If this blog isn't enough self-torture for you, get your butt over to Collaboraction Sound Stage on Wednesday, September 30, to witness Francis Ford Iowa on the big screen.
That's right, two surprise selections from FFI will be projected to the horror (I mean, "delight") of the audience at this month's Goat Show. Joining me at this party/potluck/concert/film event will be musicians The Thin Man, Abby G, and Anacron, as well as visual artist Liviu Pascare. I bet none of their stuff stars a garbage bag as the main character. Whoops, did I just hint at my feature presentation?
At long, long last, a movie I'm not embarrassed to post!
Long overdue (and sorely welcome) was the debut performance of Matt N. He plays Eugene, a budding lunatic whose dense psychotherapist is too busy shooting up (and smoking joints and snorting coke and weilding power drills) to notice that his client is about to freak the hell out. Nearly every joke in this movie was a reference to something Matt N. and I found funny in our high school Psychology class. For example: "They told me it was to control my salivation!"
The opening credits (set to the Three Amigos theme!) features the only known use of a tripod in a Danman Production. It also features the only voice-over (done by playing a tape recorder next to the camera). And here's a behind-the-scenes story to pluck yer heartstrings: Joe, our resident superstar, had recently had his foot torn off (and reattached) in a pretty gnarly farm accident. He was bedridden for months, but would that stop me from working him into the movie? No way. Thus: "Guest Starring Joe Adam as Professor Higgins."
Word on the street was that the Pyschology teacher continued to show this in class for years after we graduated. Yet not a single point of extra credit rolled our way. That, my friends, is what you call a travesty.
Best quote: "Sorry, doc, I can't come in. It's Bug Week on the Discovery Channel."
As the feature presentations themselves got bigger and bolder, the trailers that preceded them got worser and worser. As if the preview to Como Estas? hadn't been offensive enough, Como Estats? Dos! claims to be from both Spain and Mexico. I can only hope that joke was intentional.
Following that is a bona fide trailer. See, I was planning something big. Real big. It was called The Godfathers and it was to be my magnum opus. So sure was I that The Godfathers would set the world a-tizzy that I shot this teaser. Unfortunately, the result is hands-down the dullest thing I ever made. Oh my god, is it dull. This did not bode well for the feature film.
After that is a pretty miserable joke called Home Alone in the Field of Dreams followed by a commercial that takes advantage of the early-90s hackeysack craze (remember that?) by focusing on a Japanese sack I had come across with the words "Naughty elephant" printed on it. Look, I can spin backstories all day long, but it's not gonna make these videos any more bearable.
If anyone was qualified to take on the Catholic Church, it was me and my merry band of teenage yo-yos. Thus this excruciatingly paced drama/thriller about a boy's sleuthing into the life of a murderous priest. That priest is played by Joe in another hilariously goofball performance, but you gotta slog through about nearly twenty minutes before you get to hear him whine, "Surely they couldn't have found the checklist of my wife's murderers!" That's good writin', Kraus.
Why is this movie so damn complicated? I've watched this three times now and I still can't follow it. Thankfully, nothing is confusing for the first seven minutes. Why? Because the movie begins with a seven-minute opening credit sequence. It kicks off with classical, smash cuts to Pearl Jam, and segues oh so smoothly to Enya. Yes, Enya. I had no shame. (Footnote: many years later, when shooting the book trailer for The Monster Variations, I shot in the same cemetery as the one in the Enya scene. Truth!)
Some notes on the actors:
* Father Sin featured our first return character. Officer Bill Johansen, so manly and commanding in The Blob, is once again played to jittery perfection by Ben. Along the way he gets to say a bunch of cool crap like, "Comprende?"
* Leading man Mike, in his first Danman appearance, steals the show with his guitar wailing. Mike had talent, real talent, and since we at Danman Productions had never seen talent before, all we could do is gape at it like morons during the gratuitous shredding scene.
* Matt K. also made his debut as the Cajun bum. Why Cajun? Because Matt K. did a pretty good Cajun accent. Unfortunately, the accent completely swallows the highly important exposition (that he's clearly reading off the script because, like the rest of us, he couldn't follow the plot, either).
* Shad had gone off to college at this point, and his status was clearly "elder statesman." I mean, his cameo role was Mike's dad, for chrissakes. I'm surprised we didn't make him use a walker.
* Julie, the unheralded workhorse who quietly slaved away in practically every single Danman Production ever, is mysteriously absent. But no! Those wedding hands at the beginning are hers. It's a brutal injustice that she was left out of the credits, and to make up for it, I've tagged her name to this entry. I'm sure that makes up for the decades of grief and therapy my oversight caused.
Hi. My name is Daniel Kraus. I'm a novelist and filmmaker.
When I was growing up in Iowa, I made movies with my friends.
Many of them were remakes of movies I liked, like MISERY or
THE GODFATHER. Others were originals.
All of them were awful. Now, to lead up to the publication of my new book, THE MONSTER VARIATIONS, I'm blogging my old movies chronologically for your enjoyment. Let's feel the pain together.