Your new movie The
Dark Days of Demetrius - in a few words, what is it about?
Dark Days of Demetrius is my latest cinematic masterpiece that follows the
exploits of Demetrius, a narcissistic serial killer who is dubbed by the
press as “The Live Stream Killer”, due to the fact that he live
streams the murders of his victims on social media. Demetrius is able to
evade authorities while his live stream videos become a viral sensation,
earning him stardom. However, conflict arises when Demetrius crosses paths
with Clive, a corrupt news reporter, cultivating in a disturbing, cinematic
descent into evil, violence, death, depravity and narcissism.
I wrote about your movie it's a "social commentary on the
sensationalism of today's (social) media with the consequential corrosion
of morals" - would you agree to that, and your personal thoughts on
Yes I do agree with that statement. The
Dark Days of Demetrius can be
viewed as a commentary of the consequences of sensationalism that is
prevalent in today’s news media. Sensational news stories always have,
and always will get more attention, which is why the media is eager to
exploit violence and/or tragedies just as Clive the news reporter does in
Your sources of inspiration when writing The
Dark Days of Demetrius?
were a variety inspirations and reasons I had for making The
Dark Days of Demetrius,
and it all started right after the release of my previous film, American
Antichrist (in late 2018), when I began writing the script for what would
Dark Days of Demetrius. My previous film, American
Antichrist had a very abstract, almost nonscenical storyline -
and since I attempt to
do something a little different with each of my films, I decided that I
wanted to create a film with a straightforward, clever, coherent, well-conceived storyline, that would be a departure from the non-linear
storyline that I had perfected with American
themes that The
Dark Days of Demetrius deals with are primarily evil,
violence, narcissism, and the corruption of the news media. However,
another important element that I was trying to explore within the
storyline of The
Dark Days of Demetrius is the idea that even a serial
killer can become an internet star/sensation - like Demetrius does in the
film - by live streaming the murders of his victims online.
You also play the title
character in The
Dark Days of Demetrius - so what did you draw upon to bring him to
life, and did you write him with yourself in mind from the get-go?
I did write the main character Demetrius with myself in mind to play the
role. Since the demise of my collaboration with Darien Fox, the lead actor
in The Rise and Fall of an American
Scumbag & American
have had no other choice but start being the star of my own films.
Fortunately, I have consistently acted in all of my past films, playing
major roles, so I definitely have acting experience, and having already
played the lead role in my previous film American
Antichrist, I felt
extremely comfortable taking on the role of Demetrius, the character that
is essentially the driving force of this film.
To efficiently portray such a vile, narcissistic, and evil character, I had to
bring out the worst aspects of myself.
also wanted to approach playing Demetrius differently because I wanted the
character to come off as human, as opposed to a shallow embodiment of evil
or nihilism. Not to say that Demetrius isn’t evil or nihilistic, because
he certainly is, but to me Demetrius is a very human character that posses
human traits in the sense that he is narcissistic, extremely self
centered, and ambitious. He was also abused as a child, which helps
justify why he grew up to become such a fucked up individual. These
elements of Demetrius are why I feel he is more human than some of the
other characters that have inhabited my past films that embodied nihilism,
evil or Satan.
conclusion, I believe that I did manage to effectively bring Demetrius to
life, as the feedback I have received has been extremely positive, with
some even going as far as saying that my performance in The
Dark Days of Demetrius is my “best yet”, which validates my confidence.
talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
there is Fred Epstein, who plays the role of the corrupt and depraved news
reporter Clive. Fred Epstein was best known for playing Chester, the drug
kingpin in my second film American
Scumbags. Prior to working with him
again on The
Dark Days of Demetrius, the last time I saw him in person was
back in spring 2017, when he made a small appearance in The Acid
After that, I did not speak to him until March 2019, when I offered
him the role of Clive, because he was the only potential actor I knew who
I could imagine playing the role. It
was kind of bizarre for me to work with someone from my earlier films
(mainly because it made me think of my approach to filmmaking when I made American
Scumbags, and how much I’ve changed as a filmmaker since then),
but regardless, Fred efficiently portrayed Clive just as I instructed him
to, and did an excellent job of bringing my vision of the character to the
screen. I must also give Fred credit for being such a brave actor who was
not fazed by the film’s more “extreme” content , and for not being
afraid to embody such a vile character. An
interesting occurrence that happened during the making of the film is that
while I was filming Clive’s scenes with Fred, he told me that my
approach to filmmaking had changed so much from when he worked with me on American
Scumbags, that it felt as if I was a different filmmaker. I think
that was very interesting to hear, and I can see why he thought that, due
to the fact that I am now a lot more obsessive and put a heavy emphasis on
lighting and atmosphere, which is a drastically different approach
compared to what I was doing during what I refer to as my “anti-film”
period, when I made My Master Satan: 3 Tales of Drug Fueled Violence and
is S. Donatello (who also worked with me on the visual effects
on this film) who plays a role in the film as Baphomet, a masked
serial killer who is a copycat of Demetrius, trying to attain stardom. I
must also thank S. Donatello for being such a fearless actor who was left
unfazed when confronted with some of the more “extreme” scenes
required for the character, because some of the scenes involving the
character Baphomet really do push the envelope.
