Your movie Legitimate
- in a few words, what is it about?
It's about a group of women who become vigilantes because they are sick
of the abuse of a certain party; in effect, they take revenge on a
specific senator who is the main offender.
"If it's a
legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing
down." - you just have to comment on this quote by Representative Tom Adkins that you've put at
the beginning of your movie!
Todd Akin said some ridiculous things, including the above comment, which
really illustrates why he and his brethren should NOT be in office.
This film is knee-jerk reaction to that.
Other sources of
inspiration when coming up with the concept of Legitimate?
Karin Webb, "The
Dancer" in the film has become my muse. I saw her perform her rope
dance at a local restaurant, oddly enough, the same week that Rep.
Akin made that silly statement on rape. Her rope dance begins with her
being completely tied up and seemingly submissive; she even gives you the
rope to hold while she shimmies around and untangles herself. It's really
mesmerizing to watch, and a perfect metaphor for what a LOT of women I
know are feeling and experiencing these days: certain people and groups
(and our patriarchal society in general) think that women are there to
only serve men. And I know many, many intelligent guys who are also
feminists, which some consider to be a dirty word. In fact, the first time
I was asked --- on camera --- if Legitimate
was a feminist film, I
panicked. But yes, yes it is. Deeply. The thing is, feminism means that
women stand up for themselves. There is "militant feminism,"
which is pretty much a myth, there are independent women, and there is
"third-wave feminism", which simply means that you stand up for
the rights of women, no matter what gender you are. The term doesn't have
to be so politically loaded, but the fact that it is means that we still
have a very long way to go in terms of gaining true equality.
So --- Rep. Akin's
unbelievable and scientifically preposterous statement on what real rape
is, combined with seeing Karin's amazing dance --- kept me awake long past
two a.m. one night, and Legitimate
was born. I had made one film festival
bumper previously for Fantastic Fest, but this perfect storm of both shit
and subversive beauty made me a filmmaker. If we were having a
conversation a year ago, I never would have believed you if you told me
I'd be making films. NEVER! It was something that I'd always believed was
past the scope of my artistic and financial abilities. I simply got pissed
off enough that I made a work of art in reaction to severe and dangerous
making a statement, Legitimate
can also be seen as a horror film - a genre at all dear to you, and why
(not)? And what made you choose exactly this genre to bring your point
absolutely horror. Besides the fact that it's horrific to live in this
society as a woman, I ADORE horror. I'm addicted. Women have to deal with
so much craziness. Our bodies do things that betray us, we bleed a ton
every month and experience pain. The fact that we can grow and pump out
smaller versions of us, to me, is truly Cronenbergian and completely
horrific. Childbirth is terrifying. We die from that. Women in other
countries are mutilated in order to not feel sexual pleasure. It's truly
But on the lighter
side... horror movies are the best movies. Ever since I was little, I was
attracted to being scared and to weird things. I'm very happy to have
discovered that I'm not alone, and that all the people that I know who
love horror (in general), are the sweetest, kindest people I've ever
known. From time to time I write for Rue Morgue and Diabolique magazines
under a different name. I've also been a film festival programmer
specializing in underground, sci-fi, and horror films. Horror is innately part
of who I am. I would hide in the shadows if my parents ever watched a
horror film when I was young. I have a memory of doing that during a
showing of An American Werewolf in London, and I got scared and ran down
the hall. Of course, I came back to see what would happen next. I fell in
love with Vincent Price [Vincent
Price bio - click here] and Edward Gorey at a very early age as well. I
was the little girl in pretty dresses having rock fights and playing with
Legos, army guys, and Transformers with the boys. While I liked Barbies,
none of that other traditional girl crap appealed to me. I really haven't
changed. Happily, I've now found other women like me --- and guys who
just have to talk about your special effects for a bit?
made them in my kitchen. I have an artistic background; I've always been a
painter, and have done two sculptures, but not lately. The film was really
a chance to put my skills to work and learn some new ones. I made an
armature wire skeleton for the pig puppet, then put clay over that and
sculpted its features. From there, I applied several latex paint layers
and painted the thing with several colors of acrylic paint. You don't see
too much of it in the film, but I sometimes like it when you see less of a
monster on film. It can be even scarier than seeing everything.
skin that the puppet pops through is also several layers of colored latex
paint, coated with different shades of red acrylic paint. The sutures I
glued on with black twine.
can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?
