#13 August 2002 WEB OF ETERNITY edited by Cary Loren PAGE 1 of 13


the films of Cary Loren -- interview by "Fuzz-O" Dolman

So how old were you when you were shooting this stuff? What was going on in your life? My first camera was a simple 8 mm my father had in the late 1950s -- it took 16 mm film that you exposed, flipped over and then was cut -- i picked it up when I was about 12 so that was around ‘67-- i traded for a super 8 when i was about 15 and got more involved with it during high-school and later in Ann Arbor...i liked the idea of rearranging and recording my environment -- i studied classical guitar since i was about seven and film became an outlet and release from the stiff structure of that.
In grade school i was hooked on afternoon movies -- Bill Kennedy -- Rita Bell’s million dollar movie -- especially the monster films on Shock Theater and Creature Features -- i began a Mad Scientist club with meetings in our basement that would consist of recreating horror and monster films -- we would resurrect Frankenstein’s monster and do zombie plays -- we’d construct homemade spook houses to scare kids on the block -- so there was this attraction to theater/film fairly early...all this led to making up fantasies and filming them --

Were the films ever shown publicly?
During high school they were shown at weekend pot parties. They were backdrops for stoner happenings -- once we screened some at a high-school pop-art “Happening” -- this was a class project for a progressive teacher which i helped plan with some friends (Lynn, the future Niagara, and Maha/Colleen, now my wife) that was 1972 and almost caused a riot -- when the lights went out everything went wild -- people were passing joints -- there was freeform live music -- snake dancers --costumes -- people in masks -- things spread into the hallways -- it was the real rock and roll high school! -- on occasion i took films up to Ann Arbor during the 8mm film festivals and had some screened there--

I don’t know much about the technical aspect of film and cinematography but I see a lot of double exposure – what were some other techniques you used? I was a big fan of underground cinema -- and did similar crazy stuff like painting on frames -- scratching on emulsion -- using bleach/ vegetable color dyes, magic markers, chemical toners, anything -- i couldn’t afford the cost of fancy splicers so scotch tape and razor blades were used -- I love layering film -- excessive super imposition -- we have this capacity to process more and more visual information and speed has something to do with it -- we follow things quicker today with sight but with less understanding -- the layering of film is related to this processing and chance, you never know exactly what the effect will be -- in one sense film is just background -- like psychedelic light shows -- they get into your mind and behave like a drug -- they alter your mood, or they become like a fireplace, something to gaze into.
Music is another layer and just as important, they work together and somehow react and enhance each other but film rarely gets deep into your awareness. Both mediums work like a universal language -- the world reduced to sound and sight. When speech enters the equation it generally gets fucked up. This isn’t meant to condemn movies with spoken word, it's just that the majority are commercial nonsense -- the best movies are when the talking is turned off -- i believe the silent era produced superior, more intense films, with denser construction. Everything else has been a commentary, like jazz riffs on early cinema.

This is more of a musical question but it’s a pretty heavy moment in the film – how did the song “You Can’t Kill Kill” come about? That was written on LSD and formed a series of songs written about the Manson family -- they were meant to be worked into this one film called the BLOOD OF GOD -- which mixed the serial killings up with a UFO invasion, and Jesus as a UFO pilot -- the film was never finished but parts appear in GROW LIVE MONSTERS near the end.

What is the significance of “The 9th Day” painted in “blood”? The 9th day was an “explosion of negativity” -- in Judaism, the 9th day of Av refers to the day both temples of Jerusalem were destroyed -- usually a day of fasting and atonement -- 9th day of Av has been this historic day of destruction; the Spanish Inquisition, destruction of the temples and also the day Hitler signed the papers of the final solution.... the title referenced the blood spilled in the Nazi concentration camps, the weird/sick Auschwitz science experiments of Josef Mengele, and the slave labor musicians that would play as you came off the trains and entered the crematoriums -- (blending music and mass murder was the height of destruction / evil -- just unimaginable) -- in the film there’s a scene where i’m vomiting blood and stabbing a pineapple (a symbol of anarchism and bombs) -- i also strangle myself and bang my head with the pineapple -- total annihilation -- the 9th day is considered the day in which the messiah will come -- so out of darkness comes light -- the tiny white mice inside the valentine heart was a symbol of light -- and Niagara in the role of a vampire pretends to eat one. I was just watching that on the second anniversary of 9/11 -- another destructo 9th...

