by Kim Kim on Dec.31, 2012
not an introduction
So this summer I had two weeks with the kids and nothing better to do than to round them up and shoot a no-budget zombie-vampire-ghost film. Shoot might be an exaggeration, more like use the video function on an old kodak camera. This was partly inspired by some horror movie posts on here, David Lynch, Ringu etc. A very short script was quickly written and lost. Something about cornfields. I wanted to make a movie that was not jokey-scary but scary-scary. One idea was that if the kids were turned into monsters this might relieve their fear of horror.
For xmas my daughter got an English translation of a Swedish children’s book I remember from being her age. Lilla spöket Laban (“Little Spook Laban”) It’s about a family of ghosts that live just like real people except they’re ghosts and have to do ghost things like go to the big castle and rattle chains and scare chambermaids. Little Laban in this book fails to live up to his father’s ghost-standards (“Daddy Spook had made himself invisible as soon as the chambermaid moved toward the oak door. He was already on his way home to Mummy Spook to tell her how unsuccessful Little Laban was.”) and is suddenly left at the castle and becomes good friends with “The Prince”. The end.
What I like about it is that when the non-ghosts (real people) appear they seem to be the strange, inhuman ones, and you don’t want them to find you. Sort of like goldilocks seem inhuman when she appears in the little bear’s bed. You identify more with the bears.
In a way the film is a kind of fan fiction because it doesn’t have much of a story but a series of borrowed potentially scary scenes. My favorite creepy movie moment is that slow walk in The Shining into that damned room. Also Poltergeist and Lost Highway and Ringu. That rich tradition of bad TV interference.
Midway through planless filming I started reading the book “Virginia Folk Legends” and one legend in particular became a sort of backstory to the film. Or a possible back story. It goes:
Indians Kill a Pioneer Family
(Eva Fair Pegram, interviewed by James Taylor Adams)
Long, long time ago there was a man and his wife and three little children living away back in the woods, far off from anybody else. I don’t know where it happened, but somewhere in this country, I guess, maybe in North Carolina. One day the man put a turn on his horse and started off to mill. It was a long ways to the mill, and he would be gone all day.
He hadn’t been gone but a little while ’till his wife heard somebody a-comin’, riding up the rocky road. She looked out and saw two Indians coming riding on their ponies. She told the children to crawl in the closet and no matter what happened to stay there and not cry. The woman didn’t have a thing to fight with. They had but one gun and her husband had took it with him. And the axe was sticking in the chop-block out in the yard. So she got down on [her] knees and began to pray.
The Indians come on up and got down and knocked on the door. She wouldn’t open it. The thief broke it down. They come in and found her kneeling there on the hearth a-praying. They took her up and tied her hands and feet and carried her down to the edge of a high cliff and danced around her and then threw her over the bluff into the river. Then they went back and got everything out of the house they wanted and burnt the house down on the three little children.
That night when the man come back from the mill he found his house in ashes. He soon found the burnt bones of his three little children and their hearts. You know they say a person’s heart won’t burn/ He hunted and hunted for his wife’s heart, but of course couldn’t find it. So he went crazy, and he run off in the woods and jumped over the cliff and killed himself. A few days later somebody found his wife’s body in the river.”
I remember going to the pharmacy one time with my dad. Maybe I was 9. I remember they had this gold-colored drinking fountain in there that you could drink from. I remember drinking from the fountain and then seeing this old man sitting in a chair with his ticket suddenly fall over and hit his face on the floor. Its weird because for the longest time nobody does anything and this really big puddle of blood forms around his head. Finally my dad and this other guy gets napkins and turns him over and starts to do CPR but mostly I remember nobody doing anything and how much blood there was. It was like a perfect circle around his head that kept growing. He just wouldn’t stop bleeding.
Anyhow. End of not an introduction. Without further adoo. Happy new years!