Comments on watching and making films.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Make Out With Violence

You don't know how happy it made me to just be able to write those words in the title. It is rare that a person gets to be a part of seeing friends create something incredibly original and beautiful on the scale of a film, and a truly home made film at that. A few weeks ago, I got the chance to attend the L.A. premiere for The Deagol Brother's film Make Out With Violence. They had won the Nashville Film Festival, and part of their prize was that Regal Cinema (a Tennessee based company) would set them up with a showing in the home of movies in America, Los Angeles. Now, I'm sure there is a different story for every side, but the idea behind the prize, from what I understood was a week long run at a theater in Hollywood. Unfortunately, Regal, after much back and forth and almost NOT giving them a premiere AT ALL, finally stuck the Deagol's film in a theater in East L.A., in the relatively quiet enclave of Alhambra. Pretty far away from Hollywood, and one show only was pretty far away from a reasonable run. Let's put politics aside for a second, though, and talk about the film -

Best described by Deagol Brother Chris Doyle as a mix between a John Hughes and a zombie flick, Make Out With Violence sets up the story of Wendy Hearst, a beautiful young teenager who goes missing one day. The story is told through the view point of Beetle Darling, one of the three Darling boys. His twin brothers, Patrick and Carol, along with their friends Rody, Addy, and Anne Haran round out the cast. The film basically fast forwards to a month later when the locals are having a memorial service for Wendy, believing she's truly gone. As everyone leaves the funeral, going their separate ways to grieve, Carol and Beetle take a little side trip to the woods to have some fun and blow off some steam. In the woods, Beetle discovers the zombie Wendy. They capture her, take her home, and fill in Patrick, who has long harbored a crush on Wendy about everything that's happened. Carol and Beetle are at a loss as to what to do, but Patrick comes up with a plan.

Like I said, I truly feel that Make Out With Violence is one of the most original films I've ever seen. Sure, it apes certain elements of various genre's, but the Deagol's don't just copy these things - they borrow them, and make them their own, which is what the best filmmakers always do. Gorgeous cinematography (which is a compliment I almost NEVER give out for HD stuff), an amazing score by the Non-Commissioned Officers (along with a handful of other local Nashville bands), tight performances from a group of (mostly) non-actors, and assured direction from the Deagol's make this one of the best indie's around. It is not the easiest egg to crack, and that's what I LOVE about it, and what may frustrate some others. You see, Make Out is a zombie film, a coming of age film, a romantic film... It's also none of these things at the same time. It's an echo of elements that have all come together to create a new universe, a universe of youth, and love, and fear, and horror that coalesces into a singular vision, and if you could put it in words, maybe that's why I love it so much. It feels complete. It feels like a Wes Anderson movie, in that every bit of it feels thought out, as though the Deagol's lived in this world, and came out of it to tell this story.

You can find out more info and buy the soundtrack to the movie (which I can't recommend enough) by visiting the official website , and you can hear more about the film by watching my interview with Deagol's Andy Duensing and Chris Doyle here -

Make Out With Violence Premiere - Interview from Stewart Schuster on Vimeo.

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