Another musical question, brought on by the visuals: did Niagara really play violin during your jams? Sort of -- she would get awful scratching sounds out of it -- there was this hour-long, painful noise piece we did, playing along with the sci-fi classic film THEM as background -- It's rough listening, but an almost symphonic piece -- the violin scratching echoes the electronic soundtrack of the giant ants -- i think the violin makes a good visual prop.

Who are some of the freaks in the cast? Like the guy with the Ron Mael moustache? Or the guy in the x-ray spex sharpening a knife? The “JEW” who is the victim of the cannibalistic orgy? What kind of statement were you making with the “JEW” image? Who’s the guy with the ‘fro who gets his hand eaten? The guys in jockstraps with guns? The king w/scepter who emerges from a coffin? His bride? The queen who is carried on her throne? The guy in gold pants doing Iggy-type moves in somebody’s backyard? Who are the kids making faces? Most of the cast freaks were grade school friends from metro Detroit or people from the Ann Arbor scene -- I don’t know if they’d prefer to be unknown or not -- the guy playing Hitler was Robert, a school friend who’s now a vice-president in a large pharmaceutical company -- the guy sharpening the knife was Gary from high school, and he died of AIDS -- the Jew was played by Link Yako -- a player in the Ann Arbor comix scene -- there was no “statement” other than the film was about Auschwitz -- so i used signs to identify “the JEW” etc... -- it was really an exaggeration, a pantomime -- I may have just seen ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS -- so it was kind of a dialogue with the sickness of that film -- the cannibalism was used to show the sacrificial and depraved nature of the camps -- i was reading some magic and kabbalah stuf -f- so that was always working in -- the afro/beatnik was David Keeps, a grade-school friend and early manager of DAM, he became an editor of Details magazine, a pseudo-hip fashion rag from New York -- he produced a line of “Niagara wear” with her images on underwear, t-shirts and coffee mugs... the guys in jockstraps were Tim Burton and ? -- that was an early film shot in Northern Michigan when we were about 15 -- the king (really a wizard), was a high school friend and talented writer named Joel Katz who also died of AIDS -- that coffin scene was shot in my bedroom, junior year of high school -- my parents came home unexpectedly from vacation and walked in on this wild scene with costumed actors in bathing suits all over the house -- they took it pretty good -- the bride was the “fairy princess” Mindy, a close friend of Joel's -- the Queen is Niagara (if you're referring to the outdoors shot with the procession and giant light bulbs) -- the Iggy impersonator was this tough guy from high school -- Dave Waite -- i did a film with him in my parents basement called ELMO THE GEEK that’s lost somewhere... the kids making faces are either my delinquent relatives or neighborhood kids...

Where was the mermaid vs. lobster monster scene filmed? Lake Ontario? Is the mask that one character wears a tribute to the cover of Trout Mask Replica? I like the passers by, like the three jogging he-men – they look like they’re running straight out of television commercial! Was it a popular beach? Did you get any reaction? The mermaid/giant lobster scene was filmed on Miami Beach -- we decided to drive down and make this lobster film -- the mask was made by Jim Shaw -- and was a close replica of the Captain Beefheart Trout Mask. Miami Beach was pretty crowded -- people would just stroll by as we filmed, or they’d look and keep going -- Niagara had band-aids taped to her nipples and somehow glued flower petals over that -- she could only move her feet an inch in the mermaid costume -- she also dyed her hair this bright pink fuchsia color -- it was quite a site, and i wanted to film just before sunset, to get that rich “golden look.”

Where’d you get that great Iggy footage? Personal archives? I think that came from a Stooges performance at Ford Auditorium, Detroit in the early 70s -- it was incredibly low light and luckily some came out --

Did you film kids leaving a high school? Compared to the 80s and 90s I grew up in, they ALL look like freaks and hippies!
i filmed in the Berkley high school parking lot 1971-73 -- everyone hung out there and smoked pot -- you were either a freak or a jock -- things changed pretty quickly (for the worse) after '73 -- that was a short clip taken from a much longer high school film.

