Isabelle- Weekend 1: Shooting begins!

Isabelle begins shooting tonight! The goal is to get the prologue finished this weekend, a portion of which will appear on Kickstarter in the near future. It’s supposed to storm, which is always a good sign for a horror movie, right?

Each weekend we shoot we will try and post a behind the scenes video. While you wait for that, we’ll post photos of the shoot, so be on the lookout for that. Dead Lantern peeps participating in this weekend’s filming, either in front or behind the camera include: Steve, T.J., Jeremy, Deejay, and myself.

Let’s hope something doesn’t go horribly wrong!

Also, a couple of you mentioned you’d like a Facebook group page. So here you go.

Where do you even go from here?

Splattercast #187 is up, wherein we try to come to terms with A Serbian Film. Please read Mat’s latest post, I’m pretty much in line with everything he’s said there. I also like this review from Cinematical. To quote their conclusion:

I cannot recommend Serbian Film to anyone. It is a movie that hard-core horror fans will be daring each other to endure for years to come. On an intellectual level, I think I can see and appreciate what it’s trying to do. But if I could unsee it, I would.

I have so much I could say; I was thinking about my little girl (she’s 4) and this picture she just drew for me. It’s me, and her and her little sister-to-be (my wife is due in about 2 months). In the picture, we’re all smiling and it’s just a cute little thing, you know? Typical thing a little kid would draw. She draws little cats and bunnies and fairies, etc. I’ve had this thought often: I love that this is what’s in her little head. Her mind is full of good things. Of course, you can’t shelter a kid forever; she’ll learn that sometimes some people are cruel and sometimes bad things happen and all that jazz. But mostly, it’s just bunnies and fairies right now. And that’s wonderful.

Now we, as adults, have a lot of control over what we put into our heads. I’m not saying horror movies are going to influence your behavior, like you’ll head over to the nearest summer camp and start chasing teens with a machete – I don’t really buy that at all. I am saying, though, that it just can’t be very good for your heart, mind or soul to watch some certain things. I mean, how can it be a net positive, in any way, to elect to put this into your head?

I’m not swearing off horror, of course not. However, I may spend the next few weeks reviewing my daughter’s Hello Kitty DVDs on the Splattercast, instead of whatever genre stuff we had on the docket.

I know it’s pretty lame to quote song lyrics on the internet, but the Bad Religion song, Marked, came to my mind:

if I’m a monster,
I am a willing one,
this roller coaster ride is an enticing one,
on the tip of a continuum flowing wavelike
through disorder carry me like a vessel to water

everything you see leaves a mark on your soul,
everything you feel leaves a mark on your soul,
everything you touch leaves a mark on your soul,
everything you make leaves a mark on your soul

if I can touch it,
I can destroy it,
if it’s imaginable to some degree,
I can become it,
like a hungry turning vortex that just flickers to existence,
consuming bits and pieces until I’m finally extinguished

everyone you see leaves a mark on your soul,
everyone you bare leaves a mark on your soul,
everyone you touch leaves a mark on your soul,
everyone you love leaves a mark on your soul

everything you take leaves a mark on your soul,
everything you give leaves a mark on your soul,
and all the fear and loneliness that’s impossible to control,
and every tear you cry leaves a mark on your soul

A Serbian Nightmare

When you download the next Splattercast (episode 187), you’re going to hear Jeff and I have a lengthy discussion about Srdjan Spasojevic’s A Serbian Film. It’s going to be a somewhat confusing discussion. On one hand, you’ll hear us praise the film as an achievement and an incredible experience in sheer horror. On the other hand, Jeff will urge you NOT to watch it (not in the “then I gotta see this” kind of way, but the “No dude, I’m serious. Please don’t watch this because I honestly care about you” kind of way). I will not go so far as to say not to watch it, but I do think it is important to know that you should be warned about what you’re going to see.

We sort of lose track on the discussion. T.J., Deejay, and Steve laugh at us as we try to describe, seriously, what the fuck we saw and why we are so adamant that the film, while incredible in what it does, is literally something that a lot of people probably shouldn’t see. Jeff is pretty into “extreme” horror. He goes out of his way to watch the harder edged stuff. I watch it, but am pretty jaded. People told me Martyrs was brutal, I was “meh, whatever” about it. I have never seen anything like what I saw in A Serbian Film. It takes the “Torture Porn” genre and effectively ends it. It’s done. Over. Nothing will top the images and actions that occur in this movie. It’s both a brilliant piece of film making in how it executes its premise and an undeniable exercise in sheer unadulterated horror. Normally, that would be great news right? If Mat says something like that, then I certainly got to run out and see it! No doubt there will be many of you that DO. The genre has a long history of pushing the boundaries of good taste and fans purposely seeking out that harder edged material precisely because someone tells them not to. This film will be no different. There will be visitors and listeners of our humble site and podcast that see this post and hear what Jeff and I say and flock to their closest torrent. But hear me out before you do, please…

