Little Red Riding Hood
2006, DV (2.35:1), Comedy/fantasy/horror, color, 15 minutes.
Charli Henley (Red), David Luce (The Wolf), Jonathan Daire (The Lumberjack), J.L. Carrozza (Mama), Neil Cicierega (Grandma).
Producer/Director/Writer/Cinematographer/Editor/Art Director/Special Effects/Sound: J.L. Carrozza, Producer: Kalle Ruonala, Music: Herman Witkam, Assistant Director: Neil