transcript

Audiovisual Cultures episode 92 – Horror, Film History and Irish Cinema with Dr Gary D. Rhodes automated transcript


please support our Patreon to help us provide accurate transcripts
this is audio visual cultures the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and culture of production with me Paula Blair visit Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures to find out more and to join the policy welcome to another audio visual cultures podcast I am polo player and deployed to I have a treat for you today I am beyond excited to welcome filmmaker and historian Dr Gary D. roots Gary thank you so much for joining me hi are you and where do we find G. well we find this in many places during a pandemic mainly I suppose the best dancers at home like we're so often confine let me start by saying thanks so much for inviting me to talk %HESITATION I've noted your research for years and so it's always great to have the chance to chat with you though I'm physically in Orlando Florida now my part of my heart always belongs to the north of Ireland where we first met but more than anything else the best answer like I guess we will give us %HESITATION and hold you know in the middle of this horrendous play sets just as you mentioned that there anyway Carrie and just for listeners to carry and I have known each other for I would say it longer than either of us wants to add minutes to remind my grey hair anyway mine's coming might mean well on the way later the batter's eye below there's also there's always hair dye I'm definitely considering that right now so you like you know you're always like fabulous I had the privilege of being taught spicy garlic when he arrives at queen's university Belfast in two thousand five and that was the final year of my undergraduate degree and she also %HESITATION where the internal examiner for my peach state which is very exciting remember all I remember all of it very well I was so excited to get to Belfast means and it was so great the entire cohort of students you work hard on or so such extremely creative intelligent and dedicated students far more than I'd work with at the undergraduate level before it was extremely exciting and of course we shared an interest in Irish cinema and that became of course quirk to your PhD work and so I was so proud to be a small part of that process and and your success with that project no that's very kind Kerry you've been writing more picks than I can keep up west so I think it be nice said start talking about some of the methods okay and really get into a your research areas so we'll see what where you want to go with this it might be you get sick at the most recent thing out of the way because what we're all living through the man it is quite relevant something you from working on anyway which I like to tell us a bit about your hi cinema has been affected by epidemics research of course thank you yeah thank you for that question it's an area of research that became very interesting to me many years ago I was actually an undergraduate at the time and I was going through as it is interested in film history I was going through these old publications like variety The Hollywood Reporter and all of those and I would be turning the pages and looking for things of interest to me on subjects like the horror film one of my other areas of interest I kept seeing over and over again in these old publications yellowing crumbling publications from the nineteen twenties thirties forties I kept saying so many movie theater tragedies that had affected audiences and some of them we we maybe know a little bit about a film like %HESITATION inglorious bastards the queen Tarantino film for example picks up on the flammability of film and the fact that some fire sometimes happens it could kill people and so I was saying those things as they occurred in American these old newspapers these old trade publications and I kept saying over and over again and I started photo copying all of it because I thought there is you know I've never heard about this and it was five years and it was bombings it was sometimes murders that people would use the darkness of the movie theater to shoot another person for example all these very tragic stories but I found quite interesting in that they were so forgotten and it ended up culminating in a book of mine over a debt about a decade ago called the perils of movie going in America you know all these regrettably bad things could happen by just going to the movies but one part of it that I should now introduces the fact that along with everything I've just mentioned and other horrors you know they were they were unfortunately you know people would get groped frankly in the darkness you know %HESITATION so there was sexual assaults and things that would happen I mean a lot of this of course exacerbated by the cover of darkness because you know what it's a rather interesting thing although we're so used to in today's world to go into a movie theater it's set in the darkness with strangers all around as you know that was a rather new thing to do at the end of the nineteenth century to plunge into darkness with strangers but with all of the horrible things that could happen one of the others that became a chapter was the sheer number of pandemics and epidemics that affected movie going a century ago and even a little more recent the most famous of the move would have been the nineteen eighteen influenza the great influenza pandemic so much has been said of it lately where century later it's I suppose and pandemic terms the nearest example the nearest touchstone for us during all of this that's true for our movie going situation as well and so that became so much of what I was writing about in that book although there were other epidemics like polio like scarlet fever those tended to be more %HESITATION regional in America more short term you know shutting down a feature for a few weeks sometimes they were moored strictly demographic you know sometimes that theaters would remain open during polio epidemics but children Morgan made it because they were the ones that would contract Holyoke but the pandemic