My phone buzzed.
"Sorry man, something came up, I won't be coming over tonight."
"What's her name?"
"lol how'd you guess. It's Helena. Fuck, Elena I guess. The brunette from karaoke."
I put the phone back. I guess I'd hit up the music solo. It wasn't the first time Eric had flaked on our weekly house show date.
Everything came easy to Eric. He splashed through life with this simple joy that seemed so foreign to someone like me. Women? Adored him. Jobs? Always there when he needed them, always easy to leave when he inevitably got bored. I felt blessed to have even found a part time job doing what I liked -- a small column on local music in the Oregonian, our city paper, while also working as a shop assistant at Powell's Books. Eric, on the other hand, managed to find enough DJ gigs to avoid a day job. He was attractive. A rough, bearded blond who seemed like he had just finished baling hay or hunting deer or whatever lumberjack fantasy his onlooker was concocting. More than that, he oozed confidence like pheromones. He looked at men like he could out-spit, out-piss, and out-fight any one of them. I knew he had never been in a fight. He looked at women like he was taking their clothes off, and they looked back like they didn't mind.
I turned on the stove. The show started in an hour, so I probably had time for a quick dinner. Eggs and toast would have to do, seeing as that's all I had left. I threw on some coffee to complete the breakfast-at-dusk theme. Thinking better of it, I poured the remainder of the bulldog whiskey into the coffee. The concoction was truly abysmal, but would have to serve as a necessary pregame to attending a show alone.
I hated walking into the house shows the most. Once the music actually began I was happy enough to hide myself in the crowd, anonymous, just another awkward observer with a notepad in one hand and a cheap beer in the other. Everyone would be high anyways. If I was lucky, perhaps on something stronger, no one would notice me.
I waited for the eggs to finish. I always either undercooked or burned them. Today I was determined to outsmart this crusted skillet. While I waited, I turned to watch the darkened street below the apartment. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the darkened window -- lanky, awkward. I had always struggled to look women in the eyes, let alone talk to them. I turned back to the egg. It was burned.
I arrived at the house show at 10:30. A dilapidated craftsman in Northeast. Cars lined the street, and I struggled to find somewhere to park. I entered feeling jittery. The line of stoned hipsters on the porch scanned me up and down, but said nothing as I paid my recommended donation of $5 and entered the house. I found my cheap beer and settled myself in the back of the concert room. The band, an indie rock group called "Whale's Tears", was still setting up. Suddenly, three girls stumbled towards me.
"Hey! You're Eric's friend, right?" began the tallest one, a pale thing with those silly spock bangs and a "vintage" leather jacket.
"Yeah, my name is Sasha." I tried to shake her hand, but she didn't seem to notice.
"Is he coming tonight?" chimed in her small friend with pale pastel purple hair.
"No, I don't think so."
"Awww. Tell him that we miss him. In fact, I'm having a house party next weekend, do you think you could give this to him?"
She handed to a flier, wished me a good night, and sauntered away with her backup dancer pals. Mercifully, the music started shortly afterwards and I was spared any further interactions.
It was that night that I started having the dreams. The first one was odd. Eric and I were driving somewhere. It was dark, looked like the interstate between here and Vancouver. No other cars were around. We had been sitting in silence when Eric suddenly turned on the radio. I asked him to turn it down. I don't remember why, but I felt like I had to concentrate, as if something horrible were about to happen.
"Please, Eric, just turn it down."
He had only laughed. "Sasha, don't be a pussy. We are the only ones on the road. What are you afraid of?"
Just then we had rounded a curve. A curve I knew didn't exist on that interstate. There was the bridge, but I didn't point at the bridge. I pointed the car at that sickening gap to the side of the bridge.
"I'm not afraid of anything." I turned to Eric with an odd smile as the car careened into the darkness.
I woke up and went through the day still feeling detached and shaken. I tried to toss it from my head, but I saw that gap over and over. "I'm not afraid of anything."
That next night I dreamed again. Eric and I were at the gorge. He was out on the ledge over Multnomah falls. He had crawled past the mossy fence with its rusty sign reading, "Do not go past this point." He turned back with his boyish smile, "Come on Sasha! The view is great."
"Eric, I'm not really a fan of heights."
"Don't worry. I'll hold your hand if you want it."
He stood then. Just at the edge, silhouetted by the sinking sun, he looked like a god. And here I was, crouched in the mud a few feet behind him. I crawled under the fence and stood behind him. I put my hand on his corner. He turned to me with his smirk, "Wasn't so hard, right?"
