Continuing the theme of exploitation, this week's Brain Pick belongs to Melbourne based director, Stuart Simpson. With 2 feature films under his belt and a 3rd on it's way, he's ferociously forging a name for himself in genre circles. With his Lost Art Films production company he has also created a series of incredible short films as well as being an established music video director, having made clips for Blood Duster, La Bastard and Bodyjar (amongst others). And as if this isn't enough, he dabbles in photography! His work can be compared with the likes of David Cronenberg, Lucky McKee and Sam Raimi all the while maintaining his own unique and visceral signature.
In addition to all of this he has created an ever-evolving web-based anthology project called Dark Psychosis, where his short films are connected with an interluding narrative arch. Gore hounds will convulse at this graphic and disturbing experimental concept and you can see it for yourself in the video below.
I was first introduced to his work at a film festival in 2008 when one of his shorts was announced as a surprise edition to the closing night lineup. It was something of a revelation for me because it was clear that a new talent had arrived and the years to follow would see him step from one strength to another. So far so good and his upcoming third feature, Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry is almost upon us.
Stuart recently took the time to answer my questions.
Stuart Simpson and producer Fabian Pisani receive "Best In Fest" award for Monstro at the Royal Flush Festival, New York, 2010.
Glenn Maynard in CSV
What was your favourite film as a child?
I grew up loving Jim Henson's genius. So the Dark Crystal had a massive impact on me.
What ignited your passion for genre films?
Dad being pretty slack in protecting my fragile young mind from horror films as a kid probably haha
Obvious choices but Mad Max 1 & 2 are fucking brilliant. Also love Turkey Shoot, Stone, The Cars That Ate Paris, Road Games, Barry Mckenzie, Wake in Fright, Walkabout, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Man from Hong Kong Long Weekend, Harlequin, Dead-End Drive In, Fortress, Storm Boy, Howling 3, Dogs in Space, Ghosts...Of the Civil Dead.
Your third feature film is currently in post production. Can you tell us about that?
Its called Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla starring Glenn Maynard (Face to Face) and Kyrie Capri (Monstro). It's a black comedy about a lonely Mr.Whippy driver who is pushed to the edge.
This is also your first feature to be based on someone else's script. How have you found working with another person’s material?
Yeah it was a totally different process. It was always something I wanted to do, the challenge of adapting someones else words. It helped that I shared a house with the writer, Addison Heath, during this period and we would discuss the screenplay in detail. We came up with the story outline together and themes that would be cool to explore and then he went off and wrote the screenplay. So it was interesting to see it come alive through someone elses eyes and the ideas he put emphasis on, characters and dialogue, etc. Addison has a good feel for character and dialogue that I really like, and I'm really happy with what we ended up with.
When should be expect to see it?
It is in it's final stage of audio post production, so it should hit the festival curcuit soon. Join the FB page to keep up to date... (click here)
You have also created an online anthology experiment called Dark Psychosis, which I'm a little bit obsessed with. What’s that all about?
Well thats a project I come back to between bigger projects, although there's only one episode up at the moment. Look it up on youtube. Crazy and weird horror webisode series.
You have been likened to a young Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson. That must be humbling.
It's nice to read such things but I don't take any of it seriously. I'd never put my films in the same basket as Evil Dead or Brain Dead.
You have also made a fair amount of music videos. Will you keep making these?
Sure. It's a fun format and a cool outlet to experiment with visual ideas/concepts.
Everyone has a guilty pleasure flick. What’s yours?
Can you name one movie throughout the history of cinema you would love to have directed?
Stuart, thanks for your time and keep ‘em coming.
Click these images for more info. DEMONS|AMONG|US and El Monstro Del Mar available on DVD.