Throwaway, Horror Cinema's Scariest New Short
The Directors on Inhumanity, Bums, and Fake Blood
Still bubbling under the mainstream surface, Throwaway has already been nominated for several respected awards at both the Eerie Horror and Dark Carnival film festivals, and even reviewed by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk. If all goes as predicted for these fledgling directors than you can expect Throwaway to be a future horror-film classic.
Just in time for Halloween, psychoPEDIA met the bastards responsible for this fright fest:
Everyone in LA wants to be a director and you guys are no exception, right?
DW: This is definitely an “LA film.” It was fun to incorporate the elements that make a film feel like Los Angeles; the skyline at sunrise, traffic on the 405, and of course, that little known and little shown back culture of alleyways behind apartment complexes. We felt it an enriching tapestry over which to weave our little tale of dread.
Throwaway is the first thing you have done, but should it prepare audiences for more of the same?
BJF: We both have a special place in our hearts for horror so, yup, we wanted our first film to be a horror movie but in a non-traditional way.
DW: Movies like Don't Look Now and Audition, where you almost don't realize you're watching a horror film until the final act. We are also big fans of Michael Haneke, Brad Anderson, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, as well as a lot of directors from the ‘70s like Tobe Hooper.
Where did you film it, and were there any bits you wrote that didn’t work?
DW: We shot it all in our apartment and the back alley by our house. The biggest change was that originally the main part was for a man, but we switched that pretty early on. We liked the idea of toying with expectations, but it didn’t work.
BJF: We did dodge one bullet by going door to door to warn the neighbours of how much screaming there was going to be on set.
What sparked the idea for the film? It seems like a moral story, on behalf of hobos, only with an utterly screwed-up come-uppance.
BJF: A story in the news a couple years ago in New York City. A young couple were attacked and killed coming out of a bar one night. One of the teenage girls from the group of attackers admitted that it was the young woman’s smile that enraged her. She felt it was unfair for someone to be so happy and content. That's truly frightening. Someone's happiness bringing about someone else's inhumanity and leading to murder is just insane. The bum is a representation of inhumanity, not because of his homelessness, but that he is a 'thing' – a monster scavenging what he needs off others. We played with the idea that although you should be human to every other human you meet, even if you are disturbed by their behavior, it doesn't mean they aren't inhuman in some profound way. The compassion you knowingly or unknowingly extend towards humankind can be ambiguously received; no black and white about it.
Who are your stars?
BJF: Gill Gayle is our bum. He's wonderful. We first noticed him in Paper Dolls, and he turned out to be hiding in plain sight in one of our favorite TV shows, "Deadwood." Dennis met the directors of Paper Dolls at the Eerie Horror Film Festival in October 2007 and they put us in touch with Andra Carlson who really got what we were going for, so we cast her in the lead role of Abby. We were impressed. I'm not sure I could stomach being covered in fake blood, sealed into a sleeping bag, and then having the filmmakers tip the garbage men so they'd allow you to be thrown into the back of a truck.
What did you guys do before your foray into directing?
BJF: Touchy subject. There's a lot of folks unemployed these days, isn't there? Dennis?
DW: Ha. I run Chuck Palahniuk's website. It started as a hobby in 1999 that soon turned to an obsession that soon turned into an unofficial day job. There's not much of an income but it provides me enough to do the starving artist thing.
Palahniuk’s books make amazing films. Have any of his ideas trickled into yours?
DW: Chuck's work isn't specifically an influence for either of us, but we certainly identify with aspects of minimalism and human absurdity.
Anything else planned from Parallactic Pictures?
DW: We want something bigger that explores the themes of horror in a different way for our next film. It will mirror two boys, one 18 and one 10, both of whom trigger a series of events with tragic consequences. It's a coming-of-age story.