And just like that, we’re in pre-production on a sequel to the anthology produced by PRC Productions back in August of 2016. Lady Belladonna’s Night Shades wasn’t a blockbuster by any means. It’s even debatable whether or not it could be considered a “hit.” The anthology has a permanent roost on Amazon Prime, where the numbers are steady and the reviews mixed. Some people love it. Some not so much. What can I say, it isn’t for everyone.
And yet, here we are, four weeks out from the shoot for Lady Belladonna: The Movie. The title will make more sense once you realize that the chief antagonist in this entry is the damned soul of eternal monomaniac and questionable film auteur Ed Wood. His goal is to make a movie on the life and times of the Dark Lady herself.
That just about summarizes the plot for the wrap. And because it is an anthology, it will feature five brand spankin’ new horror shorts, interspersed throughout and introduced by returning thesps Tawnya Bass as Lady Belladonna and Donny Prosise as her long-suffering attaché Addy.
Now, I am very aware of the irony inherent in this adversarial character choice. Ed Wood? Seriously? Isn’t that a bit like a clown making fun of a mime? Maybe. I never claimed to be great filmmaker. Hell, I still have a hard time accepting the term filmmaker, despite the fact that I have, at this point, written, directed and produced five short films, an experimental microseries, one season of a critically acclaimed docuseries and the aforementioned anthology. It sounds more impressive than it really is.
I’ve also lent a hand to several productions by other filmmakers far more talented than I. Still, my approach is very different from most. And here you will see a slight deviation from the majority of the posts I make on this blog, in that it may offend delicate sensibilities with less-than-generous enmity on the subject of filmmaking. You see, I don’t view filmmaking as a professional life choice. Maybe for others, but not for me.
Unlike most, I am not motivated by the need to make social commentary and draw attention to the flaws and foibles of humanity. I’m not trying to make any statements. I’m just continuing my ongoing quest to find new and interesting ways to create art. I write silly stories and somehow convince otherwise intelligent and sane human beings to put aside their dignity and become shadow puppets for my edification.
Am I a hack, as Wood has been labeled? Maybe. I’ve been called worse. Am I enjoying the process of using cinema to translate my fever dreams? Sometimes. It’s a lot harder than it looks and one thing I’ve learned over the years is that most audiences don’t give a sugar frosted fart for the details. They don’t care about what goes into the making of a film. They don’t care how long it takes, or how many people are involved, or the costs inherent. All they care about is being entertained, and even then they have a propensity to criticize. Everybody is an authority and the internet gives them the dubious opportunity to broadcast their opinions far and wide.
I learned long ago not to take any of it seriously. Most armchair cinerati are muttonheads, with not an ounce of expertise to guide them. The fact that anybody would give them credence is baffling, but not really surprising considering humanity’s tendency toward lemming behavior. There are still people who believe if it’s in writing, it must be true. Take it from somebody who has had a very long and successful career in the mainstream media, that belief is absolutely meretricious. All of which may sound like a digression but bear with me.
I chose Ed Wood for this project precisely because he is widely considered the worst filmmaker of all time (And to those people I have just two words: Uwe Boll). Also, because he is the perfect mouthpiece for my own opinions concerning critics and commentators. In him I find a kindred spirit. He’s also the perfect foil for the Dark Lady’s absolute imperiousness and hubris. He’s just a hell of a lot of fun to write and I am thrilled to have a local favorite, Rafael Medina, assaying the role. I imagine he’s going to chew through the scenery like he was born to it and that is exactly what I want.
Because in this installment of the apocryphal franchise, we are cranking up the heat and doing our best to offend and nettle as many of our detractors as possible. Why? Because we can! Because I and my collaborators don’t have to answer to the PC police or studio stooges. We aren’t under any obligation to create something that will appeal to teenagers, soccer moms or Trump supporters. We couldn’t give a parsimonious pig’s ass less about White Nationalists, Black Lives Matter or the Me Too movement. Socially, yes, but not when it comes to our craft. We’re doing this to have fun and to poke fun at whomever we want.
It is, I have to admit, one of the most liberating exercises of my present condition and, as a result, I am pulling out all the stops. You’ll have to wait to find out just what that means in terms of a finished product. I will guarantee you, however, that if you thought anything I’ve done up to this point was tasteless and profane, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Buckle your seat belts, bitches, this handbasket is careening like a comet straight to the Stygian depths, and we’re wearing gasoline-soaked knickers. Got a problem with that?