of nineteen eighteen cost most theaters in America to shop for about half of nineteen eighteen hands in an eerie precursor to today's world to re open and then have to shut again because of the surges of second way each you know the desire for everybody for their own mental health but also on the exhibitor side of the fence to start making money again to not go out of business to be able to sell movie theater seats again take a it's again so so this is something of my research is actually began when I was an undergraduate it ended up being a book and %HESITATION it's interesting how I don't know if it's the return of the repressed or what it is but you can do a project and then years later only years later is its relevance maybe %HESITATION or becomes more Roman you know the research because right when the pandemic fit and everything began to shop in America in March of twenty twenty I got a phone call from the Chicago Tribune saying Hey it looks like you're the only person that you know has written about this before and then that led to me talking more about it writing my own updates about it in the New York Daily News and and elsewhere because it's one of those moments where hopefully you know our research can have meaning for the world outside of a dusty library shelf yeah well I mean in a way it quite fits with your interest in horror because it is quite all horrific in its own way all of that stuff yes very much so in fact my op ed in the New York Daily News was published at Halloween last year and it was actually in some ways drawing the very connection you're talking about including the red death and post famous story the masque of the red death to our present situation because a lot of horror films have been horror stories traditionally have been about plagues both real like the bubonic plague as well as kind of concocted like post story did creating it like for the sake of of scaring people and and these things have continued through the years you know I know there's a getting some slight contagion have obviously been watched probably and thought about probably as much or more the past years when they were first you know released so there is a a very scary you know connection here one of George Romero's stating horror films you know where I'm going is always are at two steps ahead of me crazies your main course Romero having been the director of night of the Living Dead and dawn of the dead most famously but he made some of the crazies about a an epidemic and of course that was remade even World War Z. %HESITATION you know some of some of the zombie craze of recent years some of the stories about how the zombies get started or a pandemic related epidemic related as I recall it was probably the first season of the walking dead yeah where the journey of survival was leading to the CDC Erica Yoon the center for disease control and that's another odd thing I haven't I haven't really thought that much about it or written that much about it but clearly that there is a curiosity however accidental and so many zombie films in America being about epidemics pandemics in the years not too many years before and leading up to our present situation I think twenty eight days later it comes from monkey so there's that species jump that happens is quite interesting to think about it nine oh yes which is very fast and because obviously there's talks about where did this come from was it from a bad or so forth and that's been true of some prior diseases and epidemics and so forth in in human history in order they originating from other species of animals it's true of the folklore too isn't it because you know you get bit by a vampire you know and %HESITATION you know unless you like the empires and sometimes I should go for it but but you know so well either well or or rob but there is that characteristic you're Ryan and twenty eight days later was Gus was such a watershed moment I think for a lot of us that are interested in horror films and interested in British horror films and how it was seen at the time to really inject new life into and may be injected in a pandemic world is even an interesting word but inject new life into the British horror film that was so well known in the sixties and seventies and and it's very much again a key into and and maybe pressing of our current situation would certainly I don't mean to make light of what we're trying to study and understand it and %HESITATION and not make light of it but I do think that there are some interesting yeah there so there's a lot of interesting interactions between horror and %HESITATION plagues including our current pandemic yeah I suppose that's not saying is playing out scenarios I find in the arts so the movies are there a matching necklace what happened this could be the series of events that happens and you know but if people are in their own may face at the minute I specific way of understanding what's happening to us because we're paid in our little boxes were stuck at home I suppose we've only got our imagination I don't really know where I'm going with that I'm just thinking sorry if it's just playing out scenarios of what could potentially happen because there's such a big difference between a maybe like a zombie land and twenty eight days later ones very serious in the other one isn't spring yet there by essentially the same thing %HESITATION yes yes well and that makes my mind go fast and so many places that your faults there because you're raising so many interesting issues and and I think that certainly there's this fascinating connection between horror and comedy yeah you know as genres maybe two sides of the same coin sometimes they've been set aside I think that they're two of the most consistently popular genres in film history they both emerged basically in the eighteen nineties and they they really don't have much of a of a period of disappearing honest in the way that say musicals or western institute the consistent popularity of boats and everything from what we might call dark comedy which can be so often in horror films to the fact the company itself is I think inherently subversive somebody is so often on the