May 19, 2015

WYH Recap: 03/05/2015 German Angst @withoutyourhead

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Recap of Jörg Buttgereit, Michal Kosakowski, and Andreas Marschall on
by Vic Schiavone
Hosts Nasty Neal and Annabelle Lecter welcomed Jörg Buttgereit, Michal Kosakowski, and Andreas Marschall, the three directors of the German horror anthology film “German Angst”, to Without Your Head Horror Radio for an over-an-hour-long discussion going over all aspects of this amazing and controversial new film.


Highlights included the following:

WYH:  How did the three of you get together to start the movie?  When did the idea of “German Angst” come about?

AM:  “It was my idea when I was touring with my last film “Masks”.  I was asked what Jörg Buttgereit is doing, because there were a lot of these anthology movies, like “The Theater Bizarre”, around at this time and no German movies of this kind, and so people were asking.  And I’ve known Jörg a very long time, since the 80’s, 1983, when I did the poster art work for “Nekromantik”…Then I asked him what about doing an episode of an anthology movie, and he agreed.  I met Michal in a film festival in Transylvania, where he was with his film “Zero Killed”, and he joined the group and so we started working on this project.”  

WYH:  What does the name “German Angst” mean to each of you?  Why the name “German Angst”?

AM:  “It’s meant ironically.  Normally German Angst means a political term which describes German anxiety for atomic energy and for war and stuff like this, but we took this term absolutely literally because angst means fear in German, and it’s our version of fear.”  

JB:  “The thing is that, actually, Germans are afraid of horror movies, so to use the term German Angst also tries to establish that there is such a thing as German horror cinema, which is something that we had in the 20’s but we don’t have that anymore.  Doing horror movies is a very bad idea in Germany because you really can’t earn your money with it and to be honest we made this film with very little money, with private investors, with crowd funding, and the movie is finished but the people are not paid yet.  So, to do a horror movie like this over here is something you really have to want to do.  It’s totally different from the United States where you have a very established horror film culture.”

 MK:  “Regarding myself, I was born in Poland, and I’m Polish, and for me this was an exciting exercise to think from my Polish perspective, living in Berlin for many years, in Germany for many years, what German Angst means to me.  So I came up with my story that you saw, the ‘Make a Wish’ episode, and I’m sure that many Germans will be offended.”  


WYH:  When you each picked your story for the movie, did you want them to have a connection with each other?

AM:  “The connection is the city; it’s Berlin.  Each story has a very distinctive way to tell you something about Berlin, but in a very different way.  We wanted to do each story as different as possible and as unique as possible following the personal visions of the author, but we wanted the film to have a connection by the city, by the location.  I think the interesting thing about the film is that even though the stories are very different you make a journey through the stories.  From a very private atmosphere in Jörg’s episode, opening up to a more urban atmosphere in Michal’s episode, and then going into to the night; into a much “Labyrinthic” story in my episode.  So you have three completely different things but you’ve got a great journey through different temperatures.”

WYH:  Was there a specific reason why the stories are told in the order that they are told?

JB:  “When I came up with my story for me, it was quite sure that this has to be the first story because it’s such a slow build-up…I wanted to do a very quiet movie and I didn’t know what these guys were up to so I asked to do the prologue, the prelude.”

MK:  “Actually, my episode was supposed to be the last one, and Andreas Marschall’s ‘Alraune’ the second episode.  After we finished the editing process, we had this idea of why not putting the ‘Alraune’ episode at the end because when my episode was the last one that was pretty hardcore to leave the audience with that kind of ending…We thought it’s nicer to put Andreas’ episode as the last one which gives you more space to breathe after my episode and at the same time the ‘Alraune’ episode is the longest one, and it was good to put it at the end because if you put the longest episode in the middle then the audience will unconsciously start asking themselves when is the next coming.  Having the longest as the last one it was clear it’s the last one so everybody can relax somehow.”

WYH:  How important is the cathartic experience that you receive from making a film such as this?

JB:  “Since we made a movie that isn’t a product, I think we work more in terms of how artists work.  I consider myself an artist, and while doing a film I explore the things that disturb me.  And I don’t have the answers to all the questions that are raised in the film…The stuff that puzzles me turns up in the art works I do.”

AM:  “For me the term of catharsis is also very important.  Very often people ask me, “Why don’t you do normal films?  Why do you do horror films?”  For me it’s definitely not a commercial decision because commercially it’s sort of suicide in Germany to do a horror film because this genre is absolutely not accepted.  For me, it’s a personal thing because the films that impress me the most were horror films because they have the possibility to tell truth in a metaphorical serial way and as a horror film maker you are not bonded to reality; you can show the reality of dreams and the reality of your soul…This is the point which for me makes horror films unique and universal worldwide in every culture.”


