Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thank you...

Three years ago today, I started this site.  Above is my first banner; I kept it because I'm sentimental.  There have been many since but those I delete.  Funny thing about the first one is that I had no idea what I was doing and how I achieved the effect of the 'double image'.  To this day, I still don't know and I chalk it up to one of those neat accidents.

Some people might be wondering how it has been three years when the archive says otherwise and the reason for that is the 'original' site got accidentally deleted in what I now refer to as the 'Friday the 13TH fire'.  It was unfortunate, it was not deliberate and it's pointless to cry over spilt milk.  Over 3,000 posts are gone...it's done.

I heard from a lot of people that urged me to start again and bring back 'Vinnie Vidi Vici'. Your support meant a lot to me...a lot.  It wasn't hard; like slipping on a pair of comfortable slippers.  I thank the friends who have been there all along for hanging in there and to the new followers that have been kind enough to join the ride.

An exciting year is unfolding in Vincent's career and the best is yet to come.  And now Leila has begun her journey by moving to New York and furthering her studies.  I can't wait for what the future holds for both of them.  I invite you to check in and follow what's going on.

Thank you, everyone!

Happy Birthday Vincent D'Onofrio even though you split my lip!

Josh Duhamel 
July 25, 2011 
 Hey Mom look! Vincent D'Onofrio gave me a bloody lip!

Happy Birthday, Vincent D'Onofrio!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Be an extra for 'Pawn Shop Chronicles' fair scene tonight!

By Pawn Shop Chronicles
For those of you who are interested in being an EXTRA (UNPAID) during our Fair Scene this Friday Night, June 29th, please contact pawnshopchronicles@gmail.com with:

1.) Your Name
2.) Your Contact Information (Phone & Email)
3.) Names and Contact Info for any family, friends, etc. who can also come out and be extras!

Hope to see you all out there!

'Chained' and 'Sinister' UK Premieres at Film4 FrightFest



SINISTER (UK Premiere)

True crime writer Ellison Oswald has made a career out of exposing police mistakes and now he’s investigating a shocking small-town death by moving into the house where it took place. But strange occurrences start happening and Ellison becomes convinced the figure he sees lurking in some old home movies he discovers is the ancient occult ‘eater of children’ demon. The scares are not just intense but unyielding in this compelling horror yarn from THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE director Scott Derrickson. And Ethan Hawke shines as the agonized writer whose deteriorating state of his mind shatters everything he holds dear.

Director: Scott Derrickson USA 2012

Ethan Hawke – Ellison
Vincent D’Onofrio – Professor Jonas
Juliet Rylance – Tracey
Fred Dalton Thomspon – Sheriff
James Ransone – Deputy 


CHAINED (UK Premiere)

A trip to the movies becomes a nightmare for Sarah and her young son Tim. For they are kidnapped by Bob, a deranged taxi driver, and taken to his remote home. There the nine-year-old sees his mother murdered – but it isn’t the last slaughter he witnesses. For Bob enslaves Tim, chains him up and forces him to bury his victims’ bodies. As years go by, Tim is allowed some freedom only if he turns killer himself. Now the reluctant protégé must make a choice between following in Bob’s bloody footsteps or breaking free. Jennifer Chambers Lynch’s uncompromising and dark chiller is one of the best films of the year, 98 mins

Director: Jennifer Chambers Lynch USA 2012

Vincent D’Onofrio – Bob
Eamon Farren – Rabbit
Julia Ormond – Sarah Fittler
Jake Weber – Brad Fittler
Conor Leslie – Angie

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Looking deeper...

A while back I posted some screen caps from the 'Chained' trailer and now a few more photos have been released via festival sites where the movie will be screened. In the first photo below, 'Bob' has slashed the throat of his victim...

In a just released photo, here is another angle of the same shot...

Here I have zoomed the shot to show that this is most likely the scene that caused concern about violence and the subsequent ruling of NC-17. What else I noticed, since I am all about continuity, is that the wound is correct in being executed by a left-handed person ie Vincent.

Here I've zoomed up on the photo of 'Rabbit' watching TV and on the wall is a picture of...rabbits.

''Full Metal Jacket': 25 Things You Didn't Know About Stanley Kubrick's War Classic'


Gary Susman

This was emailed to me by Mary who thought it was interesting and so do I...thank you, Mary!