You know why I
cast Karin, at least on the surface. But she also has an amazing presence
that I've rarely seen in this region. I've seen her perform for years in
different shows; both theatre and burlesque. (If you're ever in Boston in
December, you HAVE to see The Slutcracker --- it's a burlesque version of
The Nutcracker that is very funny and has very high production values,
like a real play. Nearly every show sells out, and people actually fly
across the country to come see it every year. She's usually in that.)
is an interesting character. He's been a theater director for thirty
years, but in the last decade, has popped up in a lot of genre films,
mainly shot in New England and New York. He's a very old school thespian
and is fun to be around. I first saw him in Richard Griffin's Murder
Griffin interview - click here], and he captured my attention because his performance reminded
me so much of Tom Atkins' character in Night
of the Creeps, which I love
--- both the detective character and the film. When I asked Michael if he
would be in Legitimate, he asked me where I'd seen him, and I described
the story above --- he told me he'd based his performance in Murder
University off of the Atkins detective in Night
of the Creeps! It was so
weird, I thought he was lying, but now I know that he wasn't. Insane,
like Karin, is also a long-time artist and performer here in Boston. I've
also seen her in a number of performances and knew she could pull off The
Madam. She also co-own's Torrent Engine 18, an 1868 firehouse in
Dorchester, MA that she's restoring. That is where I shot the second scene
with The Senator waking up. There was no heat --- it was
around 19 degrees when we shot it in January, and after we wiped the fake
blood off of Michael with baby wipes --- there was also no running water
--- I warmed him up with my hair dryer. DIY!
I cast myself
as the Masked Woman, because I have a bit of experience, was readily
available, and am a total weirdo when I want to be.
talk about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere for a bit?
but quick and no nonsense. When you're dealing with actors who need to
perform with no heat in winter, or who drive an hour and a half for a
midnight call time, you need to remember that they're human beings. Having
been an actress in the past and getting into it again, however little, I
care very much about my cast and crew. When I first met with Karin to
describe call times, set-ups, locations, etc., I told her that she would
be fed good quality food, not pizza, and asked if she had allergies or
other needs. She smiled and said, "You can always tell who's been an
actor if they promise to feed and take care of you."
harder than it looks. There's so much mental, spiritual, and physical
energy that gets burned through quickly; it can be exhausting. While pizza
is awesome, it's just as easy to go to Trader Joe's and stock up on
healthy, individual salads, nut and berry mixes, coffee, tea, water, and
energy bars. That's a free tip, filmmakers. Your cast will love you. Take
good care of them and they'll jump to work with you again.
$64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto the
is in the film festival
submission and acceptance phase right now, so for that reason alone, I
cannot release it. However, once its run is down, which should be the
middle of November, I'll put it online.
You recently also worked on Skip Shea's
Maria, right [Skip Shea
interview - click here]? So what can you tell us about working on that one,
and how did you get involved in the first place?
I did. Skip and
I are two filmmakers living in New England making horror. We are two of
four main subjects being followed by Wicked Bird Media (an all-female,
Boston-based production company) in the documentary Something Wicked
This Way Comes, which is in production now. Actor Kip Weeks is also being
profiled and followed as he gets back into horror and goes to conventions;
he's best known as having starred as the masked man "Baghead",
which is an unofficial name, in The Strangers with Liv Tyler.
Shea! Skip is awesome. He's this dude living in the woods making horror
films which have a tone similar to mine, specifically in terms of
vigilantism and righting social injustices. Skip and Kip decided to meet,
so I was like, "Hey!" I set out to meet Skip, and eventually
I'll meet Kip, too, probably when we all go to Rock 'n' Shock in October,
in Worcester, MA. Anyway, I asked Skip if I could shadow him as a
director, since I'm a novice. We started talking online. That led to me
volunteering for a part in one film, then he asked me to act in Ave
I gave feedback on the script and characters, and also became a producer.
It was a great set. We were all of one mind, "wise women" of the
woods who see these awful men of the cloth acting in ways that are rather
ungodly, and decide to do something about it in a pretty gruesome manner.
Having had experience killing another older white male onscreen recently,
I was perfect for the role!