This is a movie that could, potentially, fundamentally alter your perception of the horror genre. It’s a film so extreme in some of its imagery and actions taken upon its lead character that, frankly, may be out of bounds. There’s stuff in here that can’t be unseen once you’ve seen it, and it isn’t pleasant. Again, I’m not saying that you should never watch this movie. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t watch it until you’ve got a full understanding and appreciation of the horror genre itself. There is stuff in this film that will make you rethink how you engage violence in the horror genre. Violence that you see from this point forward is going to be different than if you hadn’t seen A Serbian Film. It’s a film that could very well make you question yourself; why you feel the need to watch something like this in the first place.

There are going to be women who see this film and be absolutely horrified. Things that happen to them and children that, arguably, just go beyond the pale. Every horror fan is against censorship of any kind, and rightfully so. A Serbian Film should not be censored in any way, but some of the stuff that happens in this film will make you question why decisions were made to show it in the first place. That’s one of the weird, hypnotic powers of the film: it’s breathtaking in its sheer audacity and power to evoke horror while simultaneously making you feel like there is no way to argue or justify its existence (the director argues a metaphor for Serbian politics, but honestly, almost nobody not in Serbia is going to understand what those themes may or may not mean). There is a running theme of art, and what is art, prevalent throughout the movie. It’ll certainly make you think about lots of different things. Art, violence in cinema, the treatment of women, etc.

But it WILL forever change how you view horror. In some respects, it could turn out to be one of the most important horror films ever made if audiences react to it in the same way that Jeff and I did. We live in a day and age where the most extreme thing is always touted and hyped up, but that usually turns out to be a giant letdown. A Serbian Film is everything people are saying it is. It’s the most brutal exercise in pure emotional horror that I’ve ever seen in the genre. But it could be a bad thing to see this if you’re not ready. You’ll never look at horror movies quite the same way again. In some people that might be a minor shift (ex. the next act of violence you see in a Saw film will not affect you at all, thereby harming your potential enjoyment), but in others, it’ll be a large one (giving ammunition to the moral crusaders and causing a complete reassessment of why you enjoy seeing people tortured). It’s those people that we are “warning”. This takes a certain type of person to be able to sit through and a lot of horror fans, frankly, just aren’t going to be able to do it.

I know I sound totally hypocritical here. On one hand I’m saying the film is a triumph while also warning people to stay away until they are ready. Believe me, I know how that sounds. Once again, I am not telling you not to see it. In fact, the film probably needs to be seen. What I’m saying is that make sure you are ready. Make sure you’ve seen every film on your horror wishlist that you’ve ever wanted to see before you dive into this. Because no matter what happens, all of those films will be affected after  you’ve seen A Serbian Film. Things just might not pop for you like they would have. Some of the “brutal” stuff that might be in those films won’t be effective at all after seeing this movie. The bar has certainly been moved and that will change how you perceive other horror films from this point on.

Some of you will probably have no problem and this film isn’t going to effect every person the same way. But a lot of horror fans don’t know or understand what they are getting themselves into. It’s just a movie. We all know that. There is an inherent falseness to it. It’s not “real”. But there is imagery in this movie that will just make you feel bad. Gross. Uncomfortable. Disgusted. And you’ll probably question why you would WANT to feel that way? Why seek out something that is so disturbing and cruel towards other human beings? For entertainment? People get slaughtered in Hostel, and we call that entertainment. But the stuff that happens in A Serbian Film is so transgressive and so beyond what has been shown in a “torture” film that it becomes an endurance of brutality and human suffering. The paradox being that it is so incredibly effective at what it does, that how can you not call it “good”?

I’m still batting this film around. I just saw it today. It’s possible that my opinions may change over the coming weeks. Maybe I’ll come to realize that I overestimated the films power. I hope so. But I’m a pretty jaded dude. I’ve seen everything and I was genuinely shocked by some of the things I saw in this film, and not in a good way. And if I can be stunned by an act of violence, then you can be sure that a lot of you will probably take it a lot harder than I did.

And that’s all I’m saying. Just be ready for it. Jeff would tell you to never watch this, and I can definitely see where he is coming from with that assessment. I have a feeling that when this movie hits American shores, the horror genre is going to be attacked like it never has before. We need to be there to defend it. You just know some politician is going to get their hands on this movie and all hell is going to break loose. I will absolutely defend this movie, but I hope there are enough horror fans out there with the intellectual capacity to stand up to the coming storm (just wait until Fox News gets a hold of this :) ). Please, watch everything you’ve ever wanted to see before A Serbian Film. Resist the urge to see it “just because everyone else has”. Trust me. The film will be there when you’re ready.