Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 13 - Commentary to the DVD of the same name

DVD commentary to "OH, Sing me a twisted tale of murder"

Opening shows a young, teenage couple, making out in the woods. The camera darts around them, hinting at impending doom. Clearly, this is a low-budget slasher film. Or, alternatively, the "film" could consist out of mixed footage of whatever. It doesn't need to fit together or make sense and, in fact, the more disjointed the footage seems, the better it might be.

Sound is muffled because what we are viewing is the DVD COMMENTARY for the movie.

DOUG: Hello. I'm Douglas Cleveland and I am the director of OH, SING ME A TWISTED TALE OF MURDER.

JENNY: And I'm Jennifer Voltaire, and I played HEATHER, one of the lead roles in OH, SING ME A TWISTED TALE OFMURDER.

DOUG: Or, O'SMATTOM, if you prefer...

JENNY: Heh.

DOUG: The crew, after a while, because it's a...

JENNY: It's a really long...

DOUG: ...A really long title.

JENNY: Yes. So, after a while, it was just easier to...

DOUG: Instead of always saying...

JENNY: OH, SING ME A TWISTED TALE OF...

DOUG: Right. We'd just say, O'SMATTOM.

JENNY: O'SMATTOM.

DOUG: It was sort of a...

JENNY: Well, it was an acronym.

DOUG: Yes. Very much so.

JENNY: And so we'd.. we'd just use that. [Beat] Instead of always saying the whole title of the film, every time.

DOUG: Right. That's right.

JENNY: Yeah...

[On screen, the teens are now being hacked to death with a knife. We only see shots of the knife going up and down, up and down, then cuts to the two teens cowering and shrieking, then back up to the knife. Very, very low-budget. Or maybe something completely different. Whichever.]

DOUG: That was actually something we talked about quite a bit, before releasing O'SMATTOM, is that the...

JENNY: The title was so...

DOUG: Long.

JENNY: Long. Yeah.

DOUG: Ultimately, though, we decided to go with it. We, uh, Stewart Langstrom, the writer of O'SMATTOM...

JENNY: A really great...

DOUG: Yes. Yes. He was just...

JENNY: Really super.

DOUG: Really... yeah. Just wonderful to work with.

JENNY: Really a... almost a genius...

DOUG: I remember saying to Stewart, "Stewart, this is a... the title is... "

JENNY: It's a long title...

DOUG: Yeah. It's just.. it's a lot of words for the viewer to remember. You know, you think back to someone like Alfred Hitchcock...

JENNY: A genius...

DOUG: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And most of his titles...

JENNY: Much shorter than...

DOUG: The Birds. Two words. Psycho. One word. Rear Window. Two words. Vertigo. One word. The Man Who Knew Too Much. Uh, five...? Or...?

JENNY: That one's a little bit longer than the others...

DOUG: Yes. But still...

JENNY: But still, the man was a...

DOUG: He was a genius. An absolute... yes.

JENNY: Yeah.

DOUG: So, originally, you know, I said to Stewart...

JENNY: Because it's seven words.

DOUG: Hm?

JENNY: It's seven words. OH, SING ME A TWISTED TALE OF...

DOUG: Oh, right. I thought you meant the, uh, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. I thought you were saying...

JENNY: No, no. That one was... it was really only six words. And one of those is "the." Which I don't even know if you can count that.

DOUG: Right. And he made it much later in his career, too. I mean, that was after he'd already established himself as the Master of Suspense.

JENNY: Right, right. He didn't start off with a six-word title.

DOUG: Heh. No. No way. That was after... after many years...

JENNY: And so many, truly wonderful, movies...

DOUG: Right. Right.

[Long pause as, on the screen, we see an old man in a bright red dress, laughing maniacly, waving a bloody knife in the air, as the camera pulls back very abruptly and the title, OH, SING ME A TWISTED TALE OF MURDER flashes upon the screen.]

