I recently sent Lucifer Valentine, most notable for the now cult hit The Vomit Gore Trilogy, a few questions. With it being Halloween today, LV talks about his love of the holiday in addition to his thoughts on pop culture, movies, and his own methods of making art. This interview shows that the man behind the films is just as interesting and unique as the subject of his films.
CN: Are you familiar with the work of Usama Alshaibi (if not, you should look up his DVD Solar Anus Cinema [so should fans of LV's work])?
LV: Oh, cool, yeah I checked out a trailer of his stuff on Youtube just now and it looks great!
CN: We’ve had a few exchanges before and I’ve listened to your commentary on your VGT DVDs regarding the philosophical content of your work. But for those who aren’t familiar with you, can you briefly sum up what your films are all about?
LV: In the broadest sense, I can say my films are about me and my friends diving very very deeply into our personal experiences of darkness and often trauma, and, because we have a true connection and bond of trust, we embrace and explore that darkness fully which gives rise to a new kind of experience and energy associated with going beyond the norms of how the human condition would usually interpret darkness, sadness and traumatic events in one’s life.
CN: You seem to have a connection with the leading women in your films. Do you adapt the ideas you already have around them or do they serve more as a muse that lead to the ideas (or a mixture of both)?
LV: That’s a great question ! It’s a combination of both scenarios that you describe there; to varying degrees the actual events and experiences from my leading ladies’ real life are woven into the themes and scenarios in my movies, with Ameara LaVey, for example, a great deal of her biographical experiences, such as her actually having ran away from home at the age of 14, being a stripper and working in porn movies, are put directly into Slaughtered Vomit Dolls and then “shaped” by her my conversations and collaborations in coming up with the elements that make up the various scenes in SVD, so that “shaping” of her role allows her to have the freedom to go off on any tangents she feels may help her performance. With Hope Likens’ portrayal of Angela in Slow Torture Puke Chamber, she was a severe bulimic when I met her, and she and I had several conversations about how we could create a story about her version of Angela and how Ameara’s would intersect in STPC and how Ameara’s Angela would seem to prey upon and infect and envenom her with a Satanic Curse. I’d say approximately 90% of Ameara and Hope’s dialogue is completely spontaneous and improvised with the exception of when i have them recite Pacts with the Devil onscreen, I have them repeat lines after me as in those cases my character is indoctrinating them into total Satanic submission.
CN: Name one film that no one would likely guess you are a fan of…?
LV: Gosh, I don’t know man, I’m not a fan of anything, I LOVED how the show Arrested Development had a latent incest theme !
CN: So far your films have been very experimental and metaphorical. Do you have any plans for future work involving a more “conventional” plot?
LV: That’s hard to say, I mean, I don’t actually plan anything, so Black Metal Veins (a documentary about a group of heroin junkies) may flow with a more recognizable plot or narrative which is totally cool with me, but it all just happens on its own when I start editing all the footage and creating the sound design etc. The main reason why I never plan anything in my movies is so they are alive and can be free to can take on a life of their own and I am there to help guide and shape the flow of energy of each movie; when editing, for example, certain pieces of footage will want to be side by side and scenes will seemingly merge and weave into one another and make combinations and I let it piece itself together and in that sense it has very little to do with me but I’m dedicated to making it come alive; as a director, I’m not there to force anything or make my movies be a certain thing or a certain way, so I will never write a script and i obviously don’t care about the idea of a so-called plot or any of the conventional “rules” of filmmaking, that kinda stuff is totally irrelevant to the kind of artwork I like to make and is a real buzz-killer on set because it creates restrictions and I can’t have any inhibitions due to the nature of my movies.
CN: With it being the Halloween season and all, do you get into it? Any plans for the festivities?
LV: I love Hallowe’en ! I don’t dress up because I don’t want to scare away any evil spirits, and so i just wear my regular clothes and go as Death. Often on Hallowe’en I’ll indulge in Bloodsports, meaning, I will mutilate a consenting girls’ flesh and drink their blood as a friendly fun way to relax and have a few drinks.
CN: Absolute worst movie you’ve seen?
LV: Haha, I don’t know man, there’s so many movies and I really don’t rank movies or watch them in comparison to each other, and definitely I wouldn’t trust the human mind with making interpretations based on good and bad toward anything let alone movies. So, nothing to me is good or bad, or the “best” or “worst” thing i’ve ever seen, it’s all just people supposedly making representations of whatever they are capable of.
CN: If you weren’t making movies you’d be….
LV: Still taking care of my little sister, and we’d likely be married by now with “experimental” children.
CN: Any thoughts on 2012 end of the world theories?
LV: Hahaha ! oh my, well, to me there is no “world” that could end, so yeah, people love to make global expressions of a collective consciousness founded almost entirely on fear and doom which seems to come from self-loathing and can essentially be reduced to the hilarious pettiness of the human ego, so, yeah, a global apocalyptic affirmation is human beings’ way of illuminating and publicly declaring the weakness of their lowest common denominator mentality, how sweet ! I wish people all the best of luck with that.
CN: What do you say to someone who believes that horror movies and violent video games are responsible for desensitizing society and contribute to violent crimes amongst youths?
LV: That’s another great question, well, presently it seems that young people spend huge amounts of time playing video games and are engaged predominantly in computer-based or technologically-based devices which forms the bulk of their social interactions especially during their formative years; that would be a very important issue that parents should be acutely aware of in this day and age. The actual fabric, if you will, of today’s youth culture, with respect to horror movies, video games and online social networking etc. in and of themselves are amazing beautiful things and should not be blamed in any way for the desensitization of young people or any violent crimes they commit per se, in fact, there’s no actual blame to be had, the reality is, if a child is in this case literally left to their own “devices”, without any or sufficient parental instillation of actual meaningful human interaction and a real appreciation for life and the experience of positive and thereby rewarding behaviors to others and oneself, the parents will have created a huge emotional-experiential void for their children, and obviously kids will fill that void with terrifying antisocial behaviors to express their feelings of rejection and neglect as they seek out negative and seemingly entertaining subject matter to represent a deep-seated need for connectedness to a positive sense of self.
Thanks to Lucifer Valentine for his participation in this interview. Please check out his work which is available on many mainstream and underground online DVD retailers. You may also want to read my review of the Vomit Gore Trilogy!