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Malone on Parasomnia

02.11.2009by: JimmyO

William Malone has conjured up some terrifying images. From his recreation of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL to his uniquely bizarre Masters of Horror episode “The Fair Haired Child”, he can create a creepy and terrifying genre tale. And recently at Screamfest L.A., a few lucky audience members had the chance to see his latest, PARASOMNIA. It involves a girl with a sleeping disorder that takes her to some very nightmarish places. I had the chance to stop by and chat with Mr. Malone recently and talk about his film.

Not only did I get to see his amazing collection of props from science fiction classics including a working Robbie the Robot from FORBIDDEN PLANET, I also got to talk shop with a very interesting man who showed me a beautifully designed home made guitar… more on that later as you’ll be able to check out more in the next few weeks as Bill will become a part of our Time Out With Horror Legends column. But for now, we talked about art, horror and of course a possible prequel to his latest.

And on March 5th, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Bill will be joined by a Masters of Horror panel to screen Parasomnia and talk about inspiration. It looks to be a fantastic evening with Mr. Malone and other genre greats including Wes Craven, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon and Tobe Hooper. We’ll keep you posted on the event, and if you are going to be in the Los Angeles area, this truly sounds like a can’t miss event.

What was the inspiration for PARASOMNIA? Where did this come from?

What happened really was, I was up late one night… I was watching THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI probably for the umpteenth time. You know, the 1919 movie. And just something struck me, you know, I said, there is a movie in here. Nobody’s done a movie about a killer sleepwalker in a long time. That’s a great notion and nobody has done anything.

And so I started looking it up on the internet about sleepwalking and came up with this term “Parasomnia“, which covered sort of a broad area of sleepwalking and night terrors and a bunch of things. And then I came across an article about this girl who’d been asleep for twenty years and woke up suddenly. It just sort of started everything turning and I thought, well that would be a really cool idea. What if a guy falls in love with some girl who’s got a sleep disorder and finds out that he met her when she was a little kid.

And he thinks he killed her because when he was a little kid, he touched her and she fell over, seemingly dropping dead. So he’s carrying this with him the entire time. And then when he becomes an adult, he bumps into her at a hospital and starts talking to her and falls in love with her and stuff… so that’s what it’s about. And we find out of course, that there is this psycho who is in the room next to her who has been there for the entire time and he is obsessed with her… because she is like this sort of “sleeping beauty”. And he inhabits her… he’s a hypnotist and he inhabits her dreams, which is her reality. Some of the film takes place in her dream state and we see some of that.

How sad and terrifying and lonely it would be to sleep your life away.

Just what I though… I mean, her back story in the film is that he parents died in a car crash, she was born out of the car crash. So this is why she has this condition. So she’s been an orphan all her life and was stuck in a foster home, which we see a little moment of, where the foster mother was fed up with her and can’t deal with her anymore and sends her back to the hospital.

So she’s just been like kicked around and she is now in this hospital and is now going to be used for like, medical experiments. So she’s in a very, sort of, sad place. Our lead character is sort of a kid who is a collector of vintage records and kind of like, mostly rock bands from the Sixties garage bands. He doesn’t really fit in this time period either. He’s like this kid who doesn’t fit well into our world either. So these two people come together and therein have to do battle. I just found that there was a lot of stuff…

So that was the premise that I started out with and I thought it really had a lot of material to work with. And in fact, if I can say anything about PARASOMNIA, I wish I had another three years to work on it because there was so much material within the confines of the way the story was set up that I really thought that it could be like an epic… you know, you could really do a big film… you know, a lot of depth in the things that you could’ve played with.

And even the scares, I mean we go into this world… you’ve probably seen some of the art work and stuff. She’s like in this maze in this other world, which is all made out of sort of this polished little plates that sort of twist and turn, so it is never like a maze that you can find your way in and out of. You know, there was a lot more that we could’ve done with that stuff… with reflections and stuff, but we just didn’t have time to do it.

Well you don’t seem to usually tackle sequels, but have you thought of doing a sequel to it?

I’ve thought about it because I know that people are going to probably ask that… can you do a sequel? And I probably think what I would do is I’d do a prequel instead of a sequel. Because I kind of like leaving our characters where they wind up in the end of the film. And I really wouldn’t want to tamper with that. Certainly our villain has got a lot of material there too…

From the trailer, he is chained up in a room, obviously criminally insane…

Yeah, his background is, he’s a rare book dealer. He was a mesmerist and a rare book dealer. And he was able to get his wife to jump off of the top of a building. He was arrested and taken to trial and he got the prosecuting attorney to park his car on the metro rail tracks and killed one hundred and three people or something like that. So he’s just this character that you just don’t mess with and you get the sense that he’s in this room because he wants to be in this room. Not because he couldn’t get out if he wanted to get out.

To be close to the girl…

Yeah. He’s just in love with this girl and he just thinks this is like a good thing. He gets fed and he spends much of his time in his head and into her dreams and stuff like that.

So you are having a screening on March 5th right? Tell me a little bit about the screening and what makes it special?

Well, we’re going to have a panel. And the panel will include Wes Craven, Stewart Gordon, Mick Garris, Tobe Hooper and myself and we’ll have a moderator. Basically we will be talking about how fine art has influenced all of us and other people in general in their use of fine art in film and so fourth. So that is sort of the premise of the screening. And then we are having a curator… Zdzislaw Beksinski who is a Polish surrealist. And we used a lot of his art work in Parasomnia.

He is sort of… I don’t want to say he is like Giger, but he is sort of in the same zone as Giger. But his stuff is really whacked and really beautifully rendered and a contemporary… actually I think he is a little older than Giger… or was. He predates him a little. And he was murdered two years ago at the age of eighty something by his roommate’s son who, I guess, wanted fifty dollars or something and he wouldn’t give it to him, so he murdered him. You’d think at that age you’d be immune to that sort of thing but…

But he’s a brilliant artist and we used five or six of his images in the film, as part of the dreamscapes. So we’re going to go into a little piece on him. And then we’ll show PARASOMNIA. But as far as the other directors, they’re just there to talk about art in general and how it’s affected them. And we’ll have somebody from one of the art museums come and talk as well.

Keep your eye’s open and don’t fall asleep as we will have more with Time Out With Horror Legends presents William Malone.

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