end of the joke so to speak you know that maybe a lot of people are laughing children you know on a playground but then there's the one crying because they're the one being made fun of you know comedy can be rather in its own way so cruel so I think that there's some real connections there and I think that that's true throughout horror film history which we see played out in in two basic ways that one would be that the serious horror films in many cases what inject moments of comedy relief comic relief the idea particularly in areas like the nineteen twenties thirties and afterwards forties fifties we'll have something really scary but then we'll have somebody make a joke of it a couple of minutes later to help the idea was to relieve the tension of the movie goer it's just been put through the trauma of screen terror and then across the other trajectory if there's two main ones the other trajectory would be that kind of zombie land approach where the horror and comedy or combined it wants into something that may be dark I mean one of the things that always attracted me about certain types of Irish literature going back you know would be the darkly comic sensibilities and I think horror at times has gone down that road where horror and comedy or in other words he added he ends in creating the sensations and sometimes at those moment very peculiar situate sensations and emotional responses because you know when something's darkly comic does it frighten us do we laugh we laugh is is it an uncomfortable kind of laughter I think all of that's very fascinating and I think you're right that the imagination can help in these ways and sometimes it's maybe life imitating art or art imitating life and maybe it's an interesting I think in the history of horror even thinking back before cinema you know literature painting visual culture folklore there's kind of I think interesting kind of dance macabre here when you talk about twenty eight days later on I'm reminded one of my forthcoming publications is about the unproduced film revolts of the dead which would have been in nineteen thirty two or like thirty two early thirty three film directed by tod Browning okay Brandon was very yeah you know Browning I'm not in the list probably due in may nineteen thirty one Dracula you may nineteen thirty to fill freaks he's considered one of the you know one of the great horror film directors of course like all directors there were projects he wanted to do that didn't happen and I was able to locate all of his notes in the script drafts for a film that he never made in a forthcoming book and it's called revolt of the dead hand of course Browning live through the pandemic of nineteen eighteen nineteen and his film revolt of the dead seems like it's harking back to the nineteen eighteen epidemic because it's about a kind of a %HESITATION route in which doctor that wants to turn the whole world into the living dead knitting which spread across the whole world you know like like twenty eight days later like a %HESITATION World War Z. you know he's basically wanted to create albeit with kind of a supernatural origin a kind of pandemic of the Living Dead and in the script increasingly people start getting knocks on their door from dead relative it's who aren't the same people go to movie theaters they go to restaurants that go to the to the night clubs for young people used to maybe go more often for dancing and music and soon the dead infected dad over populate the living and and M. scary where you literally in the script you go to a restaurant and they're more dead people at it then there are the living and so this is kind of I think what you're talking about you know that it's a I think it's an interesting dance where it's back and forth you know I mean I think as so often he was in horror you know PO weekend with the mask of the red death was kind of a pressing it ahead of the game in some ways you know so it's fascinating it's it's horrifying but it's very from state from a scholarly terms as well as I think moviegoing turns audience terms you know these things can help us I think that's one of the great things about horror potentiality Horace to be cathartic to be scared through entertainment but maybe from the safety of our of our whole social media says it's probably a good please send CV asking a bait probably one of your best known picks UP the birth of the American horror film because certainly those of us who are young we think we invented everything and actually as you say it started right at the start of cinnamon I suppose for anybody listening he might be under the misconception that old films and silent films are very stuffy industry at a fast what would you say about that well I I'm always looking for ideas here about convincing people of the merits of going back to look at earlier years of failed and even how to work with the young filmmakers and %HESITATION young film students and so forth you know how to get them interested in hearing aids before for example in the twenty first century %HESITATION especially a period of black and white cinema of even silent films the earliest days of cinema I don't know the best approach to getting people I've tried various mechanisms to get them excited I think there's a few ways that I try and not least of which is the fact that some of the best known filmmakers today certainly in the western way well certainly in my home country of America would be people like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino filmmakers whose films and their careers their interviews everything about them exemplify that their achievements and and and and I will be in the limit to just those two but there are two examples of names most people I think now they're films constantly reference built upon the tradition of cinema they are lifelong students of film history and and they of course attribute their success in some measure to their knowledge of film history and we can go back to so many other filmmakers right think that's true as well some of the great film makers are among the biggest collectors of film history and film memorabilia and so forth because they love the cinema