I smiled back and pushed. I saw his eyes widening as he tumbled backwards down through the falls. His blond hair in all that pouring water looked like a flash of sun.
I woke sweating. I shook it off and headed into work. By midday I had already scanned three people's orders wrong, placed graphic novels in the poetry section on accident, and almost set off the fire alarm with the toaster in the breakroom. I told my manager I was feeling ill and clocked out. I wandered down burnside. It was starting to mist. Or perhaps it had been misting for a while -- I hadn't been outside since the morning. On 5th street I saw a homeless man shouting at pigeons. I could relate. I wanted to scream at the pigeons too, or perhaps just a lamp post, what had the pigeons done to me?
But what had my best friend done? Yet, twice now I had dreamed of his death. I would have put it off as odd dreams, the mysterious subconscious at work, but even now, in the gentle midday light, I didn't mind the thought. I was just so colossally bored, so hopelessly average, that even murder seemed better than my usual activities.
The next Friday, Eric was busy again. This time he was heading to a Flume concert. At midnight he sent me a picture.
Did you know
NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (2004)
Napoleon Dynamite’s evocative dance was improvised! Jared Hess (director) knew that Jon Heder (Napoleon) could dance since they went to the same film school. In an interview, Hess said “I just told him to start dancing and realized: This is how we’ve got to end the film.”
21 JUMP STREET (2012)
Jonah Hill (Morton) admitted that he copied Eminem’s iconic alter ego, Slim Shady, in high school. “Slim Shady” is characterized by bleach blonde hair, sterling silver bling, and baggy pants. This look became a fashion trend among high schoolers in the 90s.
WAYNE’S WORLD (1992)
Mike Myers (Wayne), almost didn’t pursue the filming of Wayne’s World when the producers insisted on replacing Bohemian Rhapsody on the movie’s introduction. The copyright cost was beyond budget considering that more than half of the song will be played.
AMERICAN PIE (1999)
The stupendous American Pie was “not supposed” to be a blockbuster for being classified as a “B Movie.” B movies have a negative reputation for having low-budget and less publicity.
American Pie (1999)
The stupendous American Pie was “not supposed” to be a blockbuster for being classified as a “B Movie.” B movies have a negative reputation for having low-budget and less publicity.
Monster House (2006)
The 2006 horror animated film Monster House is the only motion capture film with an entirely original story not based on any existing source material.
Bill Skarsgard’s teeth prosthetics in It (2017) made him drool profusely that Director Andy Muschietti loved it as it adds to Pennywise’s animalistic nature.
Thailand’s mega-hit blockbuster horror movie in 2004, Shutter, explores the spectacle of capturing ghosts or collecting evidence of the supernatural in photos known as spirit photography. This trend dates back to as early as the 19th century.
The Others (2001)
The Others (2001) starring Nicole Kidman is the highest-grossing Spanish film of all time, yet it had not a single Spanish word in the dialogues.
The Sixth Sense’s
Haley Joel Osment, the boy who delivered The Sixth Sense’s famous line “I see dead people,” got the role for one of three reasons: He was the best choice for it, he was the only boy who wore a tie in the auditions, and he impressed director M. Night Shyamalan for reading the whole script three times the night before the auditions.
Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
Shawna Loyer plays as The Angry Princess in Thir13en Ghosts (2001). This is her first and only film.
The Evil Dead (1981)
The stop-motion sequence where the corpses disintegrate in The Evil Dead (1981) is one of the most intricate parts of the film to edit, as it took hours to make the precise cuts.
The scene where Sadako comes out of the well did not use any special effects in the original Japanese horror installation of Ringu (1998). Actress Rie Ino’o was a student of the Kabuki theatre known for exaggerating movement and jerking motions to convey emotions. During the shoot, the production filmed Ino’o walking backward and ran the scene in reverse, making Sadako’s walk seem unnatural and nonhuman.
Lupita Nyong’o in Us (2019) based her character Red’s voice on Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder that causes involuntary spasms of the larynx. This is to remain in character as Red as it was stated in the script that she had not used her voice in many years. Lupita worked with an ENT specialist, a vocal therapist, and a dialect coach so as not to damage her vocal cords. Welp, that’s a Yale drama school graduate for you.
James Wan’s The Conjuring contains little to no obscenities, mostly bloodless violence, and brief depictions of vices, yet it still received an R rating solely because of its scare factor.
In The Exorcism of Emily Rose, lead actress Jennifer Carpenter spent hours in a room full of mirrors and tried out different body positions and facial expressions in preparation for her role as Emily. Talk about fervent dedication!
