Tribeca Filmmaker Cries Foul Over Slashed Horror Flicks


Expect to find me bumping around this year's Tribeca Film Festival, which opens Wednesday night in New York with the Gala! World! Premiere! (unless you were at ShoWest, but whatever) of Woody Allen's latest, Whatever Works. I'll be covering screenings, events, moderating a Q&A and making all the hard decisions that come from attending any festival, like, "Can I make this Gary Coleman appearance at Union Square work with the Natalie Portman chat down in SoHo 30 minutes later?" Help! (Though I do know what to recommend -- stay tuned.)

But at least one filmmaker today made such Sophie's choices a lot easier: Ti West (above), the microbudget horror auteur who isn't wasting any time discouraging viewers from seeing seeing his film The House of the Devil this weekend -- precisely because to hear him tell it, it's not his in the first place.

In fairness, West's discouragement is generally more implied than expressed in an interview published today at Spout; maybe it's the sulphur smell in the air, or the bitter pangs of memory more commonly attributed to aggrieved directors twice his age. In any case he's quoted as saying his producers test-screened Devil to audiences (without West's knowledge) for maximum fest saleability, soon shearing away four minutes of Jocelin Donahue walking around the titular residence. Even West admits its "slow," but hey -- "The movie's called House of the fucking Devil -- it's gonna get there":

"The reason it's such a bummer is that it's not going to accomplish anything that [the producers] think it's going to accomplish. They're like, 'We think it's slow.' Well, the whole fucking movie is slow, so [why take out] one four minute section that's like really good if you like slow stuff? If you don't like slow stuff, you'll probably walk out before then, anyway. If you don't like the movie, not having that in there isn't going to help. I don't think slow is a negative thing. I think slow is just what the movie is."

As ringing endorsements go, West's Devil clarion call is nothing compared to his disavowal of Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever:

West describes his sequel to Eli Roth's breakout as "very like a Todd Solondz or John Waters movie -- very edgy social commentary type stuff." His cut bearing out that vision was finished in September 2007; Lionsgate, set to distribute the sequel, wasn't into it. [...] West says the film was recut from scratch, and that the new version "totally missed the point" of what he had initially set out to do. More time passed, "and then it got to the point where they were basically saying, 'We want to be able to call you once in a while, and call you the director, but you can't really do anything anymore.' So I just went, 'Eh, why don't you just finish it yourself."

That sounds as good as done. But at Tribeca, if and/or when the glacial integrity of Devil is restored before its premiere Saturday night, look here for word of peace accords. Or indie-horror wonk brawls, whichever comes first.

· Ti West Interview, The House of the Devil, Tribeca 2009 [Spout Blog]