mutants

All posts tagged mutants

Monsters, Mayhem and Richard Stanley

Published April 18, 2015 by vfdpixie

lost soul

Lost Soul:  The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014,  1 hr, 37 mins)

 

I remember when the 1996 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau came out.  Being a monster fiend, I didn’t really care about the plot, although I did know the story; I was more thrilled about the promise of freakish animal-human hybrids.  And Val Kilmer.  Yes, I was one of the many women who swooned over his chiselled good looks and brooding demeanor, so to see him in one more film was a bonus.

I think my sister and I ended up renting the movie, and it might have been on VHS, or maybe we saw it late one night on T.V., but we were in for quite a shock.  What started out as a promising adventure/horror movie disintegrated into bizarro land and pee-your-pants giggles.  We loved when Marlon Brando recited the “Judge not, lest ye be judged…” psalm, and almost died when Val Kilmer imitated him in the disastrous third act, in fact we still recite our own version of that scene from time to time, just for shits and giggles.

How could a classic story by H.G. Wells, with big name talent like Brando, Kilmer and Thewlis, go this wrong?  I’ve always wondered what the studios were thinking when this film was put out, and I got my answer with the Rue Morgue Cinemacbre presentation of Lost Soul:  The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau, a 2014 documentary by David Gregory.  It is here that we meet director Richard Stanley in Montségur, France, at his secluded home.  Known for his cult classics Dust Devil and Hardware, he lobbied for and finally won the spot of directing one of his favourite stories, The Island of Dr. Moreau.  Glitch after glitch could not dampen his determination, and along with beautiful concept art by Graham Humphreys, landing Marlon Brando as Dr. Moreau, and a beautiful remote location for filming in Cairns, Australia, his is an intriguing story of how a film production filled with grand ideas and talent became a cursed burden that he would ultimately lose due to Movieland mishandling and total loss of control.

I was completely fascinated by the accounts that came from cast and crew, as well as Stanley himself who struck me as a true eccentric with his occult practices to keep good mojo during the production, his extensive knowledge of the feud between H.G. Wells and Joseph Conrad, and the general weirdness that seemed to follow him. I especially enjoyed Fairuza Balk (Aissa), Fiona Mahl (Sow Lady #2), and Marco Hofschneider’s (M’ling) anecdotal stories about life on the set and dealing with Brando, and Kilmer, who was described as a “prep-school bully”.  And speaking of those headliners, my opinion of Brando and Kilmer changed.  I now think Brando’s notorious behaviour, that could be interpreted as disrespectful and rightfully so in some instances, was not such a surprise after dealing with his daughter’s suicide and the fiasco of the Dr. Moreau production.  Gregory mentioned after the film via Skype that he thought Brando’s performance was one of the more entertaining aspects of the film, and that he reportedly behaved that way to amuse himself.  I think he just didn’t care, and seemed to take the piss instead of what was deemed as crazy antics.  Kilmer on the other hand, even though he was going through a divorce, was just a jerk who even Brando apparently couldn’t tolerate.

Gregory told the audience that he made the film because after working with Stanley on The Theatre Bizarre anthology, he asked the elusive director about the rumors associated with Dr. Moreau, and the documentary grew from there.  Stanley was sick of the questions and wanted to say his piece once and for all.  Gregory was surprised at how many cast, crew and executives agreed to participate for the documentary.  Ron Perlman and David Thewlis were among those who declined involvement; Thewlis reportedly not wanting to add to the gossip surrounding the film fiasco.  Val Kilmer was also approached, but Gregory’s inquiries were met with no response, which is no big surprise!

Lost Souls is an interesting journey of how Richard Stanley lost his dream; how the irate, old-school director John Frankenheimer took over just to get the film finished while Brando and Kilmer were constantly at odds with each other, and a stalled production that was barely salvaged.  Gregory announced that the DVD and Blue-ray of the doc will be available in June, and the film is currently making the festival circuit.  For fans of Stanley or those curious about the back story of one of the worst films ever, it’s worth seeing this entertaining and informative documentary.

As for Richard Stanley?  Aside from him directing Mother of Toads in The Theatre of Bizarre, he has a film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space in the works, and a graphic novel adaptation of his Dr. Moreau script.  Hope he comes out with something that he can be proud of!

Check out Rue Morgue’s site for more fascinating horror info, David Gregory’s company Severin Films for updates and VOD of the documentary, and The Royal’s schedule for the next cool flick!

http://www.severin-films.com/

http://www.rue-morgue.com/

http://www.theroyal.to/

 

 

Face Off Season 8 Episode 14: The Fantastic Finale!

