Bouncing and zipping around like an infernal pinball machine, this project takes us into a rough episode for a coin devil (he's one of many devils, no one special) who tried to buy love and it doesn't go as well as he had intended.
His was a bad idea to begin with, a ridiculous little wish that didn't work out. He thought that his cheri would be help him out, perhaps she'd even begin to enjoy tasking.....?.....
He really didn't think it through.
So he has to go back to work as usual, making money for, and of, the people of the world who spend their coins as they please on goods, food, company, chemicals, charity, remembrance, etc., etc., and all the other nonsense that people spend money on.
None of them suspect a thing. People--not too many, just a few here and there in order to retain the value of scarcity--vanish all the time.
He uses a specific concoction made from beast fat (you liquidize it) plus juice from dirgefruit growing in the backyard. No big deal if you know the recipe but! once it's injested by humans, that's when the porridge becomes useful. Extract it, shape it, allow it to dry. Good stuff, solid, rare, alchemical. Currency for the people and of the people.
This coin devil doesn't have a big, beautiful throne or a majestic tower; he has a chair that he took from a shuttered theater and lives in a corroded, abandoned train station. His "crown" is made of pitch, not platinum. Much of his physical manifestation resembles black leather and steel, nothing too fancy. Just a little bit of decoration on his face, he'll polish his talons if he gets a minute, and he's ready to go. Low-maintenance.
He's just a simple worker. He has a very important job but he's underappreciated considering he's been a pro since Egypt's early days, into the time of the Templars, and onward. Many other devils have jobs too.
This coin devil enjoys music though (he likes a diverse range in case you're wondering). He can treat himself to live entertainment in order to soothe his moods so that's nice. As long as the bands keep things private. They can assume that their client is just an eccentric human with a taste for darkness, they'll never know; they play their music for a while and then they leave. If they feel that something seems "off" about this youthfully bizarre gentleman in this nasty, crumbling place, it doesn't really matter. Perhaps they're consumed by their own inner concerns.
At the end of the story, the coin devil lets cheri run away. No curse, no revenge, he never sees her again, and never learns anything more about her. It's one of the few decent things that he's done in about 6000 years. A moment of self-restraint. He listens to his music and then tomorrow, I'm sure, he'll go back to being horrible.
No one on Earth, in Heaven, or in Hell is perfect. We're all possessed by awful secrets, frustrations, and disappointments so have a little bit of sympathy, will you?
people of the world....... Steve Bernstein, Melanie Deprest, Lauren Hearter, Daniel Hochberg, Eva Karakostas, Dr. Roberto Marquez, Edwin Nieves, Jazmine Osborne, Belinda Stamps, Jack Syron
Special Thanks to:
The City of Gary, IN The City of Chicago, IL The City of Highland Park, IL Ben Clement Fontini Karakostas Makeup Pequod's, St. Peter's, Bab's, Mt. Olive, The HIP, Bone666138, Carroll27, Espectral, and MarkedIt
The inspirations for the "Phantasmal Voice" video are meant to be clear. I believe that it's best to get specific--to honor your inspirations because anyone who makes anything is inspired--rather than to be coy and vague about it.
I wanted people to be able to see the "Hellraiser" influence in the coin devil character's design. He's a red-eyed ghoul but he's not 100% wretched looking. I wanted there to be a slight sliver of a chance that cheri's beauty could possibly find something to gravitate towards when it came to the coin devil's beastliness. As far as monsters go, the coin devil has a savage, subversive charm to him and that's the point. Could cheri maybe, possibly, grow to like her awful bridegroom as something of a guilty pleasure? Stranger things have happened in fairytales like this; opposites attract, as they say. But when she finds out about one of the ingredients in his work recipe, all granular chances of enchantment are erased.
"Let's combine 70's grime horror with urban legends and 90's mall culture", I said to myself--as everyone does--when project preplanning. "Pop culture games and gothic fright stories" (they go together like peanut butter and jelly).
