Monday, October 14, 2013

Discussion: Fear on Film, from 1982

(From L to R) the moderator, Landis, Carpenter, and
Cronenberg on the set of this TV program that ended
up being a huge influence on me. How strange.
When I was growing up in Abilene, Texas, there were limited resources for a kid that was into weird stuff. Truly, had it not been for the baffling ability for Abilene to pull in KTVT  channel 11 and WFAA channel 8 from Dallas, along with KERA channel 13, the PBS station that ran Star Trek and Dr. Who and Monty Python's Flying Circus, I don't know if I would have turned out like I did. Well, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have had as deep a pop cultural education, in any case.

One of my most important early resources for news and information was Starlog magazine and Fangoria magazine. These early issues weren't so press release heavy back then; in fact, they often had to go find stories and make content for the magazine, which led to some really great articles about a lot of interesting stuff. One of those articles in an early issue, (maybe issue #9?) was called "Fear on Film" and it was a partial transcription and report about a round table discussion between John Landis, David Cronenberg, and John Carpenter. This was in 1982, and Cronenberg was the "old hand" at the time, having successfully made Rabid, Shivers, The Brood, and Scanners. Landis was white hot coming off of American Werewolf in London. And Carpenter had made a little movie called Halloween and also The Fog, and was working on The Thing. Talk about three directors at the top of their game. 

The article was interesting, and I never forgot reading it. But yesterday, I stumbled across THIS on the interwebs. Oh, thank you, sweet Interwebs!

This was a great discussion, and if I had any complaints, it would be that it was only a thirty minute talk. The moderator is pretty good, but the three guys are good speakers and eager to talk about their work. Very interesting stuff, particularly from Cronenberg, whom Landis and Carpenter seem deferential to. If you've never seen it, give the interview a watch. 

It's telling to me that all of this is happening before Landis' tragedy on the set of the Twilight Zone Movie (though he may have been about to work on it), before Cronenberg made Videodrome and the Fly, and before Carpenter went off the rails completely. Basically, they are still young enough that they've got stuff to prove and talk about, and hadn't been completely eaten alive by Hollywood yet. 

I miss the early days of Fangoria. If I'd had a decent amount of art training, I might well have ended up a contestant on Face Off. 

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