How does someone fall into directing? That’s one of the many things The Genre Traveler chats about with writer, actor and director Marion Kerr. Her feature film directorial debut, Golden Earrings, has screened in festivals across the U.S. and won Best Horror Feature at the Indie Spirit Film Festival. Topics covered in this podcast include the film’s story line, how a Hitchcockian thriller can win a horror award, the role of perceived reality in thrillers, directing yourself in a film, fun horror, films that really freak you out and allowing time to care about characters before you do something horrible to them.
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Mentioned in this Episode:
- Heavenly Creatures (1994) directed by Peter Jackson
Way before he directed a bunch of Hobbits, Peter Jackson directed this drama he co-wrote with his wife Fran Walsh. The story is based on the Parker-Hulme murder that took place in New Zealand in 1954.
Heavenly Creatures deals with the obsessive relationship between the shy but intelligent Pauline Parker (Melanie Lynskey) and the outspoken Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet), two teenagers who murder Parker’s mother (Sarah Peirse) to avoid facing a potential separation when the mother fears that their relationship is bordering on homosexuality.
Rather than focusing on the infamous trial and court proceedings, as so many movies based on true murder stories do, Heavenly Creatures focuses on the friendship between the two girls. This film also marked Kate Winslet’s first film credit. She has moved on to star in films such as Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Finding Neverland.
- Alfred Hitchcock
This English filmmaker and producer became famous for his thrillers such as Psycho, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Dial M for Murder and Spellbound. Many of his films were originally produced in England and then later remade — directed again by Hitchcock — in America.
Originally published in 1967, the book Hitchcock by FranÃ§ois Truffaut, is a book-length interview between the two well-known directors. After Hitchcock died, Truffaut revised the book to include Hitchcock’s later work.
- The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
This political thriller starred Laurence Harvey as Raymond Shaw, the son of a prominent US political family who has been brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for the Communist Party. Frank Sinatra plays Maj. Bennett Marco, Shaw’s former commander who overcomes his own brainwashing to uncover the plot. Janet Leigh is Shaw’s fiance and Angela Lansbury is Shaw’s mother, a Communist agent who ultimately sacrifices her son for her political ideals. The film is based on the book by Richard Condon, published in 1954.
In 2007, Newsweek selected Lansbury’s character as one of the 10 greatest villains in cinema history. Lansbury was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, named Best Supporting Actress by the National Board of Review and won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for this role.
- The Shining (1980)
Directed by Stanley Kubrik, The Shining is a psychological thriller based on a Stephen King novel of the same name. It tells the story of a family who has been hired to watch over what turns out to be a haunted hotel in the mountains. Jack Nicholson plays the father, a writer to slowly goes insane and tries to kill his wife and son.
- Veronica’s Room
Written by Ira Levin, best known for Rosemary’s Baby, was first presented on stage in 1973. This two-act play starts off seeming quite normal, but after the intermission things get truly strange.
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