1. Kubrick developed the idea to do a Vietnam War movie out of his desire to collaborate with war correspondent Michael Herr, author of the celebrated Vietnam War memoir "Dispatches." At first, Kubrick wanted to make a movie about the Holocaust, but the pair soon settled on a novel about Vietnam that they both admired, Gustav Hasford's bestseller "The Short-Timers."

2. Like his protagonist, Private Joker, Hasford was a Marine who had also served as a combat correspondent during the war. Kubrick and Herr eventually enlisted him as a co-scripter of the screenplay. The collaboration was carried out over the phone; Hasford didn't even meet Kubrick in person until an ill-fated dinner party well into the writing process.

3. Kubrick changed the title to "Full Metal Jacket," inspired by the name of a kind of bullet commonly used by Marines in Vietnam.

4. Initially, Kubrick envisioned Anthony Michael Hall as Joker. According to Hall, negotiations between the director and the "Breakfast Club" Brat Packer went on for eight months before ultimately falling through. Instead, "Vision Quest" star Matthew Modine landed the role.

5. R. Lee Ermey had been a real-life Parris Island Marine drill sergeant during the war. He'd acted in other Vietnam films, including "The Boys in Company C" (where he played his first drill sergeant role) and "Apocalypse Now." Kubrick had hired him as a technical adviser, but Ermey wanted to play Hartman, the Parris Island drill sergeant who dominates the first half of the movie. So he made an audition reel in which he generated a sponataneous stream of foul-mouthed insults directed at a group of extras -- all while having oranges and tennis balls thrown at him -- that ran for 15 minutes. That got him the job.

6. Kubrick was notorious for his meticulous oversight of every last detail of his productions, but for the sake of authenticity, he allowed Ermey to write his own lines. Ermey ended up generating 150 pages of insults, many of which found their way into the movie. About half his dialogue in the finished film is self-penned.

7. What's the R. in R. Lee Ermey stand for? Ronald.

8. Tim Colceri had been Kubrick's choice to play Hartman before Ermey seized the role from him. But Colceri got a nice consolation prize: a role as the helicopter door gunner and an unforgettable scene where he talks remorselessly about how many women and children he's killed. His dialogue comes straight from Herr's "Dispatches."

9. A New York theater actor named Vincent D'Onofrio landed his first major film role in "Full Metal Jacket." To play the doughy Private Gomer Pyle, he packed 70 pounds onto his muscular frame, ballooning up to 280 pounds. That Method-acting stunt is believed to be the record-holder, exceeding the 60 pounds Robert De Niro gained to play Jake LaMotta in "Raging Bull." The extra weight caused torn ligaments in D'Onofrio's legs that had to be surgically repaired. After filming, it took nine months for him to return to his usual 210-pound physique.

10. Bruce Willis was offered a role in the film, but he had to turn it down, as the production would have cut into his contractual commitment to his TV series, "Moonlighting."

11. The New York City-born Kubrick had famously moved to England and shot all his movies there since 1962's "Lolita," in part to avoid the interference of Hollywood executives in his productions. So it was with "Full Metal Jacket," which recreated a Marine boot camp and a Vietnamese city in the English countryside. The Parris Island sequences were shot at the Bassingbourn Barracks army base. The abandoned and condemned Beckton Gas Works became the ruined city of Hue.

12. To create the rubble-strewn city, Kubrick said he spent two months carefully destroying the gas works, blowing up buildings and strategically punching holes in others with a wrecking ball, all with photographs of Hue circa 1969 as his guide.

13. To make England look more like tropical Vietnam, Kubrick said he flew in 200 palm trees from Spain and 100,000 plastic jungle plants from Hong Kong.

14. Modine, who documented the year-long shoot in photographs and published them in a book called "Full Metal Jacket Diary" in 2005, claimed that the gas works was an environmental disaster area, strewn with asbestos and other toxins, that made cast and crew ill.

15. Modine also wrote that he and the other actors playing Marines underwent realistic boot camp training, which included being yelled at by Ermey for up to 10 hours a day. They also had to have their heads shaved once a week.