What was it about 1973? A couple things: I started to notice how the pleasurable and psychedelic drugs like pot and acid were being replaced by downers, animal tranqs, and chic drugs like cocaine -- disco rock and bad arena rock had also begun to take over the popular music scene -- freeform radio was on its last legs -- media was now firmly in control of commercial hucksters, and this trend seems to have continued, although there are blips of zines, DIY labels, and internet sites like Blastitude which have made inroads...DAM and punk rock were one reaction to the MOR format...

Did you do the skeleton/cowgirl animation? Most of the animations were done at my parents' house during high school. The black and white/hand colored sequence with the skeleton, George Washington and the Witch (no cowgirl) was done in b/w 16 mm in Ann Arbor.

Another question about the actors – when I first rented Grow Live Monsters, from Hard Boiled in Chicago, the clerk asked me if I knew if Tim Burton, the director of Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Batman, et al, was in the movie, because his name was in the credits, and he was originally from Detroit, but no one could spot him. Was it the Hollywood Tim Burton or someone else with the same name? That’s pretty funny -- no my Tim Burton is a different Tim Burton --

How did the video release come about? Were those Plan 9 From Outer Space clips added? And some of those effects look digital . . . were those added then as well? In 1995, a boxed set of of our music came out: Destroy All Monsters 1974-1976 (Ecstatic Peace/Father Yod). That release inspired us to do some reunion gigs at the same time i reissued the art zines we did in the 70s as the book: Destroy All Monsters: Geisha This. So i thought i would put parts of these films out before they deteriorated further -- I had about twenty 400’ reels of super 8 mm and one reel of 16 mm and just edited scenes out of them -- they were reshot with a large VHS camera while being projected, so the quality isn’t that good --
I had this friend Mog that began a noise band called Princess Dragonmom, he began a small production video studio called Chrome Bumper. He did some video for the Boredoms and was familiar with DAM -- Quigly, a technician at the studio did most of the work with me. It was a bare-bones operation.
The clips (like the Ed Wood) were added in the studio -- it was hard to resist the digital gimmicks -- being in a studio for the first time, i wanted to see what could be done -- it would be edited completely differently today. There are electronic ways of doing transfers i didn’t know about at the time and i was trying to keep the film under an hour. DAP and Forced Exposure distributed most of these items.

Dude, is that you sitting cross-legged, shirtless, smoking a joint and performing occult rituals?
That’s Leo Pennock, a friend from high school. He was also in ELMO THE GEEK. The pentagram ritual was filmed in my bedroom under red lights. I broke out all my occult books.

Sometimes I think every horror movie made since the Sharon Tate murders refers to it, often overtly but also covertly. Yours too, sometimes overtly. Just out of curiosity, did you see Thou Shalt Not Kill, Except . . ., featuring a thrill kill cult led by a Manson-type figure played by Sam Raimi? It was filmed in the Detroit area. No -- i never saw that film but will try and check it out -- the Manson family has entered the realm of myth -- it was a symbolic end to the 1960s -- the dark side of the hippie movement, murders following the “roads of excess” -- he was the modern Rasputin -- since Manson there’s been this cult status surrounding all serial killers, people follow them like sport stars.

