Camp David

CAMP DAVID OCTOBER 2002

By • Oct 1st, 2003 •

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In the wake of anything-goes sexuality and no-holds-barred guerrilla filmmaking comes a talented young director who loves to tease his audiences with male erotica and never gives the money shot to the spectator or allows his actors to ever go all the way. I am referring to David DeCoteau who is the president of Rapid Heart Pictures and the director of such films as LEATHER JACKET LOVE STORY, VOODOO ACADEMY and a trilogy known as THE BROTHERHOOD. These films are hip, hot and sexy!

DeCoteau has established a new genre of homoerotic horror pictures with athletic young actors who spend a lot of screen time in designer shorts fending off vampires, witches and the black arts with lighting that would make Ken Russell proud. The connection is easy for David as he began his career on Russell’s trash classic CRIMES OF PASSION and moved on to replace the master in SKELETONS a few years ago.

A true auteur who already has several dozen films to his credit and more on the way, if you wish to learn more about David and his oeuvre log on to www.RapidHeart.com and check out his website and discover what I found sooo enticing to begin with! DeCoteau is a tease and he loves it!

Once again the Silverlake film festival gave the silent screen a tribute with a rare showing of DeMille’s THE CHEAT in one of Downtown L.A.’s oldest remaining movie palaces with live music to give the 1915 soap opera a showcase on the anniversary of its premiere. I sat with Kenneth Anger who received a doctorate in the arts recently making him “Dr. Anger” to those in the know and well, you know the rest.”

VCI Entertainment has released a “camp classic” with the Ronald Reagan epic CATTLE QUEEN OF MONTANA also starring Barbara Stanwyck. This DVD is a must. They are also preparing HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM for a deluxe presentation with audio tracks by the late Herman Cohen and a separate one with Yours Truly plus composer Gerard Schurmann who scored such films as THE LOST CONTINENT for Hammer films and KONGA. The DVD will be released in January 2003.

Hammer Films is given the royal treatment over at Anchor Bay with the release of TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER and FEAR IN THE NIGHT. The first film is the very last to be released by that company and one of their best with Christopher Lee and Richard Widmark. Anchor Bay has been releasing dozens of Hammer titles with commentaries and gorgeous prints for several years now and they are, without a doubt, one of the premiere DVD companies in the horror genre.

Paul Schrader is in town to promote his new film AUTO FOCUS about the tacky life and kinky death of Bob Crane. He granted a few interviews that gave some insight into his work and where life has taken him since AMERICAN GIGOLO. One of my favorite quotes from Paul is “I was in a self-destruct mode doing coke, pondering suicide, flirting with homosexuality and S&M!”
WOW! No wonder all the books about the 70’s are never over 500 pages!!

A fascinating evening was spent at West Hollywood’s finest bookstore on the Sunset Strip known as Book Soup. A reading was being given by a European actor, Curt Lowens, who is perhaps best known for his Eurohorror classic LYCANTHROPUS which was released stateside as WEREWOLF IN A GIRL’S DORMITORY. The film featured performances by Maximilian Schell’s younger brother, Carl, and by Roman Polanski’s first wife, Barbara Lass. However, this pales in comparison to Lowen’s real-life drama as a translator during World War II’s climactic third act. Lowens is Jewish and he spoke not only his native German but several other languages for the Allies. He read aloud passages from his new book entitled DESTINATION QUESTIONMARK? in which he chronicles his observations during that “war to end all wars.” In fact, Mr. Lowens was present and translating at the Nazi German surrender as Hitler’s successor, Navy Admiral Doenitz handed over the reins of power to the Allies. For those interested in a first-hand account of history Lowens’ book is essential reading.

The highlight of this year’s screenings has to be the restoration of Charles Laughton’s masterwork THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER outtakes. The UCLA film archive was given boxes of Laughtons outtakes [at least nine hours of rushes] and presented a two-hour version of the best of them to a standing room only crowd. Surviving cast members arrived to pay homage to Laughton’s genius.

Watching this masterpiece being made and to hear as well as see Laughton direct his cast was a joy one does not ever forget. Cinema is the poorer for not allowing this man to make more films. He was to have done THE NAKED AND THE DEAD but poor boxoffice and bad reviews ended the career of an American original.

If you wish to know the entire story of the filming of THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, you might want to pick up Preston Neal Jones’s collection of interviews entitled HEAVEN AND HELL TO PLAY WITH from Limelight Editions. Jones worked on the restoration and his book is a labor of love as well as scholarship.

Image Entertainment is ending the year with a presentation of CHAMPAGNE FOR CAESAR with Ronald Colman. The film also showcases one of Vincent Price’s best performances. I did the liner notes for this DVD release and if you love Vinnie it is a must-have! See you all for Xmas!

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