I believe the
last person being chronicled in Something Wicked This Way Comes is actor Derek Mears,
who was recently
you get into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
No formal training whatsoever. I
got pissed off, decided to create something. I've been a film festival
programmer for the Boston Underground Film Festival and the Boston Science
Fiction Festival, as well as the marketing director of the Viscera
Organization, which puts on the Viscera, Etheria, and Full Throttle
festivals throughout the year in different cities. More so, I've seen
thousands of films; that's been my school. Having been a painter and
illustrator, I can see the way that scenes should play in my head. For
everything else, I lean on skilled individuals -- DPs like Bryan McKay and
Nolan Yee for fantastic shooting. I like to collaborate. Nobody is going
to want to work with you if you're a selfish asshole.
Any past films of yours you'd
like to talk about, any future projects you'd like to share?
shot some very silly film festival bumpers. The first was for Fantastic
Fest last year, and it played on opening night with American
was Christmas, hearing that. I did one for BUFF, just shot and played
Brattle Theatre's annual trailer competition, Trailer Treats, and am
planning on shooting a festival teaser for Celluloid Screams, which
incidentally, will be judged by the Soskas [Soska
Twins interview - click here].
As for real films, I do have a
few brewing: Picket will be straight, serious horror, and is a reaction to
a certain hate group that likes to spout bullshit and announce their
intentions to picket funerals of the children victims of the Newtown, CT
massacre, and the Boston Marathon bombings, among others. They are
despicable. Something More Comfortable, written by Mike Snoonian, was just born, script-wise, a few
days ago. It's a creepy clown short, which is all I'll say. There's also a
comedy short I've written called Gaypocalypse. I plan on helping out with
Skip's feature, to which Lynn Lowry is attached, hopefully this fall. And
in the distant future, I plan on co-directing a neo-giallo feature with my
friend and fellow female horror director, the wonderful Maude Michaud.
How would you
describe yourself as a director?
Caring. Fun. No nonsense and efficient. Cut, shoot, print!
Filmmakers who inspire
So many! Both David and Jennifer Lynch. Cronenberg.
DePalma. Friedkin's done some awesome things lately. The Soskas [Soska
Twins interview - click here]. And
Robert Rodriguez always looks like he's having a total blast. He's a very
"power to the people"-type of filmmaker, which is of course,
empowering. Karen Lam is someone who's name isn't known yet, but should
and will be. She's awesome. Katheryn Bigelow is very inspiring, as well.
Mario Bava [Mario Bava bio -
click here]. And Guillermo del Toro!
Your favourite movies?
many. In addition to the ones I've already mentioned, I adore The
Evil Dead 2, and American Psycho. Pet Semetary is terrifying, as is
The Shining. While Francis Ford Coppola's
Dracula has some real issues, I
can't help but absolutely love it. It's so beautiful and lush, as are
Argento's older films and Bava's movies. Anything starring Vincent Price [Vincent
Price bio - click here] or Peter Cushing. I love old Hammer and
AIP films dearly.
And John Carpenter's The Thing is a perfect film. I love it so
... and of
course, films you really deplore?
I had a hard time with
The Woman. While I'm not sure I "deplore" it, I was so pissed
off leaving the theater, so Lucky did his job! In fact, it was a screening
with the director, producer, and some of the actors present, including the
boy, who exited the theater right next to me. I ran to get away from him!
What is more upsetting is Michael Bay's bullshit remakes and the Asylum-ripoffs. Those have absolutely no soul and are there just for the cash
grab. You want real deplorable? Try the 1998 production of Godzilla
a fucking travesty. Or also from '98, the Psycho remake. Every Michael Bay
Transformers-film. Shamalamadingdong's The Happening He had such amazing
promise, too. Christ, those films are terrible.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
and of course www.nihilnoctem.com,
which is currently under construction.
Anything else you are
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
world premiere will be on Friday, August 16, at the Brattle Theatre, in
Cambridge, MA, as part of the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival! The
next night, its Candadian premiere will be hosted at Mascara & Popcorn
in Montreal. Because I'm insane, I'm attending both. There's also
something very exciting happening in Montreal again, in September, which I
cannot announce yet. The film is in consideration for Fantastic Fest,
which I'm attending whether or not it plays, and several other festivals
which are still in the deliberation and programming stage. Stay tuned to
my pages for details, and thanks for reading!
for the interview!