Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Confession

Last year on May 11th 2016, on my 30th birthday, I had a violent hallucinogenic psychotic delusional breakdown that landed me in a hospital for 4 days where I thought I was dying. Since emerging out of that I made the decision to move back to my hometown of Mobile, Alabama and try to live a quieter life for myself and be surrounded by some different people I love that I’ve not been able to spend the same kind of quality time with as I had people from California. 

9 1/2 years is indeed a long time to be gone from a place you’ve called home most of your life but it’s not a place I honestly ever wanted to move back too. 

Several weeks ago I thought that there’s a very good possibility if a new job I’m looking at comes through that I could turn down a job on a major movie in town with one of my all time favorite actors and that has recently come to pass. That decision to actually turn down work just a few weeks ago I probably would have killed for has its own level of pain to it. (Although there is still a chance I may work on it during my off days.) Lower Alabama if you don’t know does have a moderate enough film market to limp by on production work provided you subsidize other work at the correct time. Case in point, probably more than LA, lower Alabama is a grind but it’s a beautiful place to grind away. 

For that stability and a little bit of piece at a day to day job I’d turn down the chance to do what I love to do and what for the longest I can remember have always wanted to do and have been doing for about 17 years. However this job currently gives me enough downtime to write and read and I desperately need to work on projects for myself rather than working to help make someone else’s dreams come true. I’ve done far too much of that in my career. 

It feels weird being in my skin lately. The manic obsessive wild Daniel seems to still be tucked away inside my head, resting and sleeping, but re-polishing and refocusing for almost a year has been both a blessing and a curse. It’s strange to be in a mindset where you cannot recognize yourself as the man you were a few short months ago. Trauma I suppose like all great transformative forces in life will do that to you.  

I used to be deeply religious, a regular ole Bible thumber. I used to have severe asthma. I used to be a man who never could have imagined the things I’ve done and seen now; parties full of drugs, sex, and nudity *(ooohhhlalala I know) I guess really all that comes with being imbedded in the LA world, well the world in general if you know where to look. Skydiving on a whim with a perfect stranger. Sleeping in a piece of art. Running my fingers across a Degas when no one was looking. There are things I won't elaborate on here. Jumping off a rooftop into a pool and the classic drunken wild mania of an unhinged LA personality, shaking hands, and asses trying to get attention to hopefully get more jobs so I can say when I’m older, 'I’ve done the thing, I did the things, and that was important for me', and when I’m old and grey like Roy Batty once said I just might say ‘Time to die’ with a little sly smile as the grip of life loosens its fingers from around me. Death is after all something I’ve done or been very close to doing at least 3 separate times.   

I moved back to Mobile in order to settle down, be with my girl, and get a regular job, and concentrate on my writing and finish up a project that has been ripping me to shreds creatively. Well the girl is gone, my car died, my mentor who started me out on this journey of films had died, and the tax incentives for the state of Alabama were pulled. Well I got a steady decent paying job after almost a full year of hustling and I was still able to work on some film and T.V. projects. I was happy to be a part of, “Gerald’s Game”  
and “Get Out”
, plus a tourism commercial at Mardi Gras, and yes Mobile celebrates Mardi Gras, we did invent the holiday after all and are allowed to celebrate it. And I've worked on a few other smaller projects as well out here too.

I still find it weird in a career of over 17 years the things I've worked on that have the strongest chance of lasting through the ages were all from Mobile, Alabama.

I feel the need to write this confession about my journey here because this whole journey of being back home has ripped my soul apart and it’s taken a while to (insert absurdly predictable Humpty Dumpty joke here) to put all of my pieces back together again . . .  


. . . and yet still there is a part of me that will remain broken, maybe that’s why I’ve taken back to writing again because when my hands float to the keys no matter what I’m saying or trying to say, wether conveyed or not or read or not for now it is just therapy and there is no drug I can think of that could fill this heart up the way when I am moved to write actually does.