And finally, there is Lilith Frost, who I met later on towards the end of the
making of the film. I was in need of an actress to play Bunny, a
prostitute who is victimized and murdered by Demetrius. I met Lilith Frost
online, after she had seen my previous film American
wanted to play a role in The
Dark Days of Demetrius. I feel very fortunate
to have had such a very fearless cast of actors and actresses who were not
deterred by any of the extreme scenes of this film, enabling me to
effectively bring my vision of this movie to life.
Demetrius is a pretty vile creature - so to what extent could you identify
with him and his actions? Or with Clive or Baphomet for that matter?
is a monster, but at the same time he is very human, and as I stated
previously, he is one of my “most human” characters, therefore I am
easily able to identify with his human traits such as his narcissism, his
ambition, and ego. I think anyone can identify with any of the characters
in the film if they are capable of setting aside their morals (as said in
the film). Additionally, Demetrius doesn’t perceive himself to be a vile
human being or at all fucked up - he has a perception of himself as an
“artist” or “godlike being, with the ability to control life
itself”, which makes him slightly more unsettling. That being said,
those close to me who have seen The
Dark Days of Demetrius are very
repulsed by the vileness of Demetrius - there is something about Demetrius
that really sickens some viewers. I think that maybe it is due to the fact
that the viewer not only gets to witnesses Demetrius commit violent
murders, but also gets to effectively explore his psyche, revealing that
Demetrius IS inexorably evil. Additionally, some people close to me who have seen The
Dark Days of Demetrius have even
went as far as saying that Demetrius is my “most vile film character
yet”, which I think says a lot, considering all of the lecherous
characters that dwell within my films.
from Demetrius, there is Clive, the corrupt news reporter, and it is easy
to identify with him - or at least understand his motivations. He is
essentially a narcissist (similar to Demetrius) who is trying to remain
relevant in the extremely competitive news industry, but because Clive is
able to create his own “news stories” by fabricating the carnage he
reports about, he has an edge over his competition. Finally there is
Baphomet, who is essentially a faceless “copy cat killer” of
Demetrius, with ambitions of attaining stardom and recognition, but due to
his mental instability, he doesn’t last long.
can you tell us about The
Dark Days of Demetrius' approach to horror?
of my ambitions with The
Dark Days of Demetrius was to create a film that
was far more viscerally violent than any of my past films. People have
often considered The Acid
Sorcerer, or The Rise and Fall of an American
Scumbag as my most violent/disturbing films - but The
Dark Days of Demetrius goes beyond the boundaries of the disturbing violence featured in those
aforementioned movies. People that are close to me (and/or friends of
mine) that have seen The
Dark Days of Demetrius have made remarks to me
that the film is “vile”, and “violent and very disturbing”,
which to me is an indication that I accomplished everything I initially
set out to do when I decided to make this film.
found a large amount of inspiration for the character Demetrius by reading
serial killer interviews - which also were extremely significant in
inspiring the powerful and chilling scene in The
Dark Days of Demetrius,
when Clive interviews Demetrius, who shares his philosophies, and his
perception of himself as a god like being/artist-with Demetrius admitting
that he perceives the live stream murders he commits as works of
cinematic inspirations for The
Dark Days of Demetrius were Man Bites
Dog as well as the film Nightcrawler, which was somewhat
inspirational to me when it came to creating the character Clive.
I also have a tendency to draw inspiration from older black and white
horror films that rely heavily on atmosphere, because as a filmmaker, I
find that it is my natural default to try to imbue my films with
few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
directorial approach was very artistic and obsessive. I put a lot of
effort into the camera work, utilizing lots of close up shots, POV angles
and pans to make the film’s camera work really stand out.
was also very faithful to the script that I had written for the film -
was no improvising with dialogue whatsoever, and I feel that the film is
stronger as a result of that. I also attempted to make the film as
artistic and bizarre as possible by sometimes altering voices, using
strange sound effects, and essentially utilizing whatever effects I had to
make this film as unique as possible.
the film having a straightforward storyline, I still employed scenes of
symbolism, such as Demetrius’ surreal dream scenes where he envisions
himself as a suffering God, or the scene of him rejoicing in his own pain
also wanted the cinematography of The
Dark Days of Demetrius to have more
of a grainy/lo-fi look. The film was shot with the same 4K camera that I
used for American
Antichrist, but the difference was that I implemented a
strange monochromatic blue (and occasionally red) color filter, and
degraded the footage. I think that this move worked in the film’s favor,
as the grainy, strange cinematography makes the film even more bizarre,
giving it a very nasty, gritty, serial killer-esque kind of vibe.
finally, the film’s soundtrack comes from the advant garde death metal
band Emperor Ov Larvae. The music from Emperor Ov Larvae meshes incredibly
well with the film and its scenes. I believe that the soundtrack for The
Dark Days of Demetrius is one of, if not the most-heaviest film soundtrack
what I know, it took 9 months to shoot The
Dark Days of Demetrius and was by far the longest shoot you ever
did? To ask quite bluntly, why?