I can probably guess a few, such as Jack Smith, but what are some of your favorite filmmakers and films? (Both underground and aboveground, as applicable.) I’ll try and do this briefly, but there is so much.... first, the great silent films: Ben Hur, Broken Blossoms, Greed, The Wedding March, Merry Widow -- everything Von Stroheim did -- he’s the shits, the deep devil-god of film -- just beautiful mad visions -- Melies is great, a tremendous innovator right at the beginning -- Carl Dreyer films, Murnau’s FAUST, Cocteau’s BLOOD OF A POET, recently i saw AELITA QUEEN OF MARS, a rediscovered Soviet masterpiece which surfaced from Stalin’s film vaults, it has amazingly designed costumes and sets -- art deco on acid -- it came out a few years before METROPOLIS but seems to have inspired it.
One of my all-time favorites is Von Sternberg’s THE SCARLET EMPRESS (1934) -- one of the most intense decadent visual works -- watching it can induce a trance -- also James Whale's THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, one of the best written, acted and designed horror films.
       Most of Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone’s films are incredible -- with Leone the story lines are kinda blurry, but his imagination explodes on screen -- Morricone’s music is brilliant -- just magic --music telling the story -- they usually worked out the music way before the filming began -- few directors get the importance of it -- Scorsese gets it -- but the story telling usually wins out in the end.
I probably soaked up the most from Jack Smith -- he had this unearthly, beautiful imagination -- living every moment in this ornamental fairyland vision he created... his approach and comic timing was brilliant. Jack always promoted the MARIA MONTEZ films as the Rosetta Stone of camp classics. They’ve become difficult films to locate but I’ve been searching them out.
In the early 70s i tried to catch all the Warhol and John Waters releases -- I was a great fan of Warhol’s -- his stuff was so plain and simple, just deadpan, flat and boring technique, but they are mesmerizing films that you can’t stop watching... Everything about those films were crappy except “the superstars” -- everything seemed so fantastic in that raw New York City world. I even began to admire all the bad lighting, poor dubbing, and miscues -- Warhol exposed the rough edges, making deconstructed movies that just seemed to expose more about what film is truly about -- They were great comedies that were funny just by being truthful.
I would also list Kenneth Anger’s INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASUREDOME, Bunuel’s VIRDIANA & UN CHIEN ANDALOU, Fellini’s JULIET OF THE SPIRITS... Maya Deren’s MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON, the Harry Smith animations... there’s a lot of great underground films, but they rarely are seen -- Mystic Video had been putting some amazing things out, but they seem to be in sleep mode lately.
I recently saw the Incredible String Band documentary BE GLAD FOR THE SONG HAS NO ENDING, and it's one of the most beautiful 60s film recordings of any band -- SUN RA: A JOYFUL NOISE is another good one.
Benjamin Christensen’s HAXAN is a great bizarre documentary about the history of witchcraft done in 1922. Louis Feuillade’s classic FANTOMAS series was a silent serial that made a big impression with the surrealists, a lavish 2 volume French DV set is available. I was gifted a copy last year from Ben Schot, a Dutch artist and publisher, and produced FANTOMASH, a half-hour compilation with a Monster Island soundtrack.
I'd also like to recommend DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS, written and directed by George Barry -- a recently discovered, obscure 70s cult film... a very odd piece of horror; a twisted black-arts fairytale, with an Oscar Wilde sensibility -- it was just released by Cult Epics (www.cultepics.com) These guys also released Walerian Borowczyk's lowbrow masterpiece : THE BEAST, a very strange work of Kafkaesque porn-art -- if you have the time and stomach, I'd recommend watching both as a kind of "Turkish Delight" double-feature...

Elmo the Geek 1972 (color super 8 mm)
High School 1971-1973 (color 8mm and super 8mm)
Silver Coffins of Venus 1973 (color super 8)
Iconoclastic Holocaustic Age of the Lobster and Return of the Spiders 1972-1974 (color and black and white 8 mm)
The 9th Day 1974-1975 (color super 8)
The Horror of Beatnik Beach 1975 ( color super 8)
The Church of Anthrax 1974-1975 (color and black and white super 8)
Blood of God 1974-1976 ( color and black and white 16mm)

Video Releases:
Grow Live Monsters 1995 (selections from filmwork)
Shake a Lizard Tail or Rust-belt Rump 1996
Clear Day 1996
Strange Frut: Detroit Culture part 1 1998
Kick Out the Jams Motherfucker! the MC5 Live! 1999 (with Leni Sinclair)

DVD (limited editions)
The Candy Golom 2001
Fantomash 2002
Fear Finder 2002- 2003
Bands Against Bush: Monster Island and THTX 2003



#13 August 2002 WEB OF ETERNITY edited by Cary Loren PAGE 1 of 13

End is Here I was a Jack Smith love slave Infinite Black Darkness, Infinite White Darkness Buried Alive Rock and Revolution, photos by Leni Sinclair Aesthetics of UFOs by Mike Kelley Wallace Berman Angus MacLise Father Yod  Ira Cohen Akira Ikufube Swampy Lagoon Index Ray Johnson