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Hand Some Devil

April 20, 2009

Check out my latest flick. Mad props to Chris Damon who allowed me to use his music.

THE STORY BEHIND THE MOVIE

So, I got one of those urges…one of those I need to make a movie stat urges. And so I did. Well, it didn’t happen as quickly as I liked, but it happened. It started with a simple skit idea that I had several months back, which was basically a severed hand in the litter box, but more deeply, “what if my cat solved her problems by hiding/burying them.”

The skit was simply: I uncover the hand, then confront the cat, who then jumps on me, thus knocking me out, which then cues a trippy knockout dream, and a cut back to me waking up with a start and a pile of kitty litter on my stomach. I would of course end it with me yelling something like, “Phantom! This is not how we deal with our problems!”

However, when the desperation hit me to make a film, it started to go in a darker direction. This started with the inclusion of Phantom’s claws under the door. I always found my cat’s pension for sliding her claws under the door to be quite hilarious. Plus, i wanted to open with the idea that the cat had been out doing something mysterious and something way beyond my own knowledge. One of the trickiest parts was directing the animal of course.

The moment I set down the rolling camera in front of the door, she refused to stick out her paws, even she always did this time and time again on her own. I had to use a cat toy and swing it under the door to get them out, and in the process, I got my finger slashed twice. Initially, it was supposed to be a cheap gag. I was going to walk to the door, the paws pop out with some loud music, and then I open the door. I couldn’t get her to pop out her paws, but I could get a nice slice on my hand. So when she tagged me, I decided to just put it in the movie, which worked out really well.

The first set of filming concluded just after I discovered the hand. I was at a loss for an ending, but was planning a “the cat attacks me. Fade to black” type ending. Again, I could not get this cat to act. And after editing what I had, I came to the conclusion that the focus should shift to the hand. I had just purchased the 20th anniversary edition of Hellraiser and decided to throw in a parody of that. Then it hit me, how about I film my face ripping through a plastic bag and overlay it on my hand! A face ripping through the palm, why the hell not. This proved to work better than I had thought, but also more of a pain in the ass than I had thought. In order to make it seem real, I had to keygraph every single frame so that my bagface would mimic the subtle movements of my hand. Meaning: each of those 2 second long hand clips took well over an hour to edit.

In the end, I think the film came out rather well. Part of me wishes I had stayed simple and lighter, but part of me is happy for what it morphed into. Also, I think the hand stuff ended up being pretty unique. It was also my first time shooting in hdv with my camera, which is hella-cool.

Note: I filmed myself as the hand creature saying “In this economy, it is hard to find a proper box.” I wanted to throw this joke in, but decided it just wouldn’t fit. And yes, the movie is an attempt at being completely ridiculous, while still managing to pull off the horror/thriller genre.

(originally posted on Feb. 18th, 2009)

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