Freaky Film Series By Weyes Blood
American singer, songwriter, and musician Weyes Blood has been making her mark in recent years with sold out tours across Europe and the US, opening for Kacey Musgraves, and singing with Lana Del Rey at The Hollywood Bowl. She recently sat down with Roxy Cinema Director Illyse Singer to discuss her Freaky Film Series that she guest curated for Roxy Cinema.
How does film inspire you?
I see movies as the closest thing we have to dreams; they’re kind of like manufactured dreams in some ways. I feel that they inspire me and they’re a very complete art form and a lot can be expressed within the medium whereas other kind of mediums of expressions sometimes fall short. Even having that expansive of a palate, films still fall into these tropes and patterns. They are able to create their own unique language. I’ve always thought cinematically about sound. The music that I make has always been more of a soundtrack to things going on and I guess I’m from the VHS generation. We saw so many movies re-running on TV. We had so much access to movies with VCR’s. 90s kids are the most inundated with films from different parts of the 20th century versus all new movies only.
Well speaking of that I do think it was very important to grow up with Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, people don’t get that experience anymore. Is there one film that left an imprint on you growing up? A time you first fell in love with cinema?
Very early twilight memories. I accidently saw parts of The Shining on TV and it scarred me for life. My mom was very obsessed with movies from the 1940s so a lot of the first movies I saw were like Shirley Temple movies and really old black and white movies. My first experience in carving my own path with film was the cult section of Hollywood Video. It was basically one shelf, and I watched everything in it. I accidentally stumbled on Liquid Sky, which is the weirdest no wave movie I had ever seen. I was so young, so watching it I was like whoa sky’s the limit! A Also John Waters was a really early revelation for me. Of course Mulholland Drive came out when I was 12 or 13 and seeing that in the theatre was kind of mind blowing for me. But yeah that cult section really expanded me.
Wait I have one more really funny story – I overheard some adults talking about Dr Strangelove once. I went to a big sleepover with 4 other girls. We were 6 years old. We went to the video store and the dad was like what do you want to rent? And I said I wanted to see Dr. Strangelove. I think its really good, even though I had no idea what it was. He rented it for us. We all tried to watch it and the girls were like this sucks! its terrible! It’s Awful! And I was like I think it’s good! I obviously had no idea what was going on and I didn’t get it all and the dad just laughed, you have no idea what you’re talking about. To a 6 year old it was completely unwatchable… but I thought I liked good movies.
Your music is so cinematic and it seems to be directly inspired by film. How do both worlds co-exist for you? How does one feed the other?
Me and Jonathan Rado, my Co Producer on a lot of my music will have a movie running on silent while I’m in the studio, and it’s usually trashy. Norm Macdonald died while I was recording my last album so we were watching a lot of his weird movies. We watched all the new Halloween movies. Halloween H20 was playing in the background a lot, which was one of the higher budget sequels for sure. We would just play weird stuff. Sometimes we’d hit criterion, but mostly main stream weird films. We watched Flubber once, but all silent, no sound. Making my own music over it, if there ever was a meta moment where the two met up somehow and we were doing something and they were doing something on the screen that was similar, I really live for that kind of thing.
Why did you choose the films that you’re showing at the Roxy? What do they mean to you?I kind of wanted to use films that were spooky, blatantly scary, and also disturbing but not really horror films.
I think that Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is one long panic attack. I’ve definitely had nights like that. Where the tension is just so thick. BUY TICKETS.
Rebecca is one of my favorite Hitchcock’s, just from the atmosphere he creates and the music and soundtrack really contribute to the specter of Rebecca. BUY TICKETS.
Hardcore is my favorite Schrader movie in some ways. The themes of redemption are so big with him, maybe because he was Calvinist. When I think of all my friends who love Scorsese and Taxi Driver, I thought it was pretty good but I felt like Hardcore is my Taxi Driver. It felt a little bit more of that weird battle between good and evil and the futility of that battle. Jack Nitzsche did the soundtrack who is this incredible producer and I just think it’s a really fun journey and George C. Scott is just so stoic and weird. BUY TICKETS.
Funeral Parade of Roses is just so beautiful to me. It’s incredibly shot. It’s so mod, and it’s commonly known that it informed Kubrick on A Clockwork Orange. That’s how I heard about it, that he ripped it off the way he shot and stylized. I think it’s very underknown even though Funeral Parade Of Roses was so ahead of it’s time and so innovative and went on to inspire one of the most well known films of all time. I want this film to have a bigger platform and for more people to be able to see it. BUY TICKETS.
American Werewolf In London I think was the film that first created a special effects make up category at the academy awards because it was just outstanding. It really just straddles that line between horror and comedy, which is so popular now. The whole weekend is kind of like taking movies from the past and showing what has informed the horror genre now. Which is everything from comedy to absurdity to grief to jealousy. it’s kind of all woven into the horror genre and body horror of course. So American Werewolf to me is this beautiful meeting place where it straddles the line between the two and also I think 1980 was such an incredible time for those kinds of movies. You can really feel the step up from a horror moving being a B movie slasher to a bigger blockbuster production. BUY TICKETS.
Possession is the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen and to this day I’m still scared to watch it. It’s one of those movies where you didn’t have to explain anything. You just assume and knew that whatever it was about was so deeply fucked that it didn’t even need to be explained within the movie. It’s kind of remarkable. What is unseen is most disturbing. Possession is not for everyone but a very classic psychological thriller. BUY TICKETS.