16. After years of hours-long phone conversations with the director, Hasford came to England to meet him in person. They met only once, Hasford later noted, at a dinner. In "Kubrick," his own memoir about the production, Herr recalls that, during the meal, the director passed Herr a note that read, "I can't deal with this man." A bitter dispute over the writing credits followed (Hasford wanted a full credit, not an "additional dialogue by" credit), and Hasford was barred from the production. Contemplating legal action, Hasford said he wanted to make sure the movie was actually filming, so he and two friends snuck onto the set at Beckton. They were wearing camouflage, disguised as extras. Hasford was spotted, but he was mistaken for Herr.

17. One reason filming took so long is that Ermey was in a car crash in which he broke all the ribs on one side of his body. He was sidelined for four-and-a-half months.

18. The "Abigail Mead" credited with composing the score is actually the director's daughter, Vivian Kubrick.

19. According to Box Office Mojo, the film cost an estimated $30 million to make. It earned back $46.4 million in North America.

20. "Full Metal Jacket" earned just one Oscar nomination, for its adapted screenplay.

21. Hasford shared that nomination, having won his credit battle. Still, his career never reached similar highs. He wrote two more novels, including a "Short-Timers" sequel called "The Phantom Blooper," before he died in 1993 at age 45.

22. A few days after the movie's release, D'Onofrio was seen again in "Adventures in Babysitting," this time as the muscular, blond-tressed, Thor-lookalike mechanic. His complete transformation between the two films gave him a reputation for both intense preparation and chamelionlike acting skills. It's a rep he's maintained ever since, moving from indie comedies ("Mystic Pizza," "The Player") to big-budget spectacle ("Men in Black") to a long run as the brilliant and eccentric Det. Goren on TV's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

23. The melodically named model/actress Papillon Soo Soo, who played the Vietnamese hooker, also had a big pop-cultural footprint -- but it wasn't from her movie roles. (She'd been in just one other film, the James Bond movie "A View to a Kill," before "Full Metal Jacket," and she made only one more afterward, action drama "Split Second," with Rutger Hauer.)

24. Rather, it was her memorable delivery of such phrases as "Me so horny" and "Me love you long time" that found their way into audiences' brainpans, thanks to endless uses as samples in rap songs. Most notoriously, there was 2 Live Crew's "Me So Horny" (which made the group the center of a landmark censorship battle in 1990) and Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back."

25. Ermey, too, found his dialogue sampled in numerous rap and hard rock tunes. Now 68, he's spent the last quarter century capitalizing on his "Full Metal Jacket" fame by playing similar characters (usually Southern, authoritarian types) in dozens of movies (from "Fletch Lives" to "Dead Man Walking"), TV shows, video games, and commercials. He's been a pitchman for several products, including Glock weapons, SOG knives, Coors Light beer, and pistachio nuts. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema patrons know him as the voice warning them to be quiet during the movies. And when R. Lee Ermey tells you to shut up, you'd better listen, maggots.

Thanks, Marian for sending the link for this...

Vincent and fan on location at 'Pawn Shop Chronicles'

Vincent D'Onofrio met h'm in port Allen la he is filming movie w/Paul walker Elijah wood its called pawn shop chronicle

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Background extras needed for 'Pawn Shop Chronicles' this Friday

The feature film PAWN SHOP CHRONICLES will be filming a fair scene at WIlliam and Lee Park, 1699 Louisiana Ave, Port Allen. This Friday Night June 29th. 8PM until…
SCENE DESCRIPTION: It’s the Erwin County Fair, where Ricky Baldoski (played by Brendan Fraser) performs his tribute to the King!
WHAT TO WEAR: Very pale faded colors (Tan, creme, pale blue, lavender, green, grey, faded red, NO BLACK), old fashioned 1950/60′s vintage looking clothes, think Andy Griffith Show (Google it!). No Jeans. Prefer khakis in tan, olive, brown. Button front shirts, solid, stripe, check all good. No athletic shoes.
Women to wear sundresses or shift dresses, nothing tight or form fitting. Simple flat shoes.
Simple, sweet and faded.
For information go to:
TWITTER: twitter.com/PSCtheMovie
FACEBOOK: facebook.com/PawnShopChronicles
The movie stars:
Come watch a special performance by Brendan Fraser, and enjoy the rides, animals and cotton candy!
Movie Logline:
Pawn Shop Chronicles is a dark comedy in the vein of Pulp Fiction and The Big Lebowski.
A man searching for his abducted wife, a couple of white supremacist meth heads and a sad sack Elvis impersonator are all linked through items sold or found in a small Southern town’s local pawn shop. Humor, chills and mayhem ensues.