Dark Days of Demetrius was indeed the longest shoot I’ve ever done,
and it does seem slightly surreal that the film is now finished and
finally being released for the general public to see. Making this film was
a long process, that initially began in late 2018 after the release of my
previous film American
Antichrist. After the IndieGoGo campaign ended for American
Antichrist, the film began to receive a lot of notoriety as a
result of it being extensively featured on the Kings of Horror YouTube
channel as well as being streamed on Amazon Prime. The film has so far
received fifty thousand views, making it my most viewed film. However, as
a result of American
Antichrist receiving so much recognition, it did
receive a fair amount of hate. For this reason, I kept a very low profile
for most of 2019, as I slowly, and secretly filmed The
Dark Days of Demetrius.
am very busy with my life outside of filmmaking as well, which is also a
large contributing factor as to why The
Dark Days of Demetrius took so
long to make. But in regards to the making of the film, The
Dark Days of Demetrius was
filmed very sporadically, and the first scenes I shot for the film were
the scenes involving the character Baphomet, which were filmed from
December 2018 to January 2019. Then in March, I reinitiated contact with
Fred Epstein, offering him the role of Clive, and after he accepted, we
immediately began filming. The scenes involving Clive were filmed
throughout March-May, and finally, I shot the scenes of my character,
Demetrius between the months of May and August.
conclusion this film took nine months to make. The only film I have ever
made that took remotely as long to make was The Rise and Fall of an
American Scumbag, which took six months to complete, but that was only due
to internal conflicts and issues with casting. With The
Dark Days of Demetrius, however, I just did not feel it was necessary or justifiable
for me to rush the film’s production, and this decision turned out to be
beneficial for me, as taking my time allowed me to experiment more with
the color correcting process, and to extensively tamper with the footage
and sound design.
Do talk about the shoot
as such, and the on-set atmosphere!
the fact that I made the movie mostly by myself with the help of a
relatively small cast, the on-set atmosphere was chaotic and sometimes
miserable, and I suppose it was my fault. I was very obsessive during
filming and in the process, I deprived myself significantly during the
making of this film. I was so obsessive during the shooting of this film
that I would usually be up all night filming, editing, and color
correcting footage, not getting any sleeping at all. As a result, I became
extremely hostile and irritable during the making of this film - which is
why I believe that The
Dark Days of Demetrius has such a dark, hostile,
obsessive, serial killer vibe going on. The cast and I also enjoyed
indulging in Absinthe - which Demetrius and Clive can be seen drinking in
some scenes of the film.
The $64-question of
course, where can your movie be seen?
are currently having an IndieGoGo presale for the film, and with each
passing day, we are getting closer to our $5000 goal, so I would like to
thank everyone who has contributed to our campaign so far. After the IndieGoGo campaign is finished, the film will be streamed on The Kings of
Horror YouTube channel as well as Amazon Prime, so as many people as
possible will be able to see the film.
Anything you can
tell us about audience and critical reception of The
Dark Days of Demetrius yet?
far, the audience reception has been very positive, with people praising
the film for being a disturbing and vile cinematic experience while also
being a social commentary on the news media and sensationalism. Viewers
have also said that I managed to make a movie that is very different from
the rest of my films, and that to me is rewarding to hear, because with
each passing film, I try to explore a new facet of my filmmaking style,
and I feel that I did in fact do something different with The
Dark Days of Demetrius.
Any future projects
you'd like to share?
am going to be taking a six month break from filmmaking following the
IndieGoGo campaign/promotion cycle for The
Dark Days of Demetrius, but I
do actually have a script written for my seventh full length feature film.
However, the film is in its infant stages, and I have not even have
name yet for it, and I am uncertain how I will approach the film from a
directorial standpoint - but I can say with certainty that my next film is
going to be very supernatural, bizarre, disturbing, vile and absolutely
devoid of any light. I also believe that my seventh film will be a
departure from anything I’ve done in the past. I hope to begin
production on it next summer and have the film released around Halloween
Your/your movie's website,
Facebook, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
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official Dakota Ray-R.A.
Productions WordPress can be found @ https://dakotarayfilmmaker.wordpress.com
extensively covers my films, and features a large photo gallery that spans
my entire filmography/career. The WordPress site also contains several
interviews I’ve done through the years as well.
Productions Facebook page:
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
would like to say thank you for constantly covering our films, and for
this interview. I’d also like for thank everyone that continues to
support and watch our films!