Your movie Wound - in a
few words, what is it about?
is a woman’s
pictorial descent into madness seen as a series of events or mental shards
from Susan’s tragic life as she fights a loosing battle for her sanity.
Wound is your return to
feature filmmaking after making documentaries for almost a decade, right? Why,
and how did the project come into being?
After directing a feature film thriller starring Ron
Silver, called Exposure, in 2000, I became disenchanted with the traditional
35 mm large crew, large budget scenario and wanted to explore the new
“Digital Revolution” in filmmaking that was sweeping the world in terms of
cameras, editing, and sound design. I soon realized that costs could be kept
to a minimum and thus more personal control of the “vision” was possible.
I started off making a documentary on my own Grandfather who was a Veteran of
WW1 called Our Oldest Soldier, with a 2 man crew and I found this
liberating. This led me to make documentaries on topics such as Dominatrix
and their clients in Bound for Pleasure, and males who wear masks and
costumes to display themselves on the Internet, in Transfigured Nights.
The depiction of Susan's sexlife in Wound
seems somehow reminiscent of two of your documentaries, Bound for
Pleasure and Transfigured Nights. Was that at all a conscious
Both Transfigured Nights and Bound for
Pleasure were selected for a number of International Horror Festivals
including Fantasia, Montreal
Canada, Fantaspoa, Porto Alegre,
Brazil, and Lausanne Underground Film Festival, Lausanne,
Switzerland. I attended these festivals and watching the
films there made me realize it was time to return to dramatic feature film
making utilizing the lessons learnt from my digital documentary
The sexual side of Wound
was indeed influenced by
the two documentaries in their exploration of taboo, and the unconscious
mind, manifesting in a mythological way.
Other sources of inspiration for Wound?
have always been interested in the “Cinema of the Unconscious”, so
directors such as David Lynch, Ken Russell, Alejandro Jodorowski,
Frederico Fellini , and Jean Cocteau have all enthralled and intrigued me.
structure, Wound seems to
defy narrative conventions as it very deliberately blurs the line between
reality and fantasy. Would you like to elaborate on your approach to Wound's
has a pictorial
symbolic narrative rather than a traditional “Hollywood Narrative”,
would be my answer. Others would describe it as “experimental”! Wound
is very carefully constructed and intertwined with a dualistic logic
on a mythological scale. Wound
has been constructed to be a visual assault
on your consciousness that pushes you to confront your own taboos and
doesn't exactly shy away from excessive violence and the bizarre -
what can you tell us about these aspects of your film, and was there ever
a line you refused to cross?
are certain sequences that are designed to break through an audience's
protective armor in a psychological way. This was not just random violence
for its own sake but rather a conscious attempt to go beyond entertainment
to enter the heart of madness.
A few words about your
leading ladies Kate O'Rourke and Te Kaea Beri, how did you get them, and
how did they react upon first reading your script?
Te Kaea Beri
O’Rourke and Te Kaea Beri do a fantastic job in Wound, they both
contributed so much to the film. I meet Te Kaea while working at an
Auckland Film school and was impressed by her natural focus. Te Kaea introduced me to Kate
O’Rourke as they both studied an acting method, Meisner. Right from
meeting Kate I knew she was perfect for the role of Susan. Kate has a
quiet intensity that is focused and conscious - Wound
had come alive.
Kate’s fearless performance is the physical-emotional presence that
holds the film together.
can you tell us about the rest of your cast and crew, and about the on-set
Master John played by Campbell Cooley was another
incredible performance, getting the sinister subtlety and mythological
overlap into the character.
Mistress Ruth was played by Sandy Lowe, a real life
Dominatrix from the documentary Bound for Pleasure.
The house used in the film was owned by a Bi Polar
character who was in the middle of an episode and he would pop up at
inopportune times and do a juggling act with two small hatchets, just to
remind us of the realities of real madness, and that the house also reeked
of madness and obsession.
As far as I know, reactions to Wound
ranged from utter praise to controversy. What can you tell us about
critical and audience reception of your film?
Throughout my film career I have always received
“mixed reviews” and have gotten used to the wild divergence from
genius/masterpiece to worst film ever. Mind you, giving Ed Wood a run for
his money (Plan 9 from Outer Space) does amuse
me [Ed Wood bio - click here].