and if you love the cinema there's not a starting date on it in other words you can love films made before the year two thousand and I think also I would say to younger filmmakers or trying to convince people to share my hopefully boundless enthusiasm and passion is if you're wanting to make great films the film genres we love have existed so long be it comedy or horror as we've already said or others if you're wanting to develop script ideas if you're wanting to think about cinema in your own ideas being part of the genres indeed we could argue the film itself is a genre I argue that in the same way Mekelle box used to argue that the novel was a genre whatever its topic or focus speed a western novel or a you know a drama or what have you but it all still in other words what we try to argue is that you can find incredible ideas in the past it can be because the genre is always reinvention it's building on what has been done before the cinema is about that sometimes obviously in the form of direct remakes you know as we talk a new Texas chainsaw massacre film is about to come out the first one was made in the seventies so sometimes this of course most obviously happens with the three makes but it could have been more vague ways with story lines with themes it can happen even with you know I I grew up loving George Lucas there still the Star Wars universe multiverse whatever it is universe I suppose with the Mandalorian everybody loves and Amanda Morgan is doing what Lucas did in the seventies by using a lot of white transitions fallen out of favor for decades but that he loved from the nineteen thirties films and serials he watched in so it doesn't have to be about finding old story lines that are interesting about finding some techniques that were popular once upon a time but not as much now and so I think here is in Willits fountain an incredible reservoir of possible inspiration of all types for young filmmakers even in direct terms right before I came to Ireland this spring before I came what I ride in Ireland in the north of Ireland that full in Belfast at queens and met you in so many wonderful students the previous spring I had my last group of American students and one of them wanted to make a short film called director's cut that was going to be a short horror movie and the cut was going to have in the title more than one meeting as you can gather probably going you know the slasher time about ourselves he got fairly far along before he realized and then I met him and had to relay the unfortunate news nectar already did a film called director's cut it was a horror film that at least in the most basic idea that you get from that title it had been done before and so I think even if you're committed to doing something extraordinarily noted perhaps you're interested in all of Asgard or experimental you want to do something that's never been done before it does help to know film history so you're not reinventing the wheel as that student was trying to do and fortunately he moved on to another project and that was wonderful for him but he had gotten far long before I met him with something that was on knowingly copy and past so if you are going to work with the past it's best to do of course is a very knowing away which is one of the things course yeah that we love about people like Quentin Tarantino and again so many other filmmakers that work in this same kind of way no yeah so I wanted to see Askey a fight your work on political safe because you've written probably I I don't know maybe the most comprehensive biographies of lego say and because he is a figure that we certainly anyone who knows her stuff about horror film they know he's out is so I was wondering if you would mind if there are any listeners may be younger listeners who don't know who you were talking about aids or you know as you mentioned earlier he was Dracula he was Dracula yes it's hard grinding struck in that you know and that was back with the universal horror the creature features in a way that they were doing in the nineteen thirties but that was you know one of the first ones to snatch but that wasn't all he did he had such an extensive career and credit tumultuous life I think is while I mean would you be happy to to tell us a bit of bite yes well I I would love to and I suppose in different periods would go see has been known for different reasons for example when I first met you and I was first starting to work with some of the first year students in Ireland in courses like introduction to film I would sometimes show them Tim Burton's movie ed wood because it depicted let go see a very tragic late in his life it was a Tim Burton film that dramatized you know starring Johnny Depp and Martin Landau the dramatized the most tragic Lugosi's life and and I would show it to first year students stand because they they would remember that the film to come out when they were ten years old a war or or and heard about it and of course now it's much further in time from the release of that film and it was in other words a bit of a more modern touchstone for me to talk about legacy then and now it's very much passed into the past so speak from another century now we're now we're much cheaper but more than twenty five years I guess talking with people who may not know Lugosi I suppose now the best way is the white first white would be the way that most people have historically known who he is throughout the world and I think he connects a little bit with our our last exchange because it is a way in which film and by extension popular culture so often reinvents or builds on the past even in ways that sometimes audiences aren't aware in America this past Halloween there was a commercial for a candy bar we would call them here chocolate bar I think you might say called kit kat our colleague as overall used to eat the every morning when I would have T. within United also they're known for their note elsewhere in the world but they're popular they were popular here in America and it was it was a commercial thirty second TV commercial where Dracula in the usual dress the Cape the clean face shape shaven face pretty good looking hair