Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kris Gilpin's Unearthed Works Dept: Fangoria Weekend of Horrors Part 2.

Here we go again with Part 2 from the files of Kris Gilpin's Unearthed Works! Remember it's the early to mid 80s and The Bates Motel series doesn't exist yet! R.I.P. Tony Perkins (1932-92). 

At that point GOREZONE co-publisher Kerry O'Quinn (formerly of FANGO) interrupted to present publicist Holton with a birthday cake (the frosting was a cut and bleeding skull). All of this, of course, just cut into the precious minutes the crowd of paying fans had with George Romero and company. (Holton says he's 48 though he could pass for 10 to 20 years younger) Holton did, however, press on and continued the questions from the crowd.

ROMERO: [something about relating to his zombies] "I guess I'd settle for being Bub."

HI FIVE Good buddy!

HOOPER: [on the budget for the first CHAINSAW] "The overall budget was 155,000; we started with 60 and the budget was projected at 90 [before deferments]. We had a real tragedy of sorts happen when we cut the negative on the picture; the original was in 16mm and after A&B rolling [early negative cutting] they had it all ass-backwards; on every cut you could see a line run up the screen. And this was after the film was [sound] mixed. They had to remix it and take out two frames from every cut in the movie and pull up all the sound FX [to match the picture], and that ran up the budget. We [basic cast and crew] all got screwed on the profits from the picture. There's no way to tell how much its made over the years." (Bryanston Productions, which was a mafia ran organization headed by "Butchie" Peraino, he basically kept all the profits and ripped off the cast and crew of TCM, ed). 

HANG UP GILPIN, I'd recognize that heavy panting anywhere!

   After the panel was asked to step down for Anthony Perkins' talk (he took Chris Lee's spot in the con, since he couldn't show), I spotted a familiar face sitting in the front row. I ran up to her just in time to accost actress Caroline [Chainsaw 2] Williams and get her to autograph my notepad. She was smiling and just as pretty as she was in that film. I then followed the crowd out to the small table where Romero was signing autographs; he's still signing them "Stay scared!"
   By the time I got back inside, Tony Perkins was smiling warmly, walking all over the stage and speaking at a very quick pace, fielding questions from the packed crowd.

I picked the right week to start sniffin' glue

   ANTHONY PERKINS: [On the awful TV movie, BATES MOTEL]; "I said, "I'm gonna sit down and watch every minute of it and not make any phone calls. This might be my only chance to see it. They don't rent that thing out, do they? [Someone answers, "No."] That's good! I thought it was just terrible, a desecration of Hitchcock and the Bates Motel [crowd applauds]. 
   Bud Cort called me and asked me, "What'll I do?!" I sympathized with him; I'd read the script previously. I said, "This is big exposure for you; really be good in it."  
I didn't think the story was good; I couldn't follow it.

   [On Hitch]: "He loved to play pranks on chicks; in the sandwich scene from PSYCHO, Janet Leigh was asking Hitchcock, seriously, about the making of the sandwich---should she put butter or mayonnaise on it, should she put the ham on before the cheese? Hitchcock who, like Ken Russell, knew how to make a decision quickly, had her do it a number of different ways; behind his back he summoned the crowd to stand around and gawk at Janet.
That's the end of the story--I'll have to work on that story.

Mmmm.. buttery mayonaisey ham

   [On William Richert's offbeat WINTER KILLS, "I have never seen that picture; another picture I have never seen is PLAY IT AS IT LAYS with Tuesday Weld, because I don't want to [think], What is it they see in this performance? I don't want to be disappointed. I was only on the set of WINTER KILLS for a couple of days but I had long speeches to make. Bill Richert's one of those multi-enthusiastic guys: "Ooh yeah, look at that great salt shaker!" "He gets off on movie-making in general". (By his garb and lingo, you can tell Perkins is a pretty hip guy, and the crowd loved him.)
   ["You think you have a rep. as a genre actor?"]: "I guess so, but I don't think about that; people used to call me Norman Bates.