Jack Nicholson plauded Shelley Duvall’s performance in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 slasher The Shining. He claims it was the most difficult role he’s ever seen an actress take on, while Duvall considers it the hardest she has played in her career. She suffered from nervous exhaustion, physical illness, and hair loss throughout filming.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa wrote a novel adaptation of his blockbuster J-Horror film Pulse (Kairo), one of the most popular and finest in the genre, following the film's success in 2001.
James Wan’s 2010 horror film Insidious used thirty-three violins for the theme music.
The Creeper in Jeepers Creepers’ was played by Jonathan Breck. The film’s director, Victor Salva, was so scared of Breck’s test audition that he almost immediately cast him as The Creeper. Following the film’s huge success, Breck proclaims this is his favorite performance.
In case you missed it, actress Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Psycho lead star Janet Leigh. Ironically, Jamie’s first film to star in is Halloween (1978), also a horror movie. She went on to star the whole Halloween franchise—Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Halloween (2018), and Halloween Kills (2021)— which spans six decades.
Ari Aster’s 2019 cult thriller Midsommar is influenced by Scandinavian mythology. Despite the plot being set in Sweden, many Swedish audiences laughed while watching the movie. Even Swedish critics claim the film as an excellent black comedy.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
One of the most gruesome serial killer films to grace the screens is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But did you know its title was supposed to be “Head Cheese”? Would you still watch it the same way it was?
Sissy Spacek, the actress who played Carrie in the 1976 titular movie, slept in her fake blood-drenched prom dress for three days so as not to break continuity.
The Academy has a reputation of snubbing the horror genre, but the world was shaken when William Friedkin’s 1974 film The Exorcist garnered attention in the prestigious award-giving body with not just one, but a total of 10 astonishing nominations.
The Notebook (2004)
The romantic boat ride in the lake where they were surrounded by swans was almost not possible after the producers told the director that it wouldn't be possible to keep swans to stay in the lake. Unyielding, the director raised hatchlings by the lake instead so they’d be comfortable.
Shape of Water (2017)
The film premiered in the theatre where one of its scenes was shot.
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
The actors had only one rehearsal. They were asked to play their grass scene where characters roll on the grass and being intimate, before they know it, the director has already left them there.
Phoenix based his laughter from videos of people suffering from pathological laughter.
Anne Hathaway almost caught hypothermia due to her open astronaut suit while filming the water planet scene. When she informed Director Nolan about it, Nolan rolled his shots.
The main characters each represent important positions in filmmaking. We have the producer (Gordon-Levitt), production designer (Page), actor (Hardy), stand-in Director (DiCaprio), and the audience (Murphy).
the automaton really works and draws George Méliés’ A Trip to the Moon and would take 46 to 47 minutes to complete the drawing.
The animated characters playing the guitar are actually playing the correct notes.
The apartment was built in a large water tank so they can easily flood the set with “sewage water” which actually was a mud facial mask.
In the Mood for Love (2000)
A short Japanese story about two strangers often walking past each other in a stairwell and not exchanging words inspired the film.
Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
It is Wes Anderson’s first film to be nominated for Best Picture and Director in his nearly twenty years as a filmmaker.
This film brought unknown Cate Blanchett to international attention, and director Shekar Kapur knew nothing about Elizabeth when he took on the project.
Get Out (2017)
The‘sunken place’ is a metaphor of the marginalization of black Americans being silenced by the system.
The film was shot in super 16mm to resemble the photographic film look and feel in the 1940-50s.
Sound of Music (1965)
The film’s success saved 20th Century Fox on the verge of bankruptcy. It was a box office hit, with a worldwide gross of $286 billion (or $2.5 B adjusted with inflation), cementing its spot in the top 20 highest-grossing films of all time as of 2020.
Spirited Away (2001)
Miyazaki had already retired when he worked on Spirited Away. It was inspired by his friend’s daughter and he decided that he wants to make films for ten-year-old girls.
Humphrey Bogart was two inches shorter than his on-screen partner. He had to sit on cushions or stand on blocks to look taller.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Del Toro had sat next to the famed horror novelist Stephen King and heard him scream at the pale man scene during the film’s screening in New England.
The film was written with Emily Watson in mind but she backed out. The director discovered his star Audrey Tautou from a movie poster while walking down the streets of Paris, thinking who should replace Watson.
You might think that the warm, tropical climate in Mexico got Emily Blunt looking sweaty and pasty… no, it’s not that. She suffered from diarrhea while shooting this scene.
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