Other topics discussed included:

  • What was it about Michal Kosakowski’s episode (‘Make a Wish’) that made it personal for him?
  • How important was it to the cohesiveness of the film to have the same production team working on each segment?
  • Who provided the music and score for “German Angst”?
  • Why was it so important to Jörg Buttgereit to pick the particular age he did for the girl in his episode (‘Final Girl’)?


For further information about “German Angst”, go to http://www.german-angst.com/.

You can listen to the interview via WYH or Youtube

Be sure to check out the WYH Facebook Group and join in with Neal, Annabelle, and the rest of the headless ones.

April 27, 2015

WYH Recap: 02/19/2015 Mat Fraser @withoutyourhead

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Tune in to Without Your Head Horror Radio - Live Thursdays
Recap of Mat Fraser on
by Vic Schiavone
mat08.jpg
Hosts Nasty Neal and Annabelle Lecter welcomed actor, drummer, and performance artist Mat Fraser.  Mat is best known for his role as Paul the Illustrated Seal on the fourth season of the FX horror anthology TV series American Horror Story, which was entitled “American Horror Story:  Freak Show”.

mat01.jpg


Highlights included the following:


WYH:  How did you end up on “American Horror Story”?  Is it something you sought out or did they find you?


MF:  “I had heard about it, but my agent in Britain had been unable to secure me an audition, which I was rather disappointed about, and I put the whole thing in the back of my head and forgot about it.  Then, I was doing a show with my wife, Julie Atlas Muz.  We were doing an adult version of “Beauty and the Beast”, which smashed it and got rave reviews and sold out audiences in London.  We took it to New York in March, where we performed it on the Lower East Side, at the Abrons Art Center, and again got such great reviews from the New York Times that it sold out.  

Unbeknownst to me, a woman was just in New York…read the review and thought ‘Oh, that sounds interesting’ and went along.  Then when she saw me on stage, she thought to herself ‘Well hold on, my friend is in L.A.; she’s casting a show that was requiring differently-shaped actors’ and so suggested to them they call the theater and they got my details. So actually, I got the audition from the most random piece of coincidence and chance you could ever wish to imagine.”  


WYH:  Was the character of Paul the Illustrated Seal already there or did they write it for you?


MF:  “It was a kind a bit of both, really… I just recorded some pages…actually I was reading the part of the burned man, the Denis O’Hare character from the Series 1.  They knew they liked my body; they just wanted to make sure I could act…So when we got talking, they were like yeah; we want you to be this guy, the illustrated lizard man.  And I’m like, OK, so you’ve obviously looked up online, you’ve seen the lizard guy, for some reason that’s not worked out, but you now have it in your head that you want a lizard guy who is tattooed all over.mat06.jpg
And I said, well look, what I do is I traditionally do the Seal Boy’s act, and I’m called the Seal Boy in sideshow parlance; that’s my character…why don’t you have the Illustrated Seal Boy?  And they were, OK, we can go with that.  And then there was a lot of debate about my face, because they wanted my face to be tattooed and I didn’t want my face to be tattooed.  Well, I kind of stuck my heels down and said I’m not going to do it if I have to have my face tattooed… and amazingly they agreed…Then the TV company was happy with the Illustrated Seal Boy as a character and I was happy with it, and we ended up with Paul the Illustrated Seal.”  


WYH:  What was it like working with Denis O’Hare and what did you think of his demise on the show?
mat03.jpg
MF:  “Denis is a fantastic guy to work with.  He is a wonderful actor, and he brought so much to the show.  He’s one of those rare actors that’s on an acting contract with the television company.  He’s not just hired for specific productions; the actual TV company hires him as an actor and then they put him in various productions that they’re doing.  That’s like “old school” studio stuff, and it’s just a testament to what a wonderful character actor he is.”


“Coming to the demise; yeah…it was one of my favorite scenes in the entire series…It was really cold by then in Louisiana, and that was fake rain, but that was torrential fake rain that we had to do over and over again.  For every one thing you see, we’ve done something seven times, and that was like a six-hour shoot that rain thing; that was tough.  And Denis had the worst of it, quite easily had the worst of it, and he was a real trooper; never complaining once.  But the reason I want to say why that was so special is because of Loni Peristere, the director, because Loni Peristere is directly related to Tod Browning, who directed and produced the original film “Freaks”, from where that scene is an homage. In fact his grandmother, his wife’s grandmother I think, was Tod Browning’s partner until he died.


Indeed, he had Tod Browning’s passport on him, and he showed it to me, and on that big dinner scene, where we’re explaining to Denis what’s going to happen to him basically by explaining the plot of “Freaks”, he secreted the passport under a bowl of fruit so that Tod would be with us in some way during that scene.  Me and Loni were probably the two biggest experts on the film “Freaks” and the whole sideshow genre on the entire floor and set, and we kept scampering up to each other like excitable school boys going ‘Oh my God, this is so amazing!’ and going back again.  And that’s why I was very happy to spend six hours in the freezing cold rain, because I knew that Loni was at the controls and he was making an excited homage to that famous scene in “Freaks”.  It was really genuinely thrilling to be a part of that; it really was.”