Makin' speeches in Winter Kills

   When I dropped my resistance to that, people started calling me Tony. People associate me with my career; it doesn't bother me anymore although it really used to.
   ["Can you show us some Norman Bates?"]: "I cant do that, but it's amazing how quickly things come back to you. When I was doing PSYCHO 2, I was sitting in [director] Richard Franklin's office and he was auditioning some girls for the part of…what was her character's name? Oh, come on! ["Mary! someone yells] Mary? Yah! So I had to summon up Norman from one second to next; I said, "Norman, show up!" There is a point to this story, believe it or not. There was a moment in that rehearsal where I stumbled on the word "cuh-utlery" [cutlery] when I was reading with Meg Tilly. Richard said, "When we get to that scene in the filming, I want you to do the very same thing." And I said, "What am I, a performing dog?" But that was Norman coming down from where ever he-peacefully I hope-lives.


   [On SOMEONE BEHIND THE DOOR (1969) with Charles Bronson]: "He was doll. It was a more psychological picture and we liked the director [Nicolas Gessner] very much. Charles and I got along very well; he was sensational. I'd talk to him about HOUSE OF WAX and he was happy I remembered it.

   ["You played a different kind of psycho in WUSA," I asked, "Was it fun to make?"]; Yeah, I walked on and did a couple of days' work on that. I enjoyed it because I knew the lines so well and didn't have to worry about what I didn't know.

   [A young boy told him, "At the end of PSYCHO 3 they didn't read you your rights, so you have the beginning of a story for PART 4!"]: "I like that! [crowd applauds; I understand they are prepping PSYCHO IV right now].

   ["Which movie did you enjoy making the most?"]: "I guess the first really big one I made, FRIENDLY PERSUASION, because I was able to sit back and watch Gary Cooper and I didn't have to carry the picture myself; they don't make them like that anymore: the message was good and William Wyler was a genius. They had the greatest lunches; the lunch table stretched the length of this room and guys with white hats carved your food; it was far out. I like the writing in that and the fact that I didn't know anything about movie acting so I didn't have to be technical.

Perkins begrudgingly in a Kafka-esque situation 

   [On Orson Welles version of Kafka's THE TRIAL]: "I didn't think it was very good, to tell you the truth; I thought he got that one all wrong. Welles thought the lead character should be guilty and culpable of all the [unstated] crimes he's accused of, and Kafka's whole idea was that he was innocent. Welles had to do it the tough way; talk about disagreeing with the director; I thought his ideas for the movie were crazy and I couldn't emotionally be in accordance with what he was asking me to do but, never the less, I did it. My character was too cocky.

HAR HAR, and you thought he was in the shower scene!

   [On the infamous show scene from you-know-what]: "I'll bet there's a whole bunch of people who know that I wasn't even there for the shower scene; I was in New York doing a musical-comedy and the entire shower scene's shot with a double playing Norman. In fact, Hitchcock didn't even want to have me do that, because he thought the silhouette of my broad shoulders would give it away, so the outline of the mother's very unlike my own; it's one of the very few cheats in the film.

   ["You feel bad about not being nominated for an Oscar for PSYCHO?]: "I guess I did, but the role of a psycho murderer is not typically a nominated one. [Someone said, "How about Fredric March in DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE?] Yes, but he was essentially a good guy who sacrificed himself at the end.
I get invited to swanky coke parties and you don't Perkins!

  ["FATAL ATTRACTION?"] FATAL…uh, sure; so that's one; O.K. But after this I could hardly be expected to be too uptight about it, because I shot my wad on this one: I was in a cafe in Rome listening to my nominations for Best Supporting Actor [the year he was up for FRIENDLY PERSUASION] and they said, "And the winner is, Anthony…….Quinn."
And you know, in that split second your whole life…it was like, What else can happen to me now? That was tough.

   [On the rumor that Universal's housing a color version of PSYCHO]: "Boy I don't think so because it's not really founded in logic [especially economical]; to have a separate color negative…the one we had was clearly a B&W negative.


   [On THE LAST OF SHEILA, written by Perkins and Stephen Sondheim (!)]: "I thought it was a good idea and a very fine script--I really did--but, as a movie, I thought it had some slow spots in it; we had something a bit zippier in mind. We visualized something almost comedic. I thought [director] Herbert Ross did a beautiful job of style with it.

   [On new stuff]: "Was anyone there for the screening of MR. X-MAS DINNER (it was retitled Lucky Stiff ed.) the other night? [Which Perkins directed] [Mumbles] I'd like a word with you later! We're now back in the editing room with it; you make the things that work more predominant and try to figure out why the things that didn't work, didn't work. It's strictly a comedy, not about cannibalism, which is one thing we're gonna have to fight about this movie, because it seems to be about cannibalism.