slicked back black hair and affecting a kind of a of an eastern European kind of Hungarian slash remaining accent was on there pouting and of course wanting to sink his teeth into a kit kat candy bar and that commercial is even available to go see died in nineteen fifty six that commercial was him in in a sense refracted at least through popular culture reincarnated through popular culture there is a children's cereal in America known as Count Dracula its mascot from the nineteen seventies until to day is another of those imitators I suppose is another term we could use there's an extent to which even later Dracula's although still not known necessarily to younger people later Dracula's of the screen white Christopher Lee and Franklin Jela their depictions of Dracula drool calmly go see it particularly to the extent that in Bram stoker's novel Dracula was very different in appearance than the way we think of Dracula including on that kit kat commercial at any time if anybody affects the voice the Kate a so much of what we think of of Dracula in popular culture is not from Bram stoker's norm rather from Bela Lugosi actually what most people know most readily rather than say the long white mustache that he hasn't stoker's novel it's much more let go see who played even in nineteen thirty one film previous to that on Broadway and he turned Dracula in some ways a monster yes a supernatural vampire yes into this kind of alluring sexualized vampire so much of folklore the vampire was often repulsive and obviously vampires do repulsive things you know biting people drinkable yada yada but we go see really turned vampire I think we see this again in ways like we even there's a character named Bella in twilight films yes you know and yes different double go see some P. and Baylor would be the proper pronunciation of course right we do it in American a lot of places people did refer to informatics careers Bela Lugosi but regardless this whole notion that the vampire could be sensual the vampire could be sexualized and attractive yet even hypnotic another aspect of the vampire we think about %HESITATION often the hypnotic on ice and instilled throughout the decades sometimes this coincides with cinematography to have the extreme close up of the ice trading on ice it noted our eyes and victims who sometimes maybe don't mind being the victim because the vampire and in later films even as women vampires but the vampire become so sexualized and attractive and sexy frankly in the twentieth century until now all of that begins really most of that I should say not all but most of that begins with Lugosi's on screen depiction in nineteen thirty one and in various respects he keeps crying role throughout the rest of his life to the extent that he was literally buried in his Dracula okay so much for the two intertwined and mild saying and I I you know I don't want to self plagiarize but I think if you announce that you can say it because I've written more than once then life will go see play Dracula after his death Dracula has played Lugosi by that I mean that that again what we think of as Dracula is as much or more like go see as it is Bram Stoker that's how it was and I you know I saw those spooky movies on television as a little child and they will be in the same way I guess go story so often three little children I grew up when they were still showing black and white films on TV so I started singing in the late seventies even though he was by then long since deceased fascinated and have gone on as you kindly point out to write about it and and that's been a great deal of fun and some of the projects that come out of that have been enjoyable I think that Dracula it's a nice example of quite an early sign Diarra film designed area was quite firmly establish I think by that point and I think they were doing some very exciting things with audio at that time I think it's something that you covered I remember in teaching was the influence of a lot of emigre directors because a lot of the directors were talking about you were making the sums were British or they were German or Austrian or that sort of thing so %HESITATION you know there's that influx of that expressionist training coming over here's one of his last teaching I taught am I showed it for signs yes you know so I thought it was a nice example of a film from that %HESITATION already signed area that is actually really challenging said technology at the time yes you know I was wondering if you if that was something that he thought of I know you don't ma'am may be necessary to USA a static so much no I love it and the stakes are so much wonderful part of the horror film and a film history and even the history of a statics becomes I think so fascinating as you're rightly pointing out and I love it and I do try to write about it and I and I love the pier you're talking about because you know there's moments in film and I think we some of us have lived through it with the rise of C. GI the rise of digital projection the rise of motion capture where new technologies because a major change to cinema and this happens I think in some ways very much constantly you know the film theorist Andre Bazin used to say that film is constantly evolving which meant in his mind and I'm paraphrasing that still has yet to be invented exactly because it's always turning as he said rightly into something else you always turning into something else I think what you're pointing out that so crucial is there are particular moments of major technological upheaval because much more maybe profound change than at other moments and the introduction of sound was very clearly one of them but on that point you're pointing out of early sound is so profound because and I write about it in my next forthcoming journal article is for the journal popular film music and it's about the seconds all talking film in America which was called the terror it was released in the second half of nineteen twenty eight a lot of people would have you been seen it in the Halloween season of nineteen twenty eight and it was based on a story by Edgar Wallace and it was one of these kind of we would call them old