Published April 15, 2015 by vfdpixie

The Season 8 finale was a fantastic one!  Right after the final three artists were chosen, McKenzie revealed the first surprise for the “most difficult finale yet”.  They would need help, and it came from the eliminated artists from this season!  After Darla, Logan and Emily picked their teams, they came back to the lab, complete with a red carpet, the following day.  McKenzie had monitors numbered 1 through 3, and a board covered with words.  The artists were puzzled, but were really jazzed when they heard what the finale challenge would involve:  create a team of 4 characters to star in a new film franchise, pick the genre of that film from the numbered monitors, and they would also have one minute to grab words that described that genre from the large board.  The team would then have five minutes to create a title for their film using those words.  There was also another surprise-their reveal stage would be at the Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park where a live audience would vote on their favourite team of characters on their own incredibly themed set!

Darla picked Rob, Stephanie, Daniel and Anthony to be on her team and chose monitor #1 that revealed the fantasy genre.  They came up with “The Spirits of Eden”.  The characters were elementals that worked to keep evil out of the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were banished.  Air, or wind, was represented by a faun who also personified a woodwind instrument.  Water was a merman water spirit, Fire would be a beautiful woman with flames around her face, and Earth would be a worm wrapped around a tree.  Coach Laura was not too confident about the worm character.  She thought it wouldn’t be attractive, so she helped Darla hash out a better concept for Earth.  The final design was an Earth goddess with a tree trunk dress and mushrooms incorporated into her body.  Mr. Westmore told her to keep the face soft for the water spirit, bring the mushrooms into the face of the earth spirit, and add some red to the fire spirit’s flames.  Darla was worried about her flame sculpt, but figured it out.  The end result gave me chills!!  I loved her elemental spirits.  The colours were beautiful, and my favourite character was the faun.  She was just beautiful and the chest piece was to die for with all the detail.  Neville thought she nailed the genre with the earth spirit showing a high-resolution detail.  Glenn loved the air element because the horns and chest piece was sculpted to be a wind instrument, and Ve loved the blending of the facial prosthetic pieces.

The Spirits of Eden characters on Team Darla

The Spirits of Eden characters on Team Darla (pictures from Syfy)

 

Logan’s team included Ben, Greg, Julian and Alan.  He got the sci-fi genre from monitor #3 and their movie title was “The Fortress”.  His characters were inspired by Dr. Moreau, creating intelligent lab animal experiments that fought against lab testing.  He created a lizard commanding solider, an armadillo weapons expert, a mechanic skunk and a hammerhead shark assassin.  Coach Rayce liked his concept and wanted him to make sure his team members were on the same page to make all the characters cohesive.  Mr. Westmore advised them on the anatomy of each character, and the only issue Logan had was keeping Greg on track with the fabrication.  He didn’t want to lose time with unnecessary work, telling Greg there was “no time for hot gun, only enough time for tape”.  His characters looked great!  Ve loved the skunk’s subtle paint job and the colours; Glenn loved the shark’s face and biomechanical elements with each character; and Neville thought actors would be inspired to play the characters Logan and his team created.

Team Logan's characters from The Fortress

Team Logan’s characters from The Fortress (pictures from Syfy)

 

Emily chose Jamie, Kelly, Regina and Adam to be on her team.  Monitor #2 revealed the post-apocalyptic genre and the name of the film was “Paradise Reckoning”.  Her concept was a Wizard of Oz journey with mutants, and they are brought together when they find a human baby.  Her characters consisted of  a man who was in a car accident and was now covered in broken glass; a man who was in an explosion and made of wood; a former bomb squad member who was now made of metal, and a female assassin fused with leather.  Mr. Westmore told her to pay attention to her paint job for the wood character and for Adam to add some burn elements to the metal character.  Emily created glass out of a silicone material and made sure it stuck even though it took up a lot of her time.  She was in a bit of a frenzy, but took charge when she needed to.  In the end she didn’t get everything painted as she wanted, but her final looks were really cohesive.  The audience made the Wizard of Oz connection, and the judges loved it.  Ve liked the assassin’s  leather bodice and paint jobs; Neville thought it was ambitious and very creative; and Glenn thought it was an intelligent concept and loved the windshield chest piece she took so much time to perfect.

Team Emily's Paradise Reckoning characters (pictures from Syfy)

Team Emily’s Paradise Reckoning characters
(pictures from Syfy)

 

The audience at Universal had a blast looking at each set of characters, and voted on their favourite.  The judges agreed with their choice, because Darla was the winner of Season 8!  I was ecstatic!  I knew she had the talent, she just had to find it in herself to be confident and do what she does best, which is beautiful, complete makeups!  She wins a V.I.P. trip to one of Kroylan’s 85 international locations, a 2015 Fiat, and $100,000 in cash.  Coach Laura was also a winner, making her a two time champ of the show, which is a Face Off first!  Congrats to Darla, Laura, and all the finalists because they were phenomenal!  See you in July for the next season!

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