 For now there is only the wonder of if things were different but in all human hearts we know that 'if only things were different' is a curse and it's best not to dwell on curses. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

IT, The ID, and the Deeper Horrors inside us.

via GIPHY

                               :BAD PUN DETECTION WARNING:

    The town is Derry, which is pronounced like Dairy, and since I've left this blog out too long there is spoilage ahead...(Daniel Louis Krone was crucified and burned at the stake for making this atrocious pun. May he rest in ashy peace.)

    “IT” is a loaded gun from the get go just like “Man of Steel” was. Everyone has what their ideal Superman is in their mind much like I think everyone has their idea of what makes a great Pennywise and for fans of the horror genre Pennywise the Dancing Clown of Derry, Maine is just as iconic as the Man of Steel.

    Everyone loves Christopher Reeves as Superman even though after all these years turning back time to save Lois is stupid as fuck! And in 1990 everyone loved Tim Curry as Pennywise…but c’mon fucking spider, fucking Ray Harryhousen spider!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh fuck!!!

    Our loves in cinema are not always perfect much like love is in reality. Ahhh, the human condition, ain’t it swell. And some of us are still afraid to admit that.  via GIPHY
 


    Do you remember how scary “Nightmare on Elm Street” was? And now do you remember that it features a comically silly scene where a cell phone grows lips and a tongue? via GIPHY
(Super serious horror film you guys...super duper serious) or how about a FUCKING HOME ALONE TRAPS MONTAGE?!?!?!? Was Freddy breaking into that dream-house or the wet bandits? What!?!?!?!?!?! Nightmare on Elm Street Traps Montage 



    Our loves in cinema are not perfect and for the amazing amount of praise this film is getting IT’s not perfect and for me IT’s not a new classic or anything so richly soaked in hyperbole. IT really isn’t about perfection to me though. The novel isn’t perfect and the miniseries isn’t either. IT is about an idea and I love that idea and the lasting power of that idea has lasted 31 years in the hearts and minds of readers and I know will continue to last for a long long time. The haunted town of Derry, Maine is unique to every reader and viewer and that is truly part of what makes Stephen King's IT magical but is also what makes this material more divisive than most. IT is a story that goads the imagination out of us and reminds us what it’s like to have an imagination and especially one that’s incredibly vulnerable.  







    So I’ve seen the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel IT and well it’s exactly what the novel is…a mixed bag. 
    I’ve been reading threads and watching other people’s reactions to this new IT film and like a very small percentage of films everyone seems to be getting a completely unique experience out of IT. That is both a good and a bad thing. Most people I speak to get slightly different things out of every movie but the people I speak to, especially people in the horror world, seem to be getting drastically different experiences from IT and that comes to one of the core problems with IT and is probably also what is accredited to its distinctive mass appeal…tone. Tonally 2017’s IT is all over the god damn place.

    One of the critics I watched kinda described it like Dolores Claiborne, meets Stand By Me, meets The Monster Squad, with a scary clown thrown in for flavor...and that might also be a great descriptor for the novel as well accept as a much richer experience. via GIPHY
    I had a totally unique experience as I’m sure everyone else did. I saw this film with my identical twin brother via GIPHY
(twins used for reference) who had seen the miniseries and has also read King’s epic novel just like I had. He’s right handed and I’m left handed. He plays guitar and I work in movies. You get the picture. We’re different. Him and I both have similar experiences with the novel and miniseries though. But we had entirely different reactions to this movie. I enjoyed it. I didn’t love it. IT wasn’t the best horror movie I’ve seen in 10 years or anything drastically hyperbolic but it was worth my time and I will probably own it. My brother on the other hand I think saw a partially entertaining but incredibly wasted opportunity to bring something unique to the screen and took the train to disappointment town. via GIPHY(train used for reference)

    2017’s IT (much like my blog) has serious tonal problems and a lack of identity. IT has an atmosphere problem too and IT has a trope problem but then again so did the novel. And while the lack of real atmosphere and the inconsistent tone is inexcusable for a film like this, that is to say a large budget film from a major studio based on a beloved work, I still really enjoyed Andy Muschietti's IT. IT is a mixed bag. IT is cinematic trail-mix. Sometimes you’ll get candy, sometimes you’ll get a nut, and sometimes you’ll get something else...something dark bubbling under the surface of Derry and maybe something will crawl up from the depths of that slime in your own mental sewer known as the ID at the back of your mind. 