dark house stories that were popular at the time where a lot of people gather either in an old house original tale in the middle of the night people getting start getting killed and even if the killer turns out to be just somebody wearing a mask there's a feeling that maybe there's the supernatural is a play and so forth it was the first of what we I suppose in retrospect would call a horror movie Insel neck it's playing with sound no it doesn't do it nearly as well as and because your use of and is the very best example and obviously by one of the master renters and one of the master directors who became emigrate as you rightly point out to Hollywood has never some of the others like Karl Freund who work with laying the great cinematographer who came from Germany to America ended up shooting Dracula in nineteen thirty one unit of directing one of the early universal horrors that follow Dracula which was the mummy in nineteen thirty two some people will probably think of it maybe the %HESITATION the Tom Cruise version or something in recent times you never know the remakes or the re inventions of these bottles so much of that was with the immigrate culture or stories coming from other countries and the terror was a British story but what most interestingly did it's a lost film but we have the sound discs because some of the first talkies they would have what was basically the equitable large record if you can imagine a large audio record music record and it would play in sync with the film being projected it was not a great system I mean if somebody bumps the needle the sound would be a synchronous and had a problem but for some early talkies even after lost films we cannot watch the films there's photographs from the terrible we can't watch it but the sound discs are there %HESITATION and I was able to access them and write about them for the first time and we start to get which you would probably expect in film sample we still get it and we'll get it in I suspect like the next conjuring film or what have you and ideas the sound of the human screened for the first time we get the sound of the screen but we also get the sound of the storm the sound of heavy winds through the trees and some of the sounds that we associate it certainly before film sound people associated with things that were frightening you know a lightning bolt or whatever that might frighten a child were you know a pet dog or whatever and they start to show up in the terror the very first time and it becomes very quickly adopted as a static in subsequent mystery horror films in nineteen twenty nine and thirty to the extent that by nineteen thirty there was a comedy a short that you can find on you tube called the laurel party murder case with laurel and hardy and third old house the middle the nights we can happen it's all take off on the second story you know to an extent knives out in more recent times has done some of this so again you know this never goes away keeps being reinvented but in the long run hardy version they so overdue the sound effects as to parity it's a fascinating example in nineteen thirty only a couple of years after you know a few years after sounds felt they were already prepared like we're laying on extra thick for the joke and then taught Browning immediately after makes Dracula in sound what you were asking about and he forgoes heavy thunder and lightning he for ghosts spooky music in favor of much more subtle sound effects like complete quiet except the creaking of the coffin lid opening in and trying to be much more restrained and it's so interesting because it is such an early point in film sound relatively speaking I mean you know three four years he's pulling back rather than laying it on thick and so it's interesting how these things you know can sometimes evolve quickly and how much is that expire role in the horror film including sound whether it's the spooky music or the spooky sound effects or the silence dates for the silence and that's what some of us love the most or or sometimes in horror films it's another reason to think so wonderfully about silent films it's a reason to think about parts of Dracula the talk Browning which are no music no dialogue I think one of the interesting things and we we have guests have the old phrase deals slang phrase you know that silence speaks volumes or phrases like that it it you know in America grew up hearing phrases like that may be used to get me to shut up but you know it was you know there is that I think that's one of the great things it's it's like you know when you can have a special effect when you can have moving camera sometimes the makers forget that they can let it stay still when you can collect extremely rapidly filmmaker sometimes forget that they can have slow paced and when you can do anything with still sound incredible possibilities now we can forget sadly what you've just rightly mentioned which is silence can be so very powerful even when the first impulse is to have twelve tracks or more audio going at once but just because you can use technology in a certain way doesn't mean we always you don't have to and so that's a wonderful point and certainly I think very salient for horror films you know you mentioned earlier it might be nice to see see what your connection with Irish and amazed because it may not seem immediately obvious horror and already sent a man and Irish cinema isn't enough we could get inside because I think there are there are a lot of connections there I suppose a nice segue would probably be interview with a vampire Neil Jordan if we need a Segway yes yes the way to connect a couple of these things when we first met you were teaching our cinema and dot really sparks at massive interested me because I'd had an interest in Irish literature when I was at school and then was really came to carry that on I'm excited in English and film degree so I was saying I researcher Hans Irish film and that sort of thing so is wondering what you know what you're interested in our nation well I I really appreciate that questioning and you remind me so happily of my arrival in Ireland but also so I try to be unflappable that's