'Chained' to screen at Stiges


Catalan thriller armada lands at fantasy fest

BARCELONA -- Catalan suspense-thriller "The Body," from first-timer Oriol Paulo, will world preem Oct. 4, opening the 45th Sitges -- Intl. Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia, Europe's biggest genre pic event.

The main Competition line-up, the bulk of which fest director Angel Sala unveiled Tuesday, boasts significant U.S. presence, multiple French titles and samples Catalonia's vibrant genre industry.

Starring Belen Rueda, Jose Coronado and Hugo Silva, the awaited "Body," a morgue-set suspenser, is produced by Barcelona-based Rodar y Rodar and Antena 3 Films. Sony Pictures Releasing de Espana handles Spanish distribution; DeAPlaneta reps international rights.

Also world preeming is "El Bosc," helmed by Oscar Aibar ("Flying Saucers"), with Tom Sizemore, from a story by best-selling author Albert Sanchez Pinol.

A third Catalan entry, "Painless," from debutant Juan Carlos Medina, is a psychological thriller produced by Roxbury Films, Elle Driver handles foreign sales. Medina co-wrote with Luiso Berdejo ("The New Daughter").

A quartet of Sitges competition contenders played Cannes: Leos Carax's "Holy Motors"; Franck Khalfoun's slasher classic remake "Maniac," with Elijah Wood; Ben Wheatley's Directors' Fortnight hit "Sightseers"; and David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis."

Further potential Sitges standouts include "Chained," with Julia Ormond, Vincent D'Onofrio, from Jennifer Lynch, who topped Sitges in 2008 with "Surveillance"; Pascal Laugier's Jessica Biel starrer "The Tall Man," produced by France's SND-M6 Group; Scott Derrickson's "Sinister"; and "Lovely Molly," a haunted-house thriller from "Blair Witch's" Eduardo Sanchez.

Sitges has added a BBC fantasy production showcase, backed by the U.K. pubcaster and 3XL, the youth channel of Catalan pubcaster TVC. Section features "Doctor Who," "Sherlock" and "Misfits."

Fest runs Oct. 4-14.

'Full Metal Jacket' 25 years old today...

In the film that jump-started his career, Vincent D'Onofrio portrays the character of 'Leonard Lawrence' best known as 'Private Pyle'. It would take a tip from his good friend, Matthew Modine, for Vincent to send a demo reel all the way to Stanley Kubrick in England to be considered for the part. There wasn't the technology in communication as there is today yet he landed the role. After settling in England, he put on 70 pounds, a record that still stands today, because it was thought that a heavier character would make a bigger impact rather than a thinly built 'weak' man.

At the beginning of the film when 'Private Pyle' is introduced we see the 'dumbly sweet' face of a young soldier who is lost in a place he clearly can't cope. Later, we see the face of a taunted/ridiculed man, complete with the infamous 'Kubrick stare', who spirals downward into a depression that causes the death of his drill sergeant and his subsequent suicide. It is raw and graphic; war is not pretty before, during and after.

Many people will comment that the first half of 'FMJ' is the most memorable because of the portrayal Vincent gives his character and the film sometimes feels like it is 'two halves' due to the strong contrast. However, there are moments in the 'second half' of 'FMJ' that are just as startling. For example, when 'Joker', Matthew Modine's character, must decide to put a suffering Vietnamese woman, who has been shot, out of her misery. It is a show of compassion for the enemy over a missed opportunity for his fellow comrade 'Pyle' who he describes as a 'Section 8' yet doesn't do anything to alert his superiors.

I'll admit I didn't even know that Vincent was in this film when I first saw it and it's true of most all of them. He has that way of morphing into a character that is unique to the point of remembering character over actor and isn't that the goal?

'Full Metal Jacket' was made with an estimated budget of 17 million dollars and has grossed over 46 million dollars to date.  On June 26, 1987, 'FMJ' was first released and in its first weekend box office earned over 2 million dollars.

