual lines of dialogue in the film. I’m also in The Wizard of Gore, the remake of the Herschell Gordon Lewis film, as Montag the Magnificent, who also does horrible things to people,” he laughs.

The conversation eventually turns toward the now legendary dance in Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter – something that has become affectionately known across the Internet as The Crispin Dance. “I’ve seen it posted on YouTube, which I love. I think it’s a great dance,” he remarks. “I was originally dancing to AC/DC’s Back in Black, but they changed it later.”

For future What Is It? screenings, keep your eyes peeled toward Crispin’s website. He just might invade your town!

As a tribute to the man and a gift for you, the fans, DC presents you with the following video:

Andrew Kasch

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Jon Condit

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