Tyrannosaurus Death!: A Conversation with Adam Volerich

This interview is a part of Issue #2: Breath. You can get your own physical copy of the zine through our store or Patreon.

Though we featured some of Adam Volerich’s still photography in our previous issue, he’s primarily a filmmaker. We’ve been big supporters of his work, through Magnalux Pictures or otherwise, at Secret Cave. His catalogue shines with ingenuity, off-beat humour and a deep respect for the power of location. With the release of his latest short-film, Tyrannosaurus Death!, we jumped at the opportunity to interview Adam about its production.

Below is a cropped sample page from our zine.…   [continue reading]

Antz and the Hero’s Journey

Does the use of ‘z’ as a plural mark something out as being shit? Boyz II Men certainly had me thinking so. But, through snippets and half-memories, I’d gathered that Antz had the kind of political undertones that set it aside from your run-of-the-mill ’90s kids film that plays fast and loose with plurals.

Even though I’d seen the film’s “another ant film” counterpart, A Bug’s Life, as a child, I wasn’t prepared for how much graver and sincere Antz would be. To say that it has political undertones would be a childish reading: The film’s opener contains a sign that reads “Free Time Is For Training”; not the first jab at dehumanization in the industrial age, and certainly not the last.…   [continue reading]

Written in Stone, When All Stones Erode

Often, we think of an artwork as absolute. Picasso’s work, for example, is simply Picasso’s work — unchanged over time. We’re aware that a digital JPEG of a painting will lose all of its tangible resonance, such as its finer brushstrokes. Yet, we still consider it to be a fair representation of an essential absolute. Those with a passing interest in art may even have some peripheral sense that a long life would naturally degrade the brilliance of a piece. But, outside of the exclusive world of art criticism and appreciation, it’s rare for us to consider the ways that an individual expression can evolve.…   [continue reading]

Blade Runner 2049 [REPORT & FIRST IMPRESSIONS]

This report features no plot details.

I wrote about Blade Runner 2049‘s first trailer here. Because the original film still stands as my favourite of all time (and has since I was fourteen-years-old), I was vitriolic in my ensuing cynicism. I thought a sequel would be ineffective in a number of ways. Firstly, Blade Runner itself is an enigma of spiralling complexity; all anchored by a simple central premise. Expanding on it, even faithfully, seemed a vacuous exercise in contrivance. More importantly, and of great concern, was the potential for a follow-up to dilute its parent. Trailers, and other promotional material, did nothing to quell my worries.…   [continue reading]

Adam Volerich Interview: Magnalux Pictures, Anxious Intensity and Existentialism

Adam Volerich is a storyteller. His devotion to such narratives has brought him to develop talents in a wide array of disciplines. Be it through writing, directing, editing, producing or more, Volerich is always able to convey something evocative and interesting. His passion and, self-proclaimed, anxious intensity make him an extremely promising young creative, with an enormous weight to his catalogue. Volerich has no apparent interest in slowing down either, instead pushing ever-forward into new territory.

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Reefer Madness (1936-1939) [COMMENTARY]

Reefer Madness
DIRECTOR: Louis J. Gasnier
STARRING: Dorothy Short, Kenneth Craig, Lillian Miles

Originally known as Tell Your Children, Reefer Madness has become infamous. Better known today as an archetypal “stoner” movie, it was first released in 1936 as church group propaganda.  As such, it’s full of nonsense.  Later re-cut in 1938 by Dwain Esper into an even more tawdry film, I honestly have no idea which version I have here.  Many consider it one of the best “bad movies”. For me, the current “bad movie” champion remains The Amazing Mr. X.  With a myriad of public domain movies still to come, there’s plenty of time for it to be dethroned….…   [continue reading]

Andrew DeYoung Interview: 555, Improvised Films, and ’90s VHS Tapes

Director Andrew DeYoung doesn’t get excited by scripts, beautiful lighting, or painstakingly manufacturing a perfectly orchestrated film. Andrew’s obsession is with the unintentional comedy of everyday interactions and tense situations. He often explores what happens when you mix actors with people who don’t know they’re on camera, and collates the best shots into a narrative.

After stumbling upon his first major release (555, which I reviewed here), I had to find out about him, his other films, his process and his inspirations. Partly because there’s very little information about it online, and partly because I needed to satisfy my curiosity after watching 555 and the rest of his work in one neurotic, coffee-fueled sprint at 5am.…   [continue reading]

Natural Signing Stone

One of the reasons I’ve lost interest in mainstream film is its utter unreality.  All too often, what I see portrayed on the screen holds almost no relation to the world.  However, i’m not saying I want every movie to be gritty and realistic.  It would simply be nice to relate on some level to the characters, setting or even pacing of a movie.  Rick Alverson, and directors like him, seem to be reacting to that with a tense fascination for the awkward.  That holds my interest much more, and i’m glad to see it increasingly seeping into popular culture.…   [continue reading]

555 Review: Greed, Jealousy, and Doomed Ambition in Nightmare Hollywood

Anyone who puts their work in the public eye — whether it’s writers, actors, musicians or directors — is torn between one main motivation and one main fear:

On one side, there’s the overwhelming desire to take the risk to show your work to other people. Go to an audition, pitch an article, send out demo tapes.

At the same time, there’s the crippling fear that you’re not worth anyone’s time. The fear you’re doomed to fail, living in perpetual obscurity, always looking for the one big break.

There’s no better setting to encapsulate this duality than Hollywood — the grim stage for nightmarish, disastrous satire like Mulholland Drive, Sunset Boulevard, Maps to the Stars, and now 555.…   [continue reading]

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962) [COMMENTARY]

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
DIRECTOR: Joseph Green
STARRING: Jason (Herb) Evers, Virginia Leith, Leslie Daniel

Completed in 1959, but not released until 1962, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die has one of the best titles I’ve ever come across. Produced in the same year as Attack of the Giant Leeches, it does a much better job of being coherent, likeable and gripping. Unfortunately, it devolves into a sexist and meandering plot. Its opening is strong enough to make it memorable, however. Overall an enjoyable hour with some genuinely disturbing moments!

From Wikipedia:

The main plot focuses upon a mad doctor who develops a means to keep human body parts alive.

…   [continue reading]