Tonight, 'FMJ' will be shown on TV on various networks and after 25 years still holds up as an important film.  After all, it brought us to the attention of a young actor named Vincent D'Onofrio!

One year ago today...

the last "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" episode aired. We sure do miss you!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The First Turn On!

Vincent D'Onofrio's first film. We all have to start somewhere and well we know he went on to greatness.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

'Futurama’s Multi-Voiced Maurice LaMarche Gets Wordy with Us'



N: I remember when I saw Ed Wood, I was like, “Wow, Vincent D’Onofrio did this great impersonation.” It turns out that was you dubbed in. Did that bug you, that people thought it was all him?

MLM: It did, at the time. As I said, it was a more sensitive time. But with the Internet now, anybody who takes a passing interest in the movie knows it as a piece of trivia just from looking it up on IMDB, that the voice is done by me. I heard that Vincent was not upset personally with me, but he felt bad that they didn’t use his original performance. He actually went out and with his own money produced a short film called “Five Minutes with Mr. Welles,” in which he did make a greater attempt at getting the voice right, because he really does look like him. In the dailies that they sent me, D’Onofrio was doing this really sort of high-pitched with him. It was almost effeminate. Burton, I guess, felt that was not the way to go after piecing the scene together. Being an animator, he was a fan of Pinky and the Brain, and called up and said, “Call me the guy who does the Brain. We just gotta dub this.” They flew me up to San Francisco, and I dubbed it in one day. It was on my birthday, actually. And there it is. It’s stuck to the tape. But no credit. We actually offered to cut my salary because I got an over-scale fee for that, and I said, “well, take it down to scale, and just give me a credit.” And they went, “Nope. Keep your money. We’re not going to give credit.”

Monday, June 18, 2012

[Fantasia '12] First Wave Of Films Announced! 'Chained' & Much, Much More!!!



From the day she exploded onto the scene with the largely misunderstood and still-controversial BOXING HELENA nineteen years ago, Jennifer Lynch has been a spellbinding iconoclast on the American indie landscape, her provocative approach to filmmaking seeing her alternately championed and demonized. She is a fascinating filmmaker who has made but several works across her near-twenty year career. Each have been standouts, their connective tissues threaded in baroque aesthetics, unconventional performance styles, darkly eccentric streaks of humour and subversively compelling gazes into our capacities for cruelty, obsession and sexual deviancy.

This year, Fantasia will celebrate the wildly individualistic work of Jennifer Lynch with a pair of special screenings:

First up is the world premiere of Lynch’s brand new production, CHAINED, which stars Vincent D’onofrio as a taxi driving serial killer who abducts a young boy and raises him as his son – fully expecting the child to grow into being a mass murderer himself. In Lynch’s hands, what could have been a simple “how to make a monster” serial killer film turns into a black discourse on parenthood and instinct. Also starring is Eamon Farren and Julia Ormond, the latter reteaming with Lynch after 2008′s brilliant SURVEILLANCE.

Fantasia will also be presenting the Quebec premiere of Australian filmmaker Penny Vosniak’s recent Hot Docs smash DESPITE THE GODS, which documents Lynch’s star-crossed adventures in India directing HISSS, an ambitious Bollywood film (and a rare Bollywood/US co-production) whose production spiraled out of control due to producer mismanagement and various twists of fate. It is one of the strongest films about the trials and madness of moviemaking that you will ever encounter.

Screenings of both films will be hosted by Jennifer Lynch.

'Chained' World Premiere at Montreal's Fantasia Festival 2012


We can’t wait for the 2012 edition of Montreal’s Fantasia international film festival to get rolling…especially now that the organizers have unveiled the first round of confirmed titles and other attractions.

The brand new poster (by Quebecois artist Donald Caron) for his year’s Fantasia, taking place July 19-August 7, has been unveiled (see it below), heralding the usual knockout lineup of genre features from around the world. Of particular note are a celebration of director Jennifer Lynch, including the world premiere of her new film CHAINED, starring Vincent D’Onofrio as a serial killer attempting to groom a kidnapped boy to become his successor, and the Quebec premiere of DESPITE THE GODS, Penny Vosniak’s documentary about Lynch’s ill-fated creature feature HISSS. Speaking of nonfiction features, an expanded Documentaries from the Edge section will also showcase Brian Knappenberger’s WE ARE LEGION: THE STORY OF THE HACKTIVISTS and Eric Walter’s MY AMITYVILLE HORROR.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vincent D'Onofrio as 'Hagan' in ''Fire With Fire''