Here is what the late great film maker Ken Russell
says about Wound:
“A two-headed doll! Iron-phallused Pig-man
stealth! Birthing your own twin! The nightclub of dream-wandering! If your
family of origin doesn’t kill you, you may just make it. You will love
Kate O’Rourke as she encounters her delirious, incestuous monsters of
the id in this romantically charged Gothic psycho-sexual horror tale by my
fellow enfant terrible David Blyth. Gorgeous images and repulsive
dream-surgery into the recesses of female consciousness. Enter at your own
peril! A masterpiece! “
back to the very beginnings of your career for a bit: What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
I was at
doing an Arts Degree and was able to do a Film Appreciation course that
completely opened my eyes to the potential of cinema not so much for
commerce but the ability to tell stories in powerful and emotional ways
exploring human consciousness.
Spanish director Luis Bunuel was inspirational to me
in terms of style and approach and his films were the cradle of my film
making sensibility .
I made my first feature film, Angel Mine in
1978. It was a surreal experimental style film and in some ways Wound
can be considered a bookend to this film 32 years later.
Your directorial debut was the surreal Circadian
Rhythms - what can you tell us about that one, and do you see any
parallels to Wound?
film is shot on Black and White 16mm film stock and is 14 minutes long.
The film is influenced by the German expressionist film The Cabinet of
Dr Caligari, and Bunuel’s/Dali’s Un Chien Andalou. Circadian
Rhythms introduces the actor Derek Ward, who went on to play the lead in
my first feature film, Angel Mine. Derek also appears in the final
railway carriage scene in Wound, when Susan searches for Tanya.
Circadian Rhythms is one of the extras on the
USA-DVD release of Wound.
film Death Warmed Up is billed as "New Zealand's first horror
film" - you just have to talk about that one for a bit, and is horror
a genre especially dear to you, and why (not)?
Up has been described as not being released but escaping onto the
screen. It’s a mixture of gore, horror and social satire of Institutions
such as the medical profession. The film did not go down that well with
local critics, who questioned why tax payers money through the NZ Film
Commission could fund such a film.
The film was far
more successful internationally in the 80s even being considered one of
the “video nasties” of English censorship fame. The irony of this film
is that the original negative for the film has been lost and a worldwide
search is underway to try and find an intact print. The copies available
on Amazon are actually bootleg and heavily cut.
questions for the fanboys among my readers, if you don't mind:
number one: You directed Al Lewis in My Grandpa is a Vampire. What
was it like working with him, and what can you tell us about the resulting
Working with Al
Lewis was a great experience for me and of course I was such a fan of
TV’s The Munsters as a kid. Al’s performance career stretched
right back to Ma and Pa Kettle and of course in his later years he had the
New York restaurant Grandpa's. Al’s
performance bought a magic to the film that would hard to duplicate.
The film started
out life as Moonrise, then it became for
New Zealand Grampire and for
USA My Grandpa is a Vampire. Currently unavailable in most places
worldwide on DVD, the film is a delightfully sweet children’s vampire
movie with an emotional ending and I look forward in hope to its eventual
Fanboy-question number two: What can you tell us
about your work on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers?
was living in
at the time and I was asked to direct a block of 4 episodes of the newly
created show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which had evolved
from Japanese television series called Galaxy Rangers. I believe from
memory I did episodes 7, 9 , 11 and 14, including the introduction of the
A few words about
your short Damn Laser Vampires with the Brazilian band of the same
In 2009 I attended the Fantaspoa Film Festival in Porto Alegre,
Brazil, with 4 of my films, Angel Mine, Death Warmed Up, Bound
for Pleasure and Transfigured Nights. While in
I did some workshops and agreed to shoot a music video with local band
Damn Laser Vampires. Upon hearing their music I was an immediate fan and
we set out with two cameras and two lights and a bunch of festival staff
to shoot the clip over several nights. It was a huge amount of fun and I
think this comes over in the film, which is one of the extras on the Wound DVD, USA release.
A final extra on the Wound DVD is the music
video of the end titles song from Wound called “Knott Nine”
written by Mary Takacs and sung by the talented Rosie Riggir, shot by
Any other films of yours you'd like to talk about,
any future projects?
I am working on a number of dark horror scripts, so stay tuned for the
next installment from me.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you are dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Wound DVD release, USA, March 13 2012,
Vicious Circle Films/Breaking Glass Pictures.
For VOD and Itunes release aka Beware the Beast: Wound.
And don’t forget all the cool extras.
Thanks for the interview!