CRITICIZED/THE HORRIBLY SLOW MURDERER WITH THE EXTREMELY INEFFICIENT WEAPON: INTERVIEW/REVIEW WITH
Movie extras are my thing. I seek discs that have documentaries, behind the scenes footage and short films. A few years ago when checking out the extras on the DVD Seed, I found an incredible short, Criticized, written and directed by Richard Gale.
The film, for me, was appetizingly sadomasochistic. One major fear I have is shit happening to my eyes. Never, ever, do I want to see the insides of them. Will be more than pleased just to make it through life without that happening. And, as it turns out, strong suggestion of such an occurrence gives me a visceral reaction, almost panicky (I gag and barf when stressed, probably wasn’t the prettiest sight watching this film) which perfectly details the intensity Gale‘s Criticized encompasses.
Truly, I have boasted about this film for years like a drunk Town Crier.
Criticized is a film best watched during the night, dark and, alone. Brian Rohan and John Lynd had to be good at their craft for this short to work. Totally dependent on their ability to emote. Both worked well together, the story is bound by Gale‘s stylish directing. There is really nothing wrong with the short. It is terrifying and it’s purpose to scare is realized. I highly recommend to genre lovers to give Criticized a viewing. It’s awesome. The plot is likely something that passes through every film makers imagination at some point, it is devious and sick.
From the first to the last scene Criticized is a fully impressive movie.
Time passed between finding Criticized hidden as the ultimate extra on a DVD and the growth of my savviness via social media. I opened up a Youtube account (my channel is basically all snail videos, I’d link it, but why bother?) and started following Richard Gale Films. Initially I thought it was the wrong Richard Gale as the front page of his channel was full of videos with stills of spoons.
Like the Girl Friday I am, my curiosity took over. Further investigation revealed a sinister plot featuring a creature* named Ginsoaji (Silver Spoon), who slowly tortures a man with an extremely inefficient weapon. OF COURSE this is the same Richard Gale! It makes perfect sense! The themes are nearly identical although the shorts themselves couldn’t be more polarized. “Hizzah!” I shouted (in this version of my experience) as IMDb confirmed my suspicions.
Quickly I followed Gale on Facebook and messaged him hoping to build up a rapport before I requested an interview. True to his art he put me through a few months of anticipation before I received a response.
Not only is Gale talented but intelligent. Able to discuss the genre in-depth which is more rare than you would think with those involved in the horror industry, also quick-witted and kind.
Seriously, if I wasn’t leaning towards boobs these days I would have accumulated a major crush by now.
There you have it, one of my favourite directors whom I have total respect for that granted me the interview I so desired.
High five, read below.
-As someone with your occupation, how did you reason with yourself to write Criticized? You had to of known its potential was either an epic blood-curdling horror (which luckily you ended up with) or, the creepiest shelved screenplay ever. Was it difficult to write or did you somehow get in touch with your darkest angst as a filmmaker and let loose?
I wrote Criticized in one day. I wanted to do something about a character living on the outer fringes of Hollywood, an outcast. It was largely inspired by a cruel movie review I had seen many years before, in the L.A. Weekly. I don’t remember the film it was for, but the critic wrote “Hopefully this will be the final nail in the coffin of this hack filmmaker’s career.” That was so vicious, it stuck with me. The impetus to do Criticized was I had just purchased a new camera, the Panasonic HVX200, and wanted to test it on something dramatic and suspenseful, so instead of shooting a camera test, I made Criticized. Also, Screamfest had a deadline in three weeks. So the entire film was made in a little over two weeks.
–Criticized is not a blood and guts film. It relies on the plot and the actors much like in the golden days of Hammer Films. What was behind your choice to keep the gore out of the short and do you feel it was the correct decision for this already solid story?
Well, there are extreme closeups of gore, but only in very quick flashes. It was absolutely the right decision for what I wanted, which was a focus on terror and dread and not nausea or disgust, which detracts from real psychological impact. I’m a student of Hitchcock, and I’m also not as interested in gore for gore’s sake.
-Because I’m a huge fan, I have to ask, is there any chance that Criticized will be made in to a full length feature film or, are you over paperclips and focusing on spoons? Do you have plans to return to cover-your-eyeballs-horror?
I have the complete screenplay. I’m very happy with it, and have had some meetings with some producers but it hasn’t happened yet. One day, I hope to make it.
-What inspired the theme of your work (Criticized, The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon) having characters violated leisurely with common household items? Where did this idea form?
I just wanted to do something different. So many movies use guns and knives… I wanted to do something that had not been seen before. That’s what I find interesting. I love the idea of something normally very ordinary and innocuous becoming menacing. Like the number 2 pencil through the ankle in Evil Dead.
-From your perspective how was switching from a full on horror to comedy-horror? Which do you find more challenging and do you have a personal preference?
Comedy-horror is more rewarding when sitting in a theatre hearing the audience react, though it was fun to see crowds of people react to the paper clip in Criticized… hearing people laugh is the best. But I still have the ambition to make the scariest Goddamn horror film anyone’s ever seen.
-What is Spoon Wars and does it have anything to do with The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon?
Spoon Wars is one of the many videos on my YouTube channel Richard Gale Films, which continues the epic saga of Jack (the victim) and the Ginosaji (the Spoonkiller). Ginosaji is Japanese for “silver spoon”. Spoon Wars is also the first film to ever show a live-action underwater light saber fight.”