impossible and one of the spookiest moments and not a horror films okay but I guess it's a nervous moments was when I walked in to teach that course because I felt a little out of place not only is it immigrate myself and living in another country for the first time but I felt I felt a little %HESITATION I would never want to be seen presumptuous in teaching a course on Irish cinema in Ireland I had taught Irish semi actually America previous a couple of times what I ate that was a bit nervous actually going in to teach all of you because I thought gosh I feel ill at ease real ill informed maybe you know to take all that long since as an American and in Belfast what I suppose my interest would be two fold in and one I think it started with horror and they're certainly these tremendous connections between horror and Ireland Irish literature Irish folklore from obviously the pain she threw a film I saw and I I don't think a lot of Irish film scholars I don't know that any of never really talked about it much but when I was ten twelve years old I I was in love with horror movies I was also in love with Francis Ford Coppola who directed the godfather films in Apocalypse Now and early in his career he had made a film called dementia thirteen right early nineteen sixties and it was a gothic horror story set in Ireland it was actually shot in Ireland and you know it's readily available on YouTube it's rather well known film in terms of coklat studies because it was basically a second film but I think Irish film studies it's completely unknown connections go deeper I mean stoker was Anglo Irish they're such a great tradition of Irish gothic novels and as I grew my interest in horror I grew in my interest at heart literature as well as horror films so there's all these fantastic connections and Irish horror stories on film but the other thing to happen to me when I was a teenager was by about the age of thirteen and of course you know I grew up in the state of Oklahoma I grew up in a town that I will in American terms certainly most terms would probably consider small town twenty five thousand people I grew up in I guess I'm trying to think of the the best way to say it but it probably a and as a native American everything you know kind of a masculine type culture in terms or that parameters and so John Huston's films spoke to me greatly as a teenager his films like the Maltese falcon an African queen and these films with Humphrey Bogart who was one of the great cinema tough guys and you know his later films like the man who would be king was Sean Connery and Michael Caine and you know you can kind of see probably quickly understand maybe or or see that you know kind of okay a lot of his films in his life %HESITATION I became fast about Houston's life he was quite an explorer and hunter and you know very masculine and all that very much human waves kind of hit me way of twentieth century American cinema and he was deeply interested in Irish literature and by the time I was in high school he was making his film the debt based on choice and there was a credible documentary film made about it Houston and show the behind the scenes footage showed in talking at length this is before the kind of making of featurettes we know today by by a large number some examples but they weren't it was before DVD years before that cottage industry so to speak so I S. I became entranced by the time I was sixteen and seventeen I became entranced with James Joyce and the dead when Houston said in his mind it was probably the greatest short story ever written in the English language that spoke volumes to me the film version he made which I found to be quite faithful I'm talking at length for question and now maybe exploring what might interest came from these different angles from horror as well as Joyce and then about that same time Beckett because I was also one of my other favorites as a teenager was a Buster Keaton and Samuel Beckett had made keeping film later in king's life of course and and it kind of all on guard film and I was I was also getting in transfer you know it's easy to romanticize thing when you're a teenager and I you know the passion for it all and I was and I was getting interested in basket because of his work with Keaton and I was particularly intrigued because Kevin brown will have made this incredible documentary about cheating and he had forty two Keaton's saying you know you didn't even understand the film you know which I think yes he's one of the yeah exactly the genius filmmakers in my mind he said he didn't quite understand it but he liked packet and everything so I was coming in Ireland for all these different directions to conclude I would say that in the night you know in the nineteen nineties America really what Americans always had this love affair with Ireland is regrettable exceptions during some immigration periods baby in the nineteenth century and so forth but there's a lot of love affairs in in the later twentieth century certainly from you know everybody you know celebrating St Patrick's day to the nineties when the commitments particularly the film version you too there was a particular love affair with a different times before in the sixties I think with JFK for a lot of people but in the nineties it was like it was Neil Jordan and Jim Scherr instills were exploding onto the scene my left footed one you know at the academy award and Chris I was graduating from high school and about to start university right at that moment then there's you too and I particularly fell in love like I heard it on the radio and I was driving I mean I remember the moment so clearly I was driving down I. forty in Oklahoma City are your state that runs around a lot of America and I'm burning down the highway in an old car the only one I could afford at the time I'm burning on the highway and this voice comes on the radio this band what I didn't know the name and I had to ask a friend later that day who is singing this and it was the cranberry so you're gonna set but you know I heard including that kind of Irish weighed in at the end of the song which went from the Irish but meeting pop music even more Irish