May 24, 2023

Evil Dead Rise cinematographer David Garbett

New Zealand cinematographer David Garbett has shot more versions of the Evil Dead franchise than any other cinematographer. These include the series Ash vs. Evil Dead and the latest movie, Evil Dead Rise. Dave has enjoyed working on Evil Dead because it’s been a fun, creative, and over-the-top experience.

Evil Dead Rise director Lee Cronin felt that after 10 years, the movie needed a different setting. The action takes place on the top floor of a Los Angeles apartment building. Dave felt a responsibility to get the tone just right since Evil Dead is loved around the world. Evil Dead Rise is witty, but it is more of a straight up horror movie compared to the other Evil Dead films, starring Bruce Campbell. It definitely doesn’t skimp on the blood and gore.

Dave thinks that the essential comedic aspect of Evil Dead is a huge part of the dynamic between director Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. He had the amazing experience of working with both of them on the series, Ash vs Evil Dead. The show is like a gory cartoon, with lots of humor and a huge performance by Bruce Campbell as Ash. One of the aspects of shooting Ash vs Evil Dead that Dave loved was getting the script every week and thinking, what the hell kind of bizarre situation am I going to find myself in this week? For the series, Dave got to use many of the low-angle, fast moving “evil force” POV shots. Every time they needed an “evil force” shot, it required a lot of thought and logistics preparation to figure out how to maneuver the camera. They would use many different techniques to get the right look and speed- the evil force has a fast-moving energy and intensity. Dave captured the “force” with the camera mounted on a variety of tools: a gimbal, a pipe, a remote controlled car, a techno crane and also just physically running handheld to give an organic nature to the movement.

When Dave began going to film school in Auckland, he realized that he was drawn to a career as a director of photography, because you can be both technical and artistic. Dave’s timing was good, because the film industry in New Zealand was just ramping up. The movies Once Were Warriors and The Piano were being made there, followed by Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners. Soon after, Peter Jackson put New Zealand on the map with The Lord of the Rings movies, which brought an incredible amount of work and visibility to the film scene in New Zealand.

Dave also shot several episodes of the Netflix series, Sweet Tooth. Season two of Sweet Tooth is currently streaming.

Evil Dead Rise is currently playing in theaters.

Find Dave Garbett:
Instagram: @jarbaye

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October 27, 2020

Don Coscarelli, indie horror director and screenwriter of Bubba Ho-tep, Phantasm, The Beastmaster and John Dies at the End

Don Coscarelli is a master of the horror-comedy. He believes that even in the most horrifying times of your life, there are also moments of levity. His films explore the idea that there is another world, it’s terrifying and dangerous, and it’s also hilarious. Don has always preferred to just go ahead and make his own films, and feels you lose a sense of fun and exploration on big studio projects. The great thing about making indie movies is that anyone can pick up a camera and go make a movie over a few days or even a few years. Don shot and directed all three of his early films until The Beastmaster, which was shot by John Alcott, a frequent director of photography for Stanley Kubrick. Don wanted to make an epic “sword and sandal” movie after making his third film, Phantasm. The Beastmaster was still a low budget indie film, but he wanted to use a great cinematographer to give it a real sense of grandeur. Don felt he had to sell his soul in order to get enough money to shoot The Beastmaster, and the producers even threatened to fire him, but fortunately John Alcott stood up for him.

Prior to The Beastmaster, Don directed Phantasm, about a mysterious grave robber called the Tall Man. After the first week of shooting Phantasm, he decided to shut down, choosing to only shoot on the weekends and taking the time during the week to scout, rehearse and rework scenes for about a year. Don thinks it’s helpful for indie filmmakers to pad their schedule with pickup days to give enough time to go back and get better shots, special effects or reshoot scenes if necessary. For his film, John Dies at the End, Don once again decided to take his time and made the movie on an intermittent basis, which luckily worked for the actors, who were all inexperienced, with the exception of Paul Giamatti. Mike Gioulakis was the cinematographer who also acted as the gaffer. Don went on to make the sequels Phantasm II, III and IV before writing and directing Bubba Ho-Tep. Elvis, played by Bruce Campbell, actually lives in a retirement home, and a fellow resident, played by Ossie Davis, have to fight a reanimated mummy who is killing the elderly. Don had a delightful time working with Ossie Davis, especially directing him to realistically fight a rubber mummy. Part of the horror of the movie was making the old folk’s home truly scary- a place where people are abandoned and alone.

Currently, Don has been on a quest to find the original negative of The Beastmaster in order to remaster it, and set up a website for tips on where it might be located. Luckily, a perfect interpositive was found in the vaults of Warner Bros. which will be used for the remastered version.

You can read Don Coscarelli’s book about his experiences called True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking.
Find Don Coscarelli:
Facebook: @doncoscarelli
Instagram: @don_coscarelli
Twitter: @DonCoscarelli

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August 21, 2019

Bill Wages, ASC: Talks The Forgiven, Into the West, Sun Records, Burn Notice, Down in the Delta, and inventing Glimmerglass filters.

Bill Wages’ motto: complicated is easy, simple is hard. He talks about his work on the film, “The Forgiven,” the TV series “Burn Notice,” “Sun Records,” “Into the West,” and working with poet Maya Angelou on her directorial project “Down in the Delta.” Bill also invented a number of groundbreaking cinematography tools: Tiffen Glimmerglass diffusion filters and two flagging devices known as WagFlags and WagBags.