-For those who do not know what The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon could you please explain what this is about?
It’s a fake movie trailer, 10 minutes long, for a film that is allegedly over 9 hours long. It’s the story of one man’s encounter with the most relentless murderer of all time, a strange character who hits him, with a spoon, and chases him all over the world, for years, and can’t be stopped. In some ways, it’s actually a very disturbing film. But I think of it as 90% comedy, 10% horror. I made it for film festivals, but then when I put it on YouTube it went viral, recently topped 28 Million views, and has a cult following. Some of our diehard fans have permanent tattoos of the spoonkiller! Now we’re planning a full-length feature film, and a Kickstarter campaign in the near future, so the faux movie trailer will actually become real!
-Noting your acting credit in The Human Race, you are very much a renaissance man in the entertainment industry. What position is closest to your heart? The solidarity of writing, the fuss of directing or, make-believe of acting?
I enjoy all three, but if I had to choose one, it would be writing/directing, which I consider all one thing really. Storytelling.
-What keeps you working in the oft-fruitless industry of horror entertainment and, who are your inspirations that spurred your passion to scare people through your written work, film and acting?
My Mother used to tell me Edgar Allan Poe stories when I was a kid, and every Halloween my brother and I would write scary stories, trying to out-scare each other. From an early age, I learned to appreciate the joys of good scary stories. I don’t think of myself as a “horror” filmmaker, since I also love suspense, comedy, sci-fi– I like to mix it up.
-There are tons of videos on your YouTube channel, Richard Gale Films, have you found that a good way for indie-filmmakers to get their product out to the masses?
I never planned on it, but YouTube has turned into a wonderful career booster for me. I think it can be amazing for a filmmaker, if your material fits the audience’s tastes. In my case, I lucked out because Horribly Slow Murderer is a great fit — extremely fast paced, funny, strange, dark– it’s perfect for an audience with a short-attention span. The ones that thrive on YouTube are usually comedies, but I think there’s always a place for well-made work to be appreciated.
-For your fans, please list 5-10 of your favourite horror flicks.
The Shining, Alien, Psycho, Dawn of the Dead (original), Evil Dead (original!!), Halloween (ORIGINAL!!!), The Fog (ORIGINAL, Jesus.), John Carpenter’s The Thing, Carrie (ORIGINAL), Audition, Poltergeist (original, sigh). My God, how many remakes there are. I didn’t bother to write “original” after Psycho because, come on. I also love Suspiria and Texas Chainsaw (original). I just wish there was a rule that if you make a remake, you have to put an asterisk on the title to warn people. It’s not fair to young people who won’t know the difference. It’s such a disservice to the originals.
-The Fog? Really? Not an official question but, what do you like about that film. Just re-watched it last week and barely got through it. Too slow for me. Think I ended up cleaning the aquarium while it was on.
Ok, El, time for some appreciation tips for The Fog.
#1. It must be seen on the largest screen possible, preferably the Big screen. D.P. was Dean Cundey, bar none, one of the best A+ cinematographers of our time, who did the most gorgeous widescreen lensing. To enjoy his work, the small screen is not your friend.
#2. You have to be in the mood for it, it’s a brandy that you sip. Sounds to me that you were more in the mood to do some shots of tequila.
#3. All real locations– It’s all about atmosphere– literally, the atmosphere is the monster! The Fog rolls in slowly, gently, before it knocks on your door with a meat hook.
#4. Janet Leigh and Jamie Lee Curtis (mother & daughter) together in the same film, is fun. Other reasons: It’s near and dear to my heart because I saw it first when I was a kid, on Halloween night, so there’s that. The climax when Adrienne Barbeau is on top of the lighthouse is still scary as fuck (as is the music in that scene, which was clearly an inspiration for some of the cues in It Follows.) And it’s got Hal Holbrook! I once had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Holbrook about working on that movie, and so again, I guess I just have fond memories tied to that film. And the final moment / cut to end credits is so badass.
-…And, on that note I am much more of a Long Island ice tea kind of girl – I guess that means I like the Scream and I Know What You Did films. Haha..
Haha, I love Scream, works so brilliantly.
See what I am talking about? It’s nice to be surprised by a person whose work you are total impressed by. Guess that makes me a fan-girl? Sure, I can deal. Can even accept he thinks The Fog and Suspiria are excellent horror films. They’re not, but I can accept these two mistakes if they spur on his delight to horrify his audience.
Can’t wait to see what Gale comes up with in the future.
Check out the links below or click on any red words and pictures on the page to be directed to videos and official sites.
Criticized (18 and over only, must be logged in to YouTube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=innHwdDWuxs
Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VDvgL58h_Y
Save Jack – Interactive https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VenEVnc3vqg
Richard Gale Films channel (all my videos) https://www.youtube.com/user/RichardGaleFilms/videos?flow=grid&view=0&sort=p
For an added bonus…
Yesterday my Pop’s came to the City and we watched The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon. Needless to say, my Father found it hilarious.
He stopped in today before heading to work this afternoon, walked right up to the drawers in my kitchen and grabbed a spoon and started hitting me in the head with it.
Goodbye Justice from Manborg and hello to Ginsoaji’Pa.