''FIRE WITH FIRE'' Trailer co-starring Vincent D'Onofrio


'Don't Go In The Woods' Airing Tonight on TMC

All Upcoming Airings of Don't Go in the Woods:
Sat, Jun 16 9:00 PM THE MOVIE CHANNEL.
Sun, Jun 17 12:00 AM THE MOVIE CHANNEL.
Wed, Jun 27 1:40 AM THE MOVIE CHANNEL.
Thu, Jun 28 4:00 AM SHO BEYOND

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vincent D'Onofrio visits Turner Field...


Yeah that's my dad hanging out with Vincent D'Onofrio 

Celebs in the house tonight include President Jimmy Carter, country star  and actor Vincent D'Onofrio.

'Sinister' Trailer World Premiere Tonight via Shock Til You Drop...



by Ryan Turek June 12, 2012

Shock Till You Drop is one of the few selected sites to host the world premiere of the trailer for Sinister, the latest film from director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose). And we're very excited to do so as we love the hell out of this movie.

The trailer can be found here on Shock tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 13th) at 11:59 PM ET / 8:59 PM PT.

Immediately following the world premiere, Ethan Hawke, director/writer Scott Derrickson, producer Jason Blum and writer C. Robert Cargill will participate in a live twitter chat. The chat will be moderated by @SummitEnt. Tweet your questions with the hashtag #SeeSinister.

In the film, opening October 5th, a true crime novelist struggling to find his next big story discovers a box of home videos showing other families being brutally murdered, but his investigation soon leads him to a supernatural entity that may be placing his own family in harm's way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

''Six Degrees of Vincent D'Onofrio''...Frank Cady...


Frank Cady was born on Septmber 8, 1915 and is best known for his role as 'Sam Drucker'.  He was born in Susanville, California and later moved to Wilsonville, Oregon with his family.  Frank studied at Stanford University where he studied journalism and drama.  It was at Stanford University where he met his future wife, Shirley, to whom he was married 68 years before her death in 2008 at the age of 91 years.   He served an apprenticeship in London where he was in four plays and had his first TV appearance.  When his apprenticeship was over, he returned to Stanford for graduate studies and a position as a teaching assistant.  Later he became an announcer and news broadcaster but put everything on hold to serve in the Army during WWII.  After being discharged from the Army, Frank did a series of plays and had various parts in big name films.  His biggest role was that of 'Sam Drucker' who was a local grocer.  That same character was seen on 'The Beverly Hillbillies', 'Petticoat Junction' and 'Green Acres'.  He was the only actor to have a recurring character on 3 TV sitcoms at the same time.  Also, he was only 1 of 3 co-stars of 'Petticoat Junction' to stay with the series for the entire 7 year run.  Frank's last acting role was in the TV move 'Return to Green Acres' in 1990.  Frank Cady passed away this past Friday, June 8TH, at the age of 96 years old and is survived by a son and daughter.  Find the connection!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cannes 2012: Splendid Buys Rights to 'Mall'

1:42 AM PDT 6/11/2012 by Scott Roxborough


Splendid also nabbed rights in German-speaking Europe and Benelux for Mall, the directorial debut of Linkin Park bandmember Joe Hahn. The thriller focuses on five strangers who get caught up in a shooting spree at a suburban mall. Vincent D’Onofrio and Peter Stormare star.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Vincent D'Onofrio's 'Don't Go In The Woods' to air on TMC June 16TH


This week, a trio of' small, limited-release/direct-to-video horror/suspense movies make their TV debuts:
  • The star-studded yet pedestrian serial killer flick Texas Killing Fields, starring Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloe Grace Moretz and Jessica Chastain, premieres on Monday, June 11, at 1:20 AM ET/PT on Starz.
  • Vincent D'Onofrio's directorial debut, the horror musical (!) Don't Go in the Woods, airs on Saturday, June 16, at 9:00 PM ET/PT on The Movie Channel.
  • Donner Pass, based on the famed Donner Party, airs on Saturday, June 16, at 10:30 PM ET/PT on The Movie Channel.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Don't Go in the Woods" DVD Review: D'Onofrio Dazzles and Confuses