sound at the end of it just seem to speak to me in ways and again as a more romantic young person a romantic maybe more the German sense of that term my great grandfather was from Ireland cord so on Cherokee and mainly that but I'm you know I have a McCord whose family was actually from the north of Ireland even America from Cork and I've met him once is a little tiny child very memories on more work well on all of that and so I had that connection to Ireland as well so forgive this long biography ladies that I fell in love with this and then I fell in love with an Irish woman who was in America and all roads lead you know what I had to leave but I had to leave and it was this tremendous love affair I cannot tell you how achingly I miss Carrickfergus my favorite places how much I've missed the Belfast city centre the people there there's so many Dunluce there were so many places I like to go and go repeatedly I just unending love affair if it helps any I'm just thinking back said you saying you felt a bit of %HESITATION this American coming in and telling the sorry students about our cinema I don't think one of us ever saw thought not not one of us ever so thought we we were all really excited to he's American he's because so many of us hadn't met an actual American person so many of us just hadn't traveled very much and a lot of us had never even met people from the other side of Belfast because we were that generation that was emerging from the call list yes you know and this is so this is two thousand five and stuff so things were really only just opening up properly at is it took a few years after the agreement relay and a lot of assets I mean may I was the first time ever had friends from west Belfast for example I never never really met anybody from not far away before and then suddenly there's this bona fide Americans whose proper proper American you know and it was so exciting for us to relate maybe sorry maybe improper puts your to your to clients but it was it was such a joy because everyone was so welcoming I mean that was one of the great things about about living hearing role was the generosity and the charity and the welcoming nature of of the entirety of the island you know it was just like a beautiful thing so so it's so nice to hear that and it didn't seem like such a fascinating moment at that point one of my biggest memories of Belfast at that moment was the sheer number of cranes %HESITATION yes construction rains around the city it seems like a truly under construction obviously and reconstruction with the cranes but it felt to an outsider and admittedly neophytes our eyes to Belfast it seems almost as metaphorical as it did physical construction cranes and this coming together of peoples and and I suppose some of my great memories stand would have been with the film students and how film students working together on projects from those two different communities and film production or film studies in you know bringing them together it was really a remarkable moment in Belfast you know it really was it's so nice to remember all that actually it's so good to hear your side of it I mean we all just felt like kids you know so we didn't know what where you come from or anything and but that was back at that time when I think students and certainly undergraduate ins had reverence for he ever researching them it didn't matter who they were what age they were or whatever the person at the front of the class was the authority and that was it I mean if we didn't even think to question anything like that where is I think it's become very different certainly my experience was very different when I was teaching it's so good to hear it from your experiences while because I think we even though we were from there we were it was all new to us as well so that's pretty interesting to think about it that way yeah well it's it was it was a wonderful period and one of the my favorite periods you know as we look back and there's sometimes a few years that we're so happy here and sometimes maybe a year to that's not and so forth I was one of the happiest periods in my life and a lot of it was queens and was filmed queens and was all of you there and and of course you know the tremendous colleagues who were there at that time like because overall and and Raymond in the network you know some people who are no longer even at queens that moved on or retired but it was quite a %HESITATION wonderful meeting of everyone I think Cynthia I have very special memories Terry said Kerry is there anything we haven't covered that you would like to touch on just so thankful for having me %HESITATION that allowing me the chance to chat and chat probably chat too much but I I love talking about obviously all these issues and %HESITATION so it's it's great to have the opportunity to do so I have so enjoyed it it's been great because I mean we've known each other for a long time but I think this is the first time I've heard a lot of all of thought so that's been really a treat for me and it's been so good to catch up it's been a while and yeah it's good to reminisces while back home with somebody who loves to fight yes indeed it well even hear your accent now and back to hearing American accents every day and some of them are quite nice but I miss the accents of people essentially ready but but it was such a beautiful thing really the Irish accents from throughout the island needles are are are so beautiful and almost melodic to here and I miss that so much I sometimes I had to you know with some of the Belfast people talking so quickly I had to listen very carefully well I got I got better at it over time so it's great to hear even the accent I missed so much well it's great to hear you eating yeah come thank you enough for your time saying this it's been really really fun and I hope pretty informative for lots of people as well it certainly has been for me to sign K. ands take care and all the best with everything you're working on thanks so very much all the best to you and all of the listeners including as we trudge out hopefully soon the last of the hand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s