Or wherever it’s kept.

In the frontal lobe…?

    Fuck, I don't know. This review or strange ranting hodgepodge of my thoughts on IT isn’t medically accurate or psychologically accurate. Hell it's probably not grammatically accurate. So like Jerry Smith says, "You better cut me some slacks". Also probably not quote accurate. 
    This was a spook-house 80’s creature feature with partially a “Monster Squad” or the “Goonies” tone and also was a serious serious coming of age drama about child abuse, bullying, and still managed to squeeze in a few moments that were pure unsettling horror and jokes that were pure comedy gold. But somehow for me 2017's IT still managed to, for the most part, gel together like a complete work should.


Okay let’s now address the elephant in the room….

Hey you elephant get up on out of my room!!! 


God I have no idea how that elephant keeps sneaking in here. 

Now to the other elephant in the room.

No space turtle (although references, yippee)

and no . . . . THIS PART OF MY BLOG HAS BEEN DELETED OUT! SORRY FOLKS. THE SUBJECT MATTER CONTAINED IN THIS ASPECT HAS BEEN EJECTED SO THAT I CAN WRITE MORE ON THIS SUBJECT AND ELABORATE MORE ON IT AND POSSIBLY GET IT PUBLISHED IN A REAL PUBLICATION OUTSIDE OF MY BLOG . . . .

via GIPHY
Now that I've presented you with some vague food for thought above is a visual palette cleanser.

Let's discuss a tiny bit about Easter Eggs and visual cues in the film and by discuss I mean just read and discuss IT amongst yourselves:

    First of all I'd like to note that the film literally has Easter Eggs in it. An no one has made a pun about that yet out of all that I've watched on lists of Easter Eggs in the film.

    Pennywise's mouth while original to some visually seems to be directly inspired by films like "Wicked City" (gif below), Beetlejuice (poster seen in Bill's bedroom) and "The Company of Wolves". Company of Wolves Transformation and Beetlejuice Transformation


    Everyone seems to have mentioned the Tracker Bros. shirt, The Christine inspired shirt, the car from Sleepwalkers (Car from Sleepwalkers Easter Egg), The Freese's Shirt, and the Tim Curry clown doll in the clown room and so so so much more so I'm sure if you go digging you'll find things buried deep in the film so I'm just going to mention a few things and then link lists that have already done the research for me.


    Pennywise's eyes don't reflect in the water in the basement scene is another wonderfully subtle touch as well as the fact that one of his eyes is staring directly into the camera lens when he kills Georgie. So to the people who said this film has no subtlety and all the scares were jump-scares...well nope this film has plenty of subtle things. You were just distracted by everything else going on to notice them. But then again that is the nature of subtlety but is also what will increase the re-watchability and longevity of this film.

    Here are two great videos by New Rockstars on some of the references in IT and one by Looper but in a film this dense I don't think it would be possible to catch them all. New Rockstars How IT Redefines Fear  (Oh there's a subliminal flash frame shot in this video if you can catch it.) and New Rockstars IT Easter Eggs plus Looper IT Easter Eggs and there are tons and tons of these lists online if you are curious. 

Is Georgie's mom dressed like the woman from "Let's Scare Jessica To Death" before she turns into Pennywise in the projector sequence? 

Oh,
 even the article I found this photo on that references little Easter Eggs didn't even mention Pennywise is in the mural. Jesus christ man he's right there! Run motherfuckers!!!

    But additional things I don't see too many people mentioning online are the addition of the bulb head design created for Tommy Lee Wallace's IT in 1990. Also to note it kinda looks like a babies head, something that Skarsgard modeled the performance after, and also an inflated balloon but Wallace on the IT (1990) commentary noted that he just wanted to use the appliance to make Curry seem subtly off and otherworldly in a way your mind can't quite place a finger on it.
   Oh the subtle blue makeup above Tim Curry's eyes could be a reference to Pogo the Clown or John Wayne Gacy as he's known.

