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John Waters (#110 of 17)

Interview: Mink Stole Talks The Mutilated, John Waters, & More

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Interview: Mink Stole Talks The Mutilated, John Waters, & More
Interview: Mink Stole Talks The Mutilated, John Waters, & More

Mink Stole has a devoted cult following that dates back to the 1970s, when she became an outrageously wacky fixture in the trash comedies of John Waters. The actress and singer is currently appearing off-Broadway in a rare production of Tennessee Williams’s affecting tragicomedy The Mutilated, directed by Cosmin Chivu and co-starring downtown performance artist Penny Arcade. Stole plays a wealthy woman who lives a lonely and secretive life in a run-down hotel in New Orleans’s French Quarter.

What is your take on The Mutilated, which opens with the line: “I think the strange, the crazed, the queer, will have their holiday this year”?

Tennessee Williams often dealt with the disenfranchised, with the odd ball, and the person who was trying and failing to connect with other people. And he dealt very well with women in this position. What I think the play is about for my character, Trinket, is the fact that when the play had its very short-lived run in 1966, breast cancer was something that we didn’t talk about. Mastectomies were a shame. Any loss of femininity was considered almost the woman’s fault and it was unseemly to discuss it. Trinket is dealing with this sense of shame of the actual loss of a breast. And for years she has been willing to support Celeste—the Penny Arcade character—just in order to keep her mouth shut and to also have somebody to share the secret with her, because it was a horrible burden to carry. Celeste has the secret to hold over Trinket, but Trinket has her wealth to hold over Celeste. So there’s a conflict between these two women. They are…the term now is “frenemies.” They need each other, depend on each other, and at some basic core level they love each other, but they resent each other at the same time. The fact that this play takes place on Christmas Eve adds a religious context—specifically Catholic, which is suitable for New Orleans. Whether or not the two women can stay friends or not is very open for interpretation, I think. And if we do our job right, we will make the audience wonder.

Fantasia International Film Festival 2013: Antisocial, Willow Creek, Bad Milo, Curse of Chucky, & More

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Fantasia International Film Festival 2013: <em>Antisocial</em>, <em>Willow Creek</em>, <em>Bad Milo</em>, <em>Curse of Chucky</em>, & More
Fantasia International Film Festival 2013: <em>Antisocial</em>, <em>Willow Creek</em>, <em>Bad Milo</em>, <em>Curse of Chucky</em>, & More

After a fully stocked three-week run, the Fantasia International Film Festival concluded this past Wednesday evening. Now in its 17th year, the Montreal-based festival remains a genre lover’s paradise, a celebration of all things horror and sci-fi.

An early highlight was Antisocial, a zombie infection film about college students who develop murderous instincts after being diseased by a Facebook-like website. A film for paranoid Luddites as well as Mark Zuckerberg detractors, Cody Calahan’s satire is clearly indebted to the legacy of Romero, Carpenter, and Cronenberg and serves as a biting commentary on the often addictive nature of online interaction. Also of note is The Dead Experiment, from first-time filmmaker and biology and physics expert Anthony Dixon. The film, whose dialogue is rooted in heavy scientific vernacular, focuses on a deceased med student (Ryan Brownlee) temporarily brought back to life, his brief time on Earth ticking as he and a conflicted friend with Dr. Frankenstein-like tendencies work to extend his lifeline. This film clearly follows the “You can’t play God!” trajectory of the mad scientist-centered sci-fi/horror subgenre, and the initial idea serves as a faithful crossbreed between Pet Sematery and Primer (one of Dixon’s self-noted influences).

Sinful Cinema The Driver’s Seat

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Sinful Cinema: The Driver’s Seat
Sinful Cinema: The Driver’s Seat

It’s generally agreed that films fall into one of three categories: The Good, The Bad, and the So-Bad-It’s-Good. Still, there remain a few highly select examples of a fourth category: the What-in-Hell-Was-That? Michael Sarne’s star-laden evisceration of Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge is certainly one of these, as are such disparate disasters as The Lonely Lady (Pia Zadora’s last-ditch attempt at being taken seriously), the sub-Ed-Wood exercise in low-budget incomprehensibility Mesa of Lost Women (1953), and—when and if it finally gets released—Faye Dunaway’s vanity (and how!) rendition of Terence McNally’s Maria Callas play Master Class. Yet none of these acts of cinematic desperation are quite as outré as The Driver’s Seat.

Directed by Giuseppe Patroni-Griffi, this Italian-made English-language drama, adapted from Muriel Spark’s novella about a mentally unbalanced woman searching for someone to stab her to death, stars Elizabeth Taylor and features (as Neil Patrick Harris would say, “wait for it…”) Andy Warhol. Nothing in the good, bad or so-bad-it’s-good canon compares to it. And if you were among the semi-happy few who managed to see it back in 1974, when it was released (or, some might say, “escaped”) to select grindhouses before vanishing into the maw of home video, then you know what I’m talking about. For while Elizabeth Taylor certainly made her share of stinkers in a long and productive career (Cynthia, The Sandpiper, Young Toscanini), it’s hard to imagine another item so fit to leave moviegoers scratching their heads, wondering precisely why it was made.

15 Famous Movie Savages

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15 Famous Movie Savages
15 Famous Movie Savages

Oliver Stone returns this weekend with Savages, a nasty crime thriller based on Don Winslow’s drug-cartel novel. The dictionary defines “savage” as “an uncivilized human being,” “a fierce, brutal, or cruel person,” and “a rude, boorish person.” In other words, it covers just about every villain who’s ever graced the screen. To whip up a list of 15, we set our sights on vicious characters as fierce as they are remarkably uncouth. There are no classy rogues here, folks. These are teeth-gnashing, eardrum-piercing, elbows-on-the-table types, and from a child murderer to a furry monster to two more Stone creations, they comprise a choice selection of scoundrels.

Tribeca Film Festival 2012: Mansome

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Tribeca Film Festival 2012: <em>Mansome</em>
Tribeca Film Festival 2012: <em>Mansome</em>

Morgan Spurlock tries hard to keep his documentary on men’s grooming habits lively, but Mansome is only fitfully amusing and doesn’t have anything really interesting to say. Two of the movie’s executive producers, actors Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, lend their talents (and commercial appeal) by appearing in a framing story that follows the comedic duo as they offer commentary and banter with each other while receiving various treatments at a Los Angeles spa. The movie’s other talking heads include Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Kate White, director Judd Apatow, Adam Carolla, Zach Galifianakis, as the anti-groomer, and a genuinely funny Paul Rudd. A very droll John Waters, whose appearance is all too brief, promises that when he eventually shaves off his pencil-thin moustache, he’ll do it as part of a final performance on stage before retirement.