Sunday, July 31, 2011

Andrew Copp LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END ST Discussion

Discussion with Andrew Copp about the Script for LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END ST sequel.

In November of 2005 I approached Fred Vogel about writing a sequel to LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END ST while we were hanging out at the Genghis Con convention in Pittsburgh. It seems we both had been thinking about the idea for a while. Both of us had become good friends with the original film's director Roger Watkins over the last five years as we were very much fans of his work, and he was in turn VERY supportive of ours. He had trumpeted my own Film THE MUTILATION MAN to many people as well as Fred's work too. Though Roger had tried a few times to get a sequel going the deals never happened, or he was continually being given scripts he felt were sub par or didn't respect the original film. Fred and I's goal was to give him a script that did indeed respect the original film in every way. So I went into writing the script, that is now without question the darkest thing I have ever written. It was a bad time period of my life and much of that darkness found its way onto the page.

But I also wanted to make a huge point to give things back to Roger that had been lost over the years int he various bad deals the original film had gone through. Elements that had gone missing through the eradication of missing footage, reediting of the original film, etc. Though many people understand that LAST HOUSE ON DEAD END ST is a very dark and disturbing piece of work, they may not see that it is a very artistic one as well. The original film was made in a methamphetamine haze, but Roger's original sensibilities are there very loud and clear. He was a Man that loved things like Bergman films, El Topo and Sam Peckinpah (Particularly THE WILD BUNCH) this artistic melencholia shoots through the original film like spider veins. It is what anchors it and makes it so memorable. This is the kind of weird sideways element that I sought to infuse into what I was writing.

Fred Vogel had a short couple page outline of ideas, and I had maybe ten or so pages of ideas to start and those got melded together and I wrote it into the script that exists now.The initial idea od two jerkwater porno wanna-be's trying to win over Terry Hawkins was Fred's idea for sure, as was the Mafia guy funding them. The rest organically grew out of the lockign myself into writing everyday for a few months. The Clint DeRezny character, the prison bunk-mate of Terry was a melding of Richard Speck and underground writer Peter Sotos, who I was reading a bunch of his work at the time. If you are familiar with the gonzo porn world you might recognize a could of other people in the script loosely (very loosely) modeled after folks there. 

We waited until there was a finished draft before letting Roger know our idea but he was thrilled with both the script and the idea of doing a real sequel. We had real people lookign to invest. It is not prudent to say who, but they had capitol and were honest men who have put out many movies over the years. We spent basically spent two more years putting all this package deal together. Finding these people with the money, talking to actors (once again not a part of the project I think I can legally discuss, but there were a few names looking at it, one low end former child actor who had pretty much signed on, and a few others thinking about it). Most of all I was now doing Producer work too. Several years of pre-production including breakdowns, scheduling, and even some rudamentary story boards had begun. There was much excitment about this happening. There were normal delays of course, as there always are with any low budget production, but it seemed promising.

Then Roger passed away suddenly on March 6th, 2007. I lose a good friend and mentor, someone I loved to email back and forth with, send crazy videos to and  just all around cared about. But we lost the head of the ship, the director. We tried to figure out what to do for some time. We toyed with the idea of Fred and I directing it as a team. Eventually it was decided I would direct it myself since I had already done so much work to get it on track anyway. It seemed like the best course of action. Then for reasons I was not party too, the summer went by and nothing happened...Then the fall and the project was still stalled out.

So that winter I started my own extreamly small project to keep busy. That spring Fred Vogel informs me that Roger's Family does not want us or anyone else to do a sequel to this movie. That it is now a done deal and no more movies are to be done. The project is now D.O.A.

So that is where it stands. This movie apparently can never be made now. Since it is no longer an option and I quite often get mail or questions from fans as to what happened, even now three years later, I decided I should just put the thing online and let the fans read what we were trying to do. It simply is not fair to all the fans out there that lvoe the orginal film, that had high hopes in what we were trying to do, that they cannot get a chance to at least IMAGINE what could have been. So here it is.

In retrospect it might be a good thing it did not get made however. With the whole "torture porn" (my god how I hate that term) craze getting out of hand, this could have easily pigeon holed me as that kind of director. The script takes those tropes and shoots them into some sort of darker even more evil place than any film before it had ever even though to go. Films like MARTYRS and A SERBIAN FILM had not come out yet and had not transgressed those borders. With that said A SERBIAN FILM makes the idea of making this movie moot, as it trvels a lot of the same ground, and really is the LAST WORD on the snuff film subject. There is no point at all to be made about the topic, even in my own script. So This stands a a huge missed opportunity. But hopefully it still stands as a special read of a dark and evil look into the mids of true evil.

Andy Copp

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