Exclusive Clip, Q&A: Dylan Greenberg’s D.I.Y. “DARK PRISM”Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
There have been many exceptional fright filmmakers to come out of the Troma camp, whether it be James Gunn, Eli Roth, Joe Lynch, Trent Haaga and more. And while the shlocky masters of bloody, splattery satire continue to make their mark on the genre community, their work has inspired myriad others to pick up a camera and establish their own visceral cinematic voice. Filmmaker Dylan Greenberg is certainly one of the most-inspired members of the Troma team, and with her third feature now finished at the age of 18, Greenberg has given FANGORIA an exclusive clip and comments on her latest horror offering, DARK PRISM
For those unfamiliar, here’s the official synopsis for DARK PRISM…
Featuring indie music icon Mac DeMarco, playing the ever-elusive “Master,” microbudget feature DARK PRISM offers explosions, lasers, nude mermaids, demons, showtunes, and, as you will see in the clip below, a possessed phallus. Cast members also include international model Sofe Cote, renowned performance artist Sara Kaiser, the dynamic Chandani Smith as Jesus Christ, actress and writer Stephanie Domini, Max Husten, and Wayne Garrett Bal of the band Slut Junkies.
FANGORIA: So what can you tell us about DARK PRISM?
DYLAN GREENBERG: DARK PRISM is a film that lets you know everything is going to go wrong. It’s a horror film, an absurdist satire, and an adventure. It’s about three women whose pasts are shrouded in mystery. These mysteries come to light with the appearance of a prism in each of their lives. It can appear or be anywhere, it can be the size of a building or no bigger than one’s hand, and is impossible to reason with. These women’s stories come together as they fall further and further down a surrealist rabbit hole, culminating in a meeting with “The Master” who holds perhaps the strangest secret of all. Along the way, there are penis monsters, nude mermaids, lasers, an underground historical figure fighting ring, a giant vagina, and several dramatic car accidents.
FANGORIA: How did the film come together, especially considering how many interesting names you had attached?
GREENBERG: I kept having extremely vivid dreams with all of these really fascinating ideas, and I was trying to figure out just where to place them and how to execute them. I place a lot of value in dreams, and I realized the best way to use them was to incorporate them into three closely related stories so I could focus on each prominent character in depth. I started filming very quickly so I actually was finding myself casting parts a week or two in advance while I was shooting.
In terms of more established cast members, I knew Robert Prichard (THE TOXIC AVENGER) and Reverend Jen (TERROR FIRMER through the underground performance art scene and they both came through on short notice and put their all into their roles. I had discussed an appearance with Matt Katz-Bohen of Blondie since before I had even started shooting so we shot a great scene with Matt and Laurel, husband and wife team, performing two great original songs for the movie. Ophelia Rain (BURNING ANGELS) and I met on the set of RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGHand we had been trying to collaborate on something together, so her shots ended up being the last thing I ever filmed for the movie. We shot Mac DeMarco’s scenes in his house and he agreed to be in it after my friends and I gave him a mandolin. He’s a real cool dude and he even drove me back to the train.
Ultimately the movie came together because I’m a fun teen and I love all my friends that are also fun teens. Even if you’re not a teenager, you can still be a teen, it’s just in your heart.
FANGORIA: Having done two features previously, what did you most learn from those experiences when it came time to develop and film DARK PRISM?
GREENBERG: GLAMARUS taught me that I could make a feature. I made it essentially by accident; it’s an accidental film. WAKERS taught me that I could make a feature film on purpose. It was more developed, but like a lot of my very out there work, it’s an experimental film at heart. When making DARK PRISM, I made a movie first, and a piece of video art second. I knew what was possible so I dug it out. I believe that somewhere in my consciousness, there is a Queen made of sand and she is the one who knows how I create. This is the only way I will ever learn.
FANGORIA: You’ve aligned yourself with the Troma crowd as of late, having appeared with the Troma Team at Tromadance and New York Comic Con. What do you think Troma fans will most enjoy about DARK PRISM?
GREENBERG: DARK PRISM isn’t a Troma movie but I’m sure a lot of Troma fans will see it because Lloyd has mentored and guided me as a filmmaker. I think Troma fans will enjoy the goofs. The movie references a lot of Troma movies so when fans catch it I think it will give them a pleasant whisper or a knowing smile. Horror fans in general, I think, will enjoy the references in the movie, as it also pays homage to PHANTASM, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, CARRIE, and some older 1930s classics like THE OLD DARK HOUSE. I definitely had a lot of visual influences that are very apparent in the film.
FANGORIA: What was it like putting together the effects for DARK PRISM on a microbudget level? Was there any idea that was scrapped from your original script?
GREENBERG: Funny enough, I actually didn’t use a script. I take inspiration from Scott Shaw’s Zen film technique as his films don’t use scripts. I might try using them in the future, but for the time being I don’t find them necessary. The effects were a bit difficult because it’s a super ambitious project, and I’m happy to admit the budget occasionally shows. However, I refused to compromise and I am happier to say I did not scrap a single effect or idea I had, and chose instead to find a way to achieve grand ideas on a non existent budget. What helped is that the film often is supposed to look kind of cartoonish and some of the exteriors are hand drawn on purpose, so “fake” is sort of the aesthetic I go for. It’s not an effortless kind of fake however; it’s more of a thought out fake, a “pretty” fake.
FANGORIA: Do you currently have anything else planned following DARK PRISM?
GREENBERG: Yes, I have a few projects I’m trying to get off the ground. Someone has offered to invest some money in a new project about an infamous morbid historical figure, so I just have to figure out the legal aspects of that but that will very likely be my next project. In addition I’ve been trying to see if I can make an entire film in under 5 days starring an up and coming punk band, so I’ve been reaching out to some bands to see if I can start doing that. Thirdly, I’ve been considering making an adaptation of a classic piece of literature.
So, I’m going to see what happens, I’m going to see where life takes me and where DARK PRISM takes me. I never run out of ideas and I think I still have a lot of time to realize them. I’ve shown myself I can do it and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
I am also trying to get distribution for DARK PRISM. If you are interested in distributing my film or screening the film in your area, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can check out the clip for DARK PRISM below, and stay tuned for more about this D.I.Y. fright flick here at FANGORIA.com!