by Zachary Leeman


Vincent D'Onofrio's "Don't Go in the Woods" seems to have no larger ambitions other than to be a very strange and entertaining trip in the backyard of both D'Onofrio's house and his artistic brain. The film doesn't want to delve into deep philosophical Kubrick like conversations about the purity of art and some people's utter obsession with it (though the film does touch on this). No. What "Don't Go in the Woods" wants to be is a horror musical that never feels tongue in cheek, but also never feels cliched. "Don't Go in the Woods" is even driven by the most hackneyed, unoriginal and simple horror movie set up story in the world. That being said, "Don't Go in the Woods" takes that simple story, flips it on its head, then its side, then sucker punches it in the face, buries it and then challenges us to find it. "Don't Go in the Woods" is about a second rate band that decides to ditch modern day technology and isolate themselves in the wood in order to conjure up some real originality. The problems start when their girlfriend groupies have followed them into the woods and everyone falls back into their lazy partying ways. This is much to the chagrin of their lead singer. After discovering that their cars will not start, they realize that they are all stuck in the woods together. The issue being that there is a mysterious man wandering the woods picking their singing little asses off one by one in some very strange and grotesque ways.

D'Onofrio has decided to go beyond independent with this film. He uses non actors and literally filmed the entire thing in the woods behind his house. He used his friend, Sam Bisbee, to compose the songs for the film and lets his imagination run free. Presenting the film warts and all works in its favor. The acting is actually good and more realistic than most horror movies of today. This is because actors in modern horror movies feel the need to overact. Watching a modern horror movie can be like sitting through an awful late night acting class at your local community college. The actors here work as do their voices, which are also presented warts and all. Everyone here can sing, but D'Onofrio never gives the singing or the film the false feeling that most musicals carry. A lot of the singing feels like it was recorded while filming as opposed to most musicals where we watch an actor lip sing to something computerized and recorded in a studio later on.

The music is also surprisingly good. Bisbee creates highly original tunes that feel like real hits. This gives the band in the film a much more real aura about them. The music works and that makes the film work for the most part.

But, time for the real question. Horror plus hipster music? Really? Well, if anyone can make it work it would be someone like D'Onofrio and he does make it work. If the direction had been unprofessional and the script a little more ignorant and the music a little worse then it would've been easier to laugh at the actors every time they break out into song (sometimes while being killed), but D'Onofrio directs with surprising professionalism and makes the film look moody and real and makes the transitions smooth and easy. The script also walks a fine line pretty well by never becoming a tongue in cheek work, but always being aware of the genre's cliches and playing with them in very unique ways. And, of course, the music is the biggest highlight of the film. How someone pulled off a gruesome horror movie musical with hipster tunes is a miracle.

It's surprising to see this film not look like a $10 home movie made by a crazy actor for his own pleasure, but it looks nothing like that. D'Onofrio crafts a highly original and highly strange piece of Gothic art that both dazzles your mind while also leaving you dumbfounded at the how and why of everything, but never in a bad way. D'Onofrio's direction is like a mix between someone who has watched endless amounts of Kubrick and Malick and decided to pull off a genre film on the cheap. It makes you wish he started directing sooner in his career.

"Don't Go in the Woods" is strange and entertaining and even a little bit confusing until the very end of this very bloody and musical 83 minutes, but alas the film is truly not for everyone. In fact, many will hate it (isn't that always the sign of great art though?). Many will not see the point. Why the music? What's wit the ending? Why so bloody?...The point is simply to make something inventive. Something that works beyond the scope of the simplistic films of today. D'Onofrio may never make a "Battleship," but he doesn't need to. He works in the vein of professional and highly original directors before him (Kubrick included). He makes a film that will dumbfound you, please you, disgust you, entertain you, make you dance, make you wince....hell, what's not to love?

The special features include an interview with D'Onofrio that is much too brief and nowhere near enough in depth and a quick behind the scenes feature that shows you how truly independent this film really was.

D'Onofrio's character of Gomer Pyle will forever be remembered in military cadence and he will always be remembered as being the actor to reinvent himself as the unforgettable Detective Robert Goren on "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." Now, here's to hoping D'Onofrio has another phase left in his career to dazzle us with: that of the director.