Nightmare Cinema:
Q&A at The Parkway Theater (Part One)

June 30th, 2019

 “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” — Robert Frost

“This Way to Egress,” the fourth segment of our new anthology film Nightmare Cinema, is about finding a way back home. This weekend, after a year-long tour of international film festivals and a week of theatrical premieres across the country, the movie is having its western-Pennsylvania premiere at the Parkway Theater in Pittsburgh — my hometown.

Scattered among the audience were some old friends, family members, colleagues, and more than a few practitioners of local arts and culture: actors, writers, directors, cinephiles — the sort of people a homeboy wants to impress. Not surprisingly, I was a little anxious when the lights went down. But that passed quickly.

At left: Jumping the line at The Parkway Theater.

The audience laughed, cheers, and applauded in all the right places. And when the lights came up, a healthy contingent stayed around for the talkback session, which opened with a question from Liam Macik, former program director of Throughline Theater, who wanted to know how I felt about “Egress” seeming to stand apart from the other segments of the film.

It’s a fair question, for even though all the segments have separate personalities ranging from slasher-parody to giallo-homage to emo-horror, “Egress” instantly comes off as something different. From the first shot, when Elizabeth Reaser appears in high-contrast black and white, we know were in new territory.  As the trade magazine Variety puts it in a recent review, “Egress” is “the major outlier” in Nightmare Cinema.

And, yes — I’m fine with that. Coming as it does about ten minutes into the film’s second hour, “Egress” works as a seventh-inning stretch — a kind of non-comic relief after three segments that each contain touches of intentional humor. In a way, the tonal departure from the other segments allows “Egress” to benefit from association with the other works while making an impression all its own.

Another question offered a chance to talk about the inclusion of a “spider wrangler” in the film’s end credits. Did that refer to the CGI arachnids in Alejandro Bruges’s “This Thing in the Woods”?

Actually, no. But the answer to this one really warrants a post of its own. If you were at the Parkway last night, you heard part of the story, but it now occurs to me that the tale deserves a full blog post to do it justice. To that end, stop back here later this week for the full story, complete with photos of the creepy critters that auditioned for a “This Way to Egress” scene that never made the film’s final cut. Think of it as the Nightmare Cinema equivalent to the spider-pit scene from King Kong (see below). You won’t want to miss it.

Until then, watch out for meteors bearing eight-legged invaders … and scop on!

  1. This entry was posted on Sunday, June 30th, 2019 at 9:23 pm and is filed under 21st-Century Scop. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.

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