DOUG: But, as you can see, we ended up sticking with Stewart's original title. OH, SING ME A TWISTED TALE OF...

JENNY: of MURDER.

DOUG: of MURDER. Yes. [beat] And there it is. You can see it.

[Screen goes completely blank and mood music begins as opening credits are shown. A long sequence of credits, one after another, will soon appear on the black screen. "Mood music" is generic background music for a mystery/suspense film. It remains very muffled.]

DOUG: And -BOOM!- right to the credits!

JENNY: I love that. I love that shift. It's just so...

DOUG: I know. I know. It's just... film, film, film... and BOOM! right to the opening credits. Without missing a...

JENNY: You don't miss a...

DOUG: A single beat.

JENNY: It's so... powerful, that way. The credits actually become a part of...

DOUG: They're a part of the movie. I know. They become a part of this thing that we're creating. This piece. It's very...

JENNY: Well, it's very intense, for one thing. It's very organic.

[As names appear on screen, they will occasionally respond to them.]

DOUG: I know. And that's one thing... for all you future movie-makers out there.. that's one thing you really don't hear too much about is the structure of the opening credits...

JENNY: [in response to one of the names flashing on the screen.] Joel Radford. Absolutely brilliant in this...

DOUG: I actually attended film school for... for several semesters... and I honestly don't remember one professor taking the time to talk about how you structure the opening credits to make them a PART of the film, as opposed to some... distraction...

JENNY: [in response to another name on the screen] Andrew Caskie. We just called him Andy on the set. Just... Andy.

DOUG: Ideally, the credits shouldn't be an interruption. There's no reason... And I think you'll find that's one of the things that today's film-makers...

JENNY: Robert Hugh... another great actor... wonderful to work with... a real professional.

DOUG: There's a real movement toward incorporating the opening credits into the piece that you're creating... and by "incorporating" I don't necessarily mean that it has to be overt...

JENNY: [Now simply reading along with the credits..] Mark Simpson... Chloe Gardner...

DOUG: It can be quite subtle at times. As with what I've done here. I've managed to incorporate the credits into the piece... the background music, the pacing of the credits, even the font that I very specifically chose to blend in with the mood that I'm creating here... a feeling of, anything can happen. Strictly anything.

JENNY: Robin...

DOUG: I think that's something you're going to be seeing a lot more of in the future, too... at least, I certainly hope so...

JENNY: Alexis...

DOUG: She was really great.

JENNY: [waking from her credits-reading trance] Hm?

DOUG: Alexis. She was a real...

JENNY: Oh, yeah. A total professional. From start to finish.

DOUG: Never...

JENNY: Never a word of complaint, either. Just a real... trooper.

[JENNY's name finally comes up]

DOUG: Look! There you are!

JENNY: That's me.

[Long beat as credits continue]

DOUG: Really a... a great bunch of people.

JENNY: Outstanding. Just.. a lot of fun to work with.

[Credits continue]

JENNY and DOUG: [Both reading aloud with the credits] Cathy Finklestein.

[Beat]

JENNY: [Despite her best efforts, her enthusiasm is gradually waning. She's running out of things to say about these people.] She was really... a pleasure to work with.

DOUG: A total pleasure. A real...

JENNY: A real professional.

[The next few credits pass without comment.]

TO BE CONTINUED...
-----------------------------
Next Week: Back to doing weekly reviews and a look at some very cool stuff coming up in June! I hope you all enjoyed my vacation as much as I did!

3 comments:

JK said...

O'SMATTOM is one of my most favorite movies ever, such a great cast.

Paul said...

Yes, and I've heard that they were really great to work with. Real professionals, from start to finish.

I'm pleased to announce, by the way, that there is a second part to this, which was written back when the first part was written, but now I am also working on a third commentary for the millenium edition of O'SMATTOM.

JK said...

Excellent! I hope there will be new insights about the catering of the shoot.