Ivan & The Terribles, the punk band featured in Motel Hell

  That's the subject I don't think people want to see. I'm not talking about MOTEL HELL--always one of the greats! I'll see that every time. [crowd claps] I ran those films, like EATING RAOUL; I didn't like the subject. Our film doesn't have cannibalism scenes or grossness; that might disappoint someone who's sitting here and would prefer that it did. The next thing I'm about to do starting a week from today is to make yet another version of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE--I mean, wild [crowd applauds] I don't know if you saw the huge pictures of me in the trades, promoting the shoot, but even my Jekyll looked a little crazy! [crowd laughs] I think it's more fair if even Jekyll has his problems.

Perkins plays J&H in Edge of Sanity

   ["You turn down any scripts you were sorry for later, etc?"]: "You can't think about that. Anybody can have a short career but to still be up here, after 35 years later…I'm still here…[ crowd claps ] You have to be able to bounce back and there's so much that can get you. Forget failure; how 'bout success? Success can shipwreck you worse. To have any regrets is stupid. You've just gotta…cool out on a daily basis.


   [On THE DESTROYER]: "Did I make a film called THE DESTROYER? Oh, is that what they're calling it now? Oh, yeah-- I have a new horror film! It used to be SHADOW OF DEATH. The story is that they're making a girl's prison movie in an abandoned prison--it's not a bad idea--and there's a guy killing everyone one by one. You take your chances with a film like that. I was impressed by the literacy of the script; it has some humor in it, and I didn't do it! I'm totally innocent. When DESTROYER comes for me, I'm like everyone else: "No, No!" It was a good role. I haven't seen the whole thing yet; we made that one in Denver.

   [Which PSYCHO do you like the best?"] "The first one's got to be the best. It was the originality of the plot; you can tell the story around a campfire and it'll work. That's marvelous, and it was missing from the second and third PSYCHOs. With the sequels, we were trying to keep up to date with the characters; we weren't trying to outdo the original, which could never be improved upon.

NORMAN, it's not nice to talk shit about the sequels!

   Perkins had been waved at from off-stage for some time now; he'd kept saying, "Just two more questions!" for about the last 25 minutes, not wanting to leave his fans. As to where DR. JEKYLL was to be filmed, he said "For some reason, in Budapest, so if you're in Hungary next month, look me up! I'm sure I'll have some free time! Thank you very much for having me."

   Anthony Perkins does not sign autographs; perhaps this was one reason he spoke so long and quickly. When he was gone, at 6:30, there was the "World's Most Disgusting Slide Show", featuring shots of bloody FX from films made over the last few years.

   On the following day (Sunday April 10th), the films set to be shown included FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS ('60), TV'S THE NIGHTSTALKER, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and PIRANHA. Since there was no one I was dying to see that day, and since I didn't wish to spring for another $18 admission, I didn't attend the second half of the horror con, although the scheduled events included: a makeup demonstration from Richard (PRINCE OF DARKNESS) Miranda and Catiana McCoy (SPFX make-up instructor at UCLA); film previews from Shaprio Entertainment, which included A HAZING FROM HELL (which looks to pour on the skin and blood) and MOONTRAP (w/ Walter Koenig); another horror-item auction, a costume contest, a presentation on FRIGHT NIGHT 2, including appearances by director Tommy Lee (HALLOWEEN 3) Wallace and some makeup FX men/supervisors; and talks by super-cuties Linnea Quigley, John Carl(FRIDAY VII) Buechler, Clive Barker, Mick (CRITTERS 2) Garris, Tony Perkins, Robert (Freddy) England--who also refuses to give autographs--and the event's surprise guest Roddy McDowall. Judith O'Dea, Barbara from NOTLD, was slated to appear at one time, but as far as I know, was not at the convention. Now, if I only hit one day of the con, why was this so incredibly long?

   Simple: Jeff pays by the word (Kris is referring to Jeff Smith head honcho of the famed zine WET PAINT, where this was originally printed in. Theater of guts pays in pocket lint and good intentions)!

1 comment:

  1. Reading this reminds me of how Fangoria Weekend Of Horrors was the top genre convention to be at in the 80s,90s,and 00s/2000s(along with Fangoria magazine),for it's amazing how Fango no longer has the alluring power that they once had(once Tony Timpone left the magazine[and the Las Vegas fangoria Trinity Of Terrors ended up becoming their swan song to the convention scene]),with Rue Morgue outselling Fango and Fango now regulated(and reduced) to a mere dealer table at various genre conventions.


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