Cult Filmmaker Paul Morrissey on Lady Gaga, Andy Warhol, and "Comrade Osama Obama"
When you chat with 71-year-old cult director Paul Morrissey, do not expect him to hold back on telling you what he likes and, well, what he doesn't. To say the man has strong opinions would be an understatement.
"I love Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton, but not Charlie Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin was a commie piece of sh*t," he volunteers, before chatting a bit about his two satirical horror films shot simultaneously in 1973: Flesh For Frankenstein and Blood For Dracula.
Both movies are unique takes on classic horror stories. Baron von Frankenstein (Udo Kier) is obsessed with creating a master Serbian race to take over the world, so he sews together male and female zombies from idealized body parts, like the "perfect nazum," so they might copulate and reproduce. Complications arise when his sexually unfulfilled wife/sister (Monique van Vooren) hires a horny manservant (Morrissey regular, Joe Dallesandro) for the castle and Frankenstein can't seem to keep his penis out of his female creation's gall bladder. Meanwhile the Frankensteins' neglected children are there to observe it all as bodies pile up like some Shakespearean tragedy.
Blood For Dracula, which Morrissey says he shot in the afternoons in and around in the famous film studios of Cinecittà in Rome, while shooting Flesh in the mornings, once again featured Kier in the titular role. In the Morrissey version of Dracula, the count is a famished vampire wasting away in Romania for lack of virgins. His assistant (Arno Juerging) recommends they move to Italy "because of the Italian Church." This meek version of Dracula meets his match when he tries to woo the daughters of a financially and morally bankrupt family with only one servant who happens to be a staunch socialist (Dallesandro, again).
There is a vicious amount of subtext in these films, presented by Morrissey with unapologetic allegory. Even today, he sees society still headed down the route of moral corruption. According to him, movies today are mostly a bunch of "emotional shit" and the socialists have taken over in America led by "Comrade Obama."
We spoke with him for almost 45 minutes. To present his views in any other context but his own words would be a disservice to this outspoken director. Here are some highlights:
New Times: Flesh for
Frankenstein was shot in 3-D, so you plan to release it on Blu-ray 3-D?
Paul Morrissey: Oh, I do. But I want to do it myself with streaming. Look, I've been the movie business for over 50 years, and I've done everything imaginable that could be done or ever was done by anybody. I did, in not only making the films entirely by myself, in every step of the way, the early films, including photographing them--everything! But I've distributed some of them myself, and I've sold them over the years to DVD people who put them out, and they give me a little money in advance, and then for the next five or six years I never see a penny. I'm no longer going to go to other companies. Instead I have at least 10 or 12 films that I intend to stream, so that anybody wants to see them, they pay me whatever the hell they pay, not companies that don't bother to give you any results (laughs). It's not a fun business to be in.
Can you even stream
movies in 3-D?
Doesn't the Blu-Ray show up streaming on TV? If you play this Blu-Ray, you see it on a television screen, so why can't it be streamed to a television screen? Look, streaming is new to me. It's the 21st century. I won't be around for that, thank God, the scum, Comrade Osama Obama and Comrade Ms. Obama and her husband [presidential senior advisor] Valerie Jarrett. The 21st century deserves low-life filth like that: Soviet control. And they're gonna get it, and they'll suffer and deserve it, but the old thing about showing movies in theaters and showing movies only on DVD, that's over.
How do you pick your
The way I always pick my actors. I look at them and I meet them, and I say yes or no immediately. It's not a secret, but if you know what the hell you're doing you pick good actors. And you know what makes a good actor? A good personality in the performer, in the person. The myth of acting being difficult with this acting class shit that's been around for the past 40 or 50 years: agonizing, agonizing shit! You know, every actor that goes, (puts on dumb voice), 'Oh, I'm always upset from the beginning to the end of the movie!' Those are the most unwatchable, phony pieces of shit. That's 95 percent of all the shit movies they make in the world now, especially the United States. God only knows what goes on in Europe because they're not being shown anywhere anymore. But the American acting class shit is devoid of personality or good actors. It's not hard to tell who would be good in a movie as long as you meet them and make a decision.
You mentioned you
prefer Turner Classics movies.
The greatest thing that ever happened in history of motion pictures over the last 120 years was Turner Classic Movies, and the greatest thing that ever happened in history of television, for the past 70 or 80 years is Turner Classic Movies. Nothing ever was on TV better than that. No one ever talks about what an extraordinary thing it is. Who could have ever hoped these things could have been restored or recovered because they are the evidence--the only good evidence-- of the 20th century. There's no evidence of that in the shit novels that people wrote and those hideous plays they wrote--unwatchable crap! But in the movies, boy did they do a good job.