Other topics discussed included:
What does the movie “Freaks” mean to him?
Why didn’t he start acting until he was in his mid-30’s?
What is his “dream project” that he hopes to do in the next five years?
What are some of the current horror films that he enjoyed?


Be sure to check out the WYH Facebook Group and join in with Neal, Annabelle, and the rest of the headless ones.

April 26, 2015

Car Nex: The Evil One @RobinDover

Car Nex: The Evil One

Author: E.R. Robin Dover
Publisher:Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.
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Aldo Capello, the mayor of New York city, is threatened by an underground terrorist group that he has been secretly financing in an effort to keep New York safe. With a wide scale terrorist attack looming, Capello summons a creature of hell to destroy his enemies. The Car Nex has been unleashed, and it is ready to take Manhattan!

"Car Nex" was originally created by author Terry M. West. He has set out to let other authors take his original Car Nex demon and present their own versions or tales of the beast.

Today, E.R. Robin Dover's tale "Car Nex::The Evil One" is up for review. I've been told that this man has the stuff when it comes to writing and since I've never sampled his talent, I was eager to sink my fangs into this bloody gem. I'm a fan of the original "Car Nex" story and hoped this one would satisfy. Did it? You'll have to finish the review to find out.

The premise of this tale is simple but yet brimming with tension and possibilities. The mayor or New York city has found himself on the opposite side of a terror attack. The city he would do everything to protect was under siege by the underground terrorist group that he secretly financed to protect the city.

Here you have the setup. A nice twist, playing on fears of current events, the author sets up from the beginning and while he has written in most genres this wouldn't be considered horror to myself. Luckily the story unfolds at a steady pace and the unfortunate turn of events has the mayor knee deep in a world of mess.

His cook of a mother-in-law(as he considered her) mentioned blood must be spilled and the evil one must come. Aldo Capello does the unthinkable and brings forth the Car Nex in order to protect his city but will the evil one do more damage than good?

On the author's webpage, he quotes himself"I refuse to play it safe or be defined by any specific genre.".While I haven't had the pleasure to read his work in other genre's, I have no doubt he could pull off amazing stories in any genre."Car Nex: The Evil One" is a quick read coming in at around twenty pages but it is not just filler. There is brutal action and a depth to the characters that leave you wanting to know more after the last page has turned.

March 27, 2015

Dreg @TerryMWest

Dreg 

Author: Terry M. West
Publisher: Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.
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Terry M West's Dreg
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Louisiana. 1940.
Madness thrives in the Pointe au Chien and a dark legacy is embraced. A bayou boy is baptized in city blood and a pack as old as time rises from the swamps. A man beast escapes his shackles, and the hunt begins- a hunt that will last for decades. A hunt fueled by the moon. For when the moon is full, the beast rises. And the blood flows.
Houston, Texas. 1999.
Lucas Glover is a local psychic who assists the police. Lucas' supernatural abilities are faltering and his health has been greatly affected by his gift. He is brought in by the police commissioner to help profile and track down the Keepsake Killer. The Keepsake Killer is a mass murder who has eluded the police for almost two decades. Lucas is partnered with William Harlson, a hard as nails, skeptical and terminally ill homicide detective who sees stopping the killer as his last hurrah. As the investigation progresses, Lucas is plagued by strange dreams and he develops a connection with an otherworldly force that slowly reveals the origins of the killer. Lucas discovers that he is dealing with a primal force of nature far more dangerous than any human serial killer. And when the Keepsake Killer strikes close to home, Lucas has to push his abilities farther than they have ever been pushed. Even if it kills him.
Author Terry M. West is back! With him comes action,gore, and suspense and I loved every single morsel of it. It is hard to turn a sub-genre on its head, but if anyone could do it; it is Mr. West.

Does he do it with Dreg?

Yes! He takes a traditional horror baddie and redefines it with such style and substance. From the opening pages of the book we(the readers) are greeted with an odd clan and quickly we learn these people aren't the normal neighborly type. Fast forward fifty years or so and we are splat in the middle of a murder mystery. Psychic Lucas Glover is tasked with helping the local authorities track down a serial killed named 'The Keepsake Killer'.

The story is full of twists to keep even the casual reader salivating for more but yet teeming with gore,violence, and everything else veteran horror fans look for. The author originally published the story in 2003 but decided to edit the brutal tale and re-release it.

If you are looking for a new spin on an old classic then look no further than "Dreg". Mr. West has conjured up a mythical tale rooted in reality that is sure to have you howling at the moon.