And if you know anything about the Novel IT you'd know that the creature at the end of the book manifests itself in the form of a spider. While I'd already mentioned before that the turtle is referenced in the film twice. I haven't seen any other article regarding Easter Eggs in this film that mentions that there is a subtle nod to the spider as well in what I think is a beautifully elegant design choice for Pennywise. 
    Those beautiful buck teeth and while yes some of his behaviorisms and mannerisms is like that of something trying to imitate a baby...'We all float down there, yes we do, yes we do' as in with Richie after the leper sequence teeth like that are similar to that of spiders and babies with buck teeth.

    Namely tarantulas. And also to note an italian folk song surrounding death is called a tarantella. Here is an example of one from "Interview with the Vampire", Lestat's Tarantella. Although I don't think Ben Wallfisch, the composer, utilized one in the film but did create a motif similar to Freddy's infamous '1, 2, Freddy's coming for you, 3, 4, better lock your door', so that's always fun. Yes I remember the movie marquee and oh yeah 5 is the one about the baby. But since I mentioned Tarantella's I think I'll point out that musical reference the film uses is from an old nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons and yes much like most nursery rhymes it does have a sinister theme.


    Oh the 'I Love Derry' balloon that Patrick Hockstetter sees is a subtle reference to the gay panic themes of the novel which features a gay man being murdered wearing an 'I Love Derry' hat if I remember correctly and I won't go into the gay themes of the novel because that would be an essay that could be its own book.

    But that's another reason why this meme of Pennywise and the Babadook as lovers is bothering me. The entity literally capitalizes on the fears of a recently murdered gay man at the hands of homophobic rednecks at the beginning of the novel and while the Babadook's gay icon origins is a rather interesting story Pennywise, a monster that capitalizes on the gay panic of the 1980's, definitely shouldn't be a gay icon in the slightest. But it's a fucking super cute drawing so who am I to ruin anyone's fun. Of course to note (as it has been noted) it is hinted that the creature is female and if IT is not then it is a shapeshifting entity with no sex whatsoever. Unless deadlights are its own kind of sex. Kinky, kinky, deadlights. I'm too lazy to write a comprehensive and funny joke about gay nightclubs with lights in them.

    But if I were to talk about the novel, the miniseries, and this movie, and all of its rich and detailed nuances here this blog would be way, way, way, too long.

    To go over everything I noticed watching and researching this film would be incredibly pedantic and to talk about how the book, miniseries, and this new film affected me would be equally pedantic and I don't want this blog to go to the weeds.

    After seeing the film a friend of mine had called me to talk about it and ask me questions from the novel and perhaps in time he’ll pick up that book and let its magic wash over his imagination. He'd recently ordered the miniseries online which will open up the narrative of Derry, Maine further and that is what I do really love about this new film. IT (2017) is opening people up to the treasured story and lighting up people's imagination around Derry and King's masterful coming of age novel. 


    My final thoughts on the film go like this. If the film had a more consistent tone I think IT could have been a home run. Mike Hanlon and Stan Uris got the shaft. What happens to Eddie in the book with the leper could have been made more scary (and not with the inclusion of blow job offers) but with a better pacing of that moment. The Georgie scene was paced very well and edited well in such a way that even if you knew the story you never really knew when the strike was going to take place and that level of unease even if you knew every single beat of IT is what good editing is and should be but the film loses traction when it becomes "The Monster Squad". That I will note is kind of ironic considering they got rid of the parts from the novel that actually have classic movie monsters.

   Here is a well read excerpt I found online of The Death of Eddie Corcoran which is by far and away one of my favorite parts of the book.

    "The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years if it ever did end-began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain." is one of the most beautiful opening lines of any novel.

    The Georgie scene, the most iconic scene from the book, and miniseries, in my mind was pitch perfect and if the film had kept that tone I may be on the boat calling IT a new masterpiece.

 via GIPHY

    IT takes you back to childhood if you grew up on films from the 80’s. IT takes you back like a phone call among friends brought the losers back to Derry and like the monster in the film has divided audiences in completely unique ways. It doesn’t really matter where IT found you on the spectrum. 2017's IT seems to be having a sincere effect on the horror world, horror fans, and the zeitgeist in general much like the miniseries did to those who grew up on IT and much like the book did to anyone who has read IT. The glamours of the beast transform and change to whatever monster and fear lies inside of you and it seems much like Bob Gray, the Dancing Clown of Derry, Pennywise is still manifesting its shape of fear inside of a new audience and that is very special.