Money makes the world go 'round + "Soylent Green" + the medieval concept of the Ship of Fools
But not green, purple. Purple is different; it can be sinister but there's a sense of humor to it.
"Nosferatu" didn't dissolve in sunlight, he just turned into a "School House Rock" cartoon.
Part of the deadly $ idea comes from an ancient legend about mellified men. Healthy.
"Texas Chainsaw" ugliness. There's gotta be some grossness.....offset by some pleasant aesthetics. You never know what's going to come up next.
The main storyline came from Charles Perrault's and Angela Carter's iterations of "Bluebeard" plus an added scoop of "Rumplestiltskin".
The cheri character is a take on the damsel archetype who goes from one distressing scenario to the next, a Cinderella whose fairy godmother never shows up. She's a more of a Hole person than a whole person, like she escaped out of Courtney Love's violet era and wasn't able to find her way back. Her stepmother comes from "The Grapes of Wrath" (notice the grape vines on the wall behind her in the beginning of the video); she's a makeshift saleswoman dealing with a tragic economy.
For this project, let's say that our narrative and visual flavor anchor is somewhere in the ballpark of 1985 ("Texas Chainsaw" was the main aesthetic influence on this project but I kept thinking about 80's horror films a lot too where everything feels viscerally real and over-the-top/absurd at the same time; I love how they are able to do that) but dates don't matter. It's in the past and it's now too.
The structure of the video is meant to be like a kind of 19th century penny dreadful, a quick, fun freakout, a "morality fable" that makes you feel like you need to take a hot shower afterwards. Scrub extra hard. A self-contained, heavy metal horror adventure story that you can run through in 8 1/2 minutes. In, out, done.
Making this project was a trip; a long, filthy process. Lots of goo made of unexpected stuff (for example the coin-ready entrails soup was paint mixed with olive oil mixed with marshmallow fluff), complicated costumes, makeup mayhem, odd environments, weather doing what it does, delays.
Pale Horseman, the band, are always a delight to work with (good guys, terrific musicians) and all the actors that pulled through to work on this were saints that I look forward to working with again on upcoming films. Remy Osborne and Courtney Beals--the two leads--are champs who put up with a lot of crazy weather/locations/costumes/makeup in order to move this project to completion. A great big extra Thank You to everybody who participated.
This latest addition to the Addovolt Explorations quick documentaries series hits you right in the pocket.
The Money Museum inside the Federal Bank building is the place to go when you're feeling Scrooge McDuck-y, needing to be surrounded by wads of cash, and want to learn a thing or two about the American monetary system.
The video is HERE on YouTube and more Addovolt Explorations are listed HERE.
Mary Beth Brennan and her ragtag band of no-wave rockers, The Baby Magic, are here to warm up your devices with their dark Christmas music video. "Don't Mess With Me", off of the Chicago trio's most recent album, Rent a Place in Hell, has dropped and it's 3 minutes of holiday fun to rile up your whole family.
It's a Christmasy music video for a song that doesn't necessarily tie itself in to November/December festivities......but it could. It does, in an abstract way I guess, but it doesn't have to.
Der Belsnickel's rap/poem/warning sequence was mixed into the song/video last-minute and that, definitely, ties everything up with a nice, red, seasonal bow.
We're having our fruitcake and eating it too. Michael Massett portrays an antagonistic Belsnickel so that this short journey doesn't get too saccharine-sweet (we can't have any of that).
Are there a couple of nods to "A Christmas Story", "Christmas Vacation", and "Home Alone"? Well, yeah, of course. That would be dumb not to. This mess was shot in Chicago in all of its Midwestern, snowy glory so I'm just being traditional, sentimental. I also was thinking about John Waters' "Female Trouble" and the old Pee-wee Herman stuff a little bit too.
The music video for The Baby Magic's "Don't Mess With Me" is HERE. The song is from their album, Rent A Place In Hell (2014).