The "right path"
So many times I have been asked why I decided to make sleazy exploitation films after working so long and hard on meaningful, heartfelt documentaries further exploring important social issues and instead of explaining myself in a loud bar or walking away in an angry huff, decided to answer this question in a thoughtful written response. And please don't get me wrong, I still make heartfelt documentaries!) We all have our own side projects. Mine just happens to be sleazier than yours! ;)
(I decided to post this essay here as I feel it was not suitable for an actual publication. Please be advised, mature audience only!)
"The Right Path"
I don't know how it happened, but a sudden change has crept into me like an evil spirit entangling itself around my soul as a parasite would. Now, I know I am not a bad man, or at least don't I believe that I am, though I do have my moments of drunken stupidity & drug-fueled madness like the best of us, however, something has clicked inside myself that I never expected to happen in all of my life. I was a good boy growing up; a child filled with dreams of success, money, and the perfect American life. I loved Vincent Price, Cary Grant, and everything Hollywood related. Vanilla hollywood, the kind of Hollywood where romances were a challenge to obtain only for Gentleman and kisses on the hands were a way of flirting with a beautiful Greta Garbo. My parents gave me a video camera at an early age understanding my obsession with movies would soon turn into an undying passion that would guide me through the rest of my life. They just had one request, "Please don't go down the wrong track!" What track was that? I was destined to be the next Hitchcock...not HitchCOCK!
I knew exactly what they meant. As a teenager I would stare at the flickering static nude phantoms on my bedroom television screen, trying desperately to get myself off, but instead becoming lost in thought, wondering what "path" those subjects had followed; and whether or not it would be a similar one to the one I would soon travel. I watched them enjoy one anothers' bodies, their kisses messy and unlike Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburns' innocent pecks that I was so familiar with. When they came, they shivered, twitched and held each other in their sweaty bodies - surely it couldn't be a bad path! They seemed to love each other!
While I never had much respect for pornography and always saw it as a cop out to any artist, I slowly became interested in works and artists who blended and walked the thin line between art and porn. I wont name names, but if you know me, you'd know who some of my favorites would be. Ok fine, you pulled my arm... Paul Morrissey, Bruce LaBruce, Kern, and so many others. Hell even Warhol. Fuck it. Had these heroes of mine gone down the path that my Parents desperately begged me not too?
I continued to watch these scrambled images thrust, suck, touch, and jerk one another wondering if it was all "that bad". Aside from the STD's, AIDS, coke habits, mob murders, and overall sleaze, porn didn't seem that bad. Now, I must say, I am not interested in ever making a porn film, nor has it ever been an interest of mine - even though I do in fact enjoy porn (who doesn't?) however, as I used to be extremely against the idea of depicting nudity on screen believing it would strip away from the overall film, I have now come to believe that it can actually ENHANCE the movie! Who would've thought?! When a girl would get topless in a Freddy Krueger film I may get excited but in the end think to myself, "ah, what a cheap trick!". Yet, as a young "entrepreneur" cough cough, guess I understand it's just the way the world turns. Sex is a selling point. Let's just not talk about the time what I tried to remake 'Deliverance' with a bunch of High School buddies - because i'm saving that one for my novel! Soon enough, a blow job on film was as common as a hand kiss. Hell, Vinnie Gallo got Chloe Sevigny to slop his knob on camera - had he himself ventured down that dreadful "wrong path?" And don't you try to tell me that it didn't make the movie better! The best "climax"of an American film in years! (pun very much intended) One time I filmed myself masturbating on camera just to see if the effect caught on but instead it just looked like a lame channel on Cam 4. And for those wondering, yes, I did tape over it!
I was a teenage punk asshole who held on to his angst long and hard. I probably didn't shake off my hatred for authority until I was far into my twenties and always loved to provoke. I love cinema so much, as it is my life. I loved innocent cinema. I love Philadelphia Story more than I can express in words and Abbott and Costello still make me laugh. I am a sucker for love stories. I am a sucker for Hollywood golden years. I need cinema in my life. Without it, I would be a shell of a human. A walking corpse. A stand-in for the human race without a thought, inspiring idea or creative drive whatsoever. However, my views on whether or not to depict the reality of life within my work has slowly changed. While I have in the past documented devastation, death, homelessness, and everything in between, I feared exposing the other sides of life which normally included sex. Perhaps out of fear that I would be going down 'the wrong path'. One time as an eighteen year old, I tried to make a dirty film with my girlfriend after watching 'Fingered' and had my life threatened by her jock brother who heard rumors of the rather tame masterpiece. So long for that idea!
I guess what I'm trying to say is I have been holding back and now it's time to change. No, I will not direct hardcore pornography, but hell, I will happily blend genres the same way some of my favorites have done in the past. I mean, if Lars Von Trier can still continue making such incredible films, even whilst producing hardcore porn on the side, so be it! An inspiration to all! Let's just hope he doesn't open his mouth anymore and we're in the clear.
In the end, I make movies for myself. I am self-indulgent. Yes, I'll admit. I mean, who else would seriously sit down and watch my film 'The Cemetery' and be taken by it? It was made by me, for me. It is personal cinema. Like a home video without human interaction. I like to laugh at my own work when I see it with an audience and I like to believe that somewhere out there in the vast darkness of the world, someone is watching, or thinking about one of the films I have made and questioning the same idea I was as a child. Was it really "the wrong path?" Chances are, that path is the right path and you just need to free yourself from any restriction as long as no one is being hurt in the process! So let your freak flag fly mother-fuckers! And to the ones who harshly critique my work for "holding back" or giving warning messages before showing a man shoving fruit up his prosthetic vagina, just remember of what you're complaining and whining about. It's just a movie. And I hope one day, you'll be staring at it on a static, fuzzy television screen wondering if you chose the "right path". I'm just being myself, living out my own ideas, and having a hell of a time doing it! Hope you're doing the same thing
Posted on 27 Sep 2012