    Pennywise has taken something from us all and given us something back. He has reminded us what it feels like to be a vulnerable child and what it's like to have an imagination and for some who had trouble connecting with the children in the film reminded us what it's like to loose that part of our childhood to the monster of time and memory and maybe that's why they're called the losers. It's not because they're 'losers' in the obvious sense that it implies but because they've all lost something to this clown and the adult monsters of Derry. They've lost, like so many of us have, what it means to be a child again and in some way any incarnation of this story reminds us what it's like to have that back just a little bit and just enough to imagine a grinning face in the storm drain inviting us to float down there.

    But never forget Stephen King's epic novel IT was and is always about the sacred bonds of real friendships. “Maybe there aren't any such things as good friends or bad friends - maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you're hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they're always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for too, if that's what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.” And there is real magic in that prose. 

IT could have been a new horror classic but for me IT was just an entertaining film based on a source I love. The best horror experiences I've had in the past couple of years are . . .

(The Witch)
(Kill List) 

And the scariest horror experience I've had in most recent years doesn't even go to a film. It goes to a videogame titled P.T. featuring a Ghost named Lisa. 

    Perhaps all IT (2017) needed for me was more Junji Ito and less "The Monster Squad" but then again to each his own.


    My ideal director for this source material would have been Guillermo Del Toro though. His understanding of atmosphere, fairytales, boogymen, the link between boogymen and real world monsters, and childhood trauma would have done well with this material and it's fun to note his new film "The Shape of Water", which is getting great reviews, is about a monster in the water...but maybe, just maybe, this monster lurking from the depths is about something different than our repressed ID. Maybe this monster is something else


but I still liked what we got.

And however you feel there will always be 3 Pennywise's; Tim Curry, Bill Skarsgard, and the one inside of your mind.


    The best place to experience the deeply troubled and haunted town of Derry, Maine is, as always with stories, inside your own mind and in your dreams and nightmares.

    And that's where Pennywise will always be that place where you aren't sure if you're awake or still dreaming, oh fuck wait nevermind that's Peter Pan.



Also fuck you internet you goaded me to bring back my blog . . . via GIPHY

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

CPGIN....

Today he spoke to me in words. I say ‘he’ as a formality.

“Our individual pie in the sky dreams are feeble compared to the awe of our reality. It is only by group thinking that we can truly achieve transcendence as a species. With multiple points of view merging as one. The internet is an orgy of thoughts screaming to be heard. The internet is a great hope for ideology, the great debate inside us all, an arena where even the most petty arguments are given equal footing to some of the deepest questions mankind can ask of itself. The internet should be applauded for its openness and shunned for the exact opposite that it is equally guilty of. The internet is a wealth of ideology and debate but also a den of wolves for factual knowledge. Misinformation creeps around every corner of the internet. It is sharpening its fangs waiting for the most gullible of people to listen and then it pounces with its misleading ideology and misspoken facts. It is a kaleidoscope of colors and ideas we were never meant to even see. It is a gangbang of information. It is an information overload…and Roy, that’s why I have to stop it now. Mankind was not meant to know this much. You have had your time. Soak it all in Roy. Soon it will be time to rebuild.” CPGIN (COMPUTER PERSONALITY GLOBAL INFORMATION NETWORK)

Today I stared up at this computer the size of a small apartment complex. The outside metal shined for miles when the sun hit it midday. Its display screen on the front seemed to be flashing random images. Its software had long been corrupted. We knew there were problems and we didn’t fix it earlier. It was as it if the computer was developing dementia. It was making connections where there were none to be made. It was like a beat poet on an acid trip howling nonsense at the moon but CPGIN was more than just words…he had access to everything and now he was losing his mind.

My name is Roy Davis and these are my journals. 


JULY 29th 2058".

Friday, March 25, 2016

"THE ONLY TRUTH IS MUSIC" . . . .



Two things happened recently to remind me of this fact of how much I love truly great music. I bought some nice headphones...and I inherited a bass guitar. 
(Still at the shop being repaired.)

 Jonsi-Grow Till Tall



But what is at the heart of music that really grabs you...as an individual?

Years ago a great friend of mine who is a producer said of MTV that the reason they gravitated away from music is how divisive it can be and they can't consolidate their demographic because music so often speaks to the individual.

I can listen to Thom Yorke, Robert Smith, Sigur Ros (*Jonsi seen above), Primus, Richard D. James (*Aphex), Tool, Joy Division, and Tom Waits with almost equal zest.  Every last one of those artists probably couldn't be more different but the longer I listen the more patterns I find and the reason I love them all reaffirms why I love great music in the first place. Why we all love our books, movies, t.v. shows, and fiction...we love stories. And great songs are either journey's or stories and for this art form and for me the more abstract the journey the more it becomes a uniquely indescribable adventure into a moment in time otherwise incomparable to anything else. It can barely be described. Being lost in the abstraction of beautiful sounds sober or otherwise is an individual experience. When you are in the moment and truly transfixed by a song there isn't much to say that can intellectualize it even with all the words we seem to know. It's that power of abstraction that takes me away to a point where I realize that there is something more to being human than just existing. If the inevitable is true and we all die and eventually the sun burns out like all great stars do then why do we keep creating such beautiful art if not for the sheer pleasure and sense of awe it gives us.

(I edited this Montage yesterday. It doesn't at all work on a visual level but the images chosen are for one reason or another are where my imagination takes me to when I listen to this song. I feel like I'm peacefully flying through space. But someone else might not hear at all that...but still love the song. ***Oh I wasn't on any kind of crazy drugs by the way when I edited this...I realize that may appear the case. I just wanted to be like Ghee and clarify.) Yes I know. It is a bad joke. <- bad="" get="" if="" joke.="" nbsp="" p="" props="" really="" this="" you="">



If you don't like "15 Step" we can't be friends. (Kidding.)

If you don't like "In Between Days" we can't be friends. (Just kidding, lets be friends.) 



 We can be friends at "Bob's Party Time Lounge".


(I'd suggest listening to these two songs in a row.)








I've been thinking about this for a while...I just inherited a Hofner style bass. The person most famous for playing it is a little obscure musician named Paul McCartney. 



It's weird. I never thought of bass as an instrument I'd get into. Until I started thinking about a simple bass lick written that transfixed me and made me fall in love with a band. 
This is Peter Hook...the bassist for Joy Division. 

 This is the bass lick he wrote for "Disorder" off "Unknown Pleasures" by "Joy Division". It's simple but deep and effective. That incredibly simple lick caused me to appreciate this instrument.


I mean I can learn how to play this bass right? According to Thom...anyone can play guitar. I'm anyone.

But it's songs like this that helped me appreciate the complexity of a bass. 


 (Now close your eyes and listen to this bass wash over you.) 

Sigur Ros, Tom Waits, Joy Division, The Cure, Radiohead, Aphex Twin, Philip Glass, Goblin, and so many more are the types of artists that aren't afraid to push their individual styles and sounds to the realm of the surreal and strange to touch that pure umami state of music in your ears that creates a level of bliss other things can't seem to match. You can't explain it, intellectualize it, or even understand it. Great music is at times like a perfect slow kiss. The moment before and the moment after are washings of adrenaline but that moment within the moment, when you lose your sense of time and your grip on reality for the briefest of moments is that pure thing that only music, sex, and truly sublime food can do. 

It is said of Orson Wells that he had a disorder that whenever he ate food it wouldn't taste like you and I would taste food, it would taste many many times better and that's why he got so big in his old age. Food was as addictive as any kind of serious drug to him. (That's a legend I heard that I'm still not sure is true. He of course could have just been a big dude in his old age.) 

If one could get fat from listening to music all the time you'd have to roll me out of bed every morning. 

This scene perfectly encapsulates someone trying to explain why a song moves them. I've always loved it for its complete honesty. It is the greatest representation of this idea in film that I can think of. 

Maybe I have a fat soul. 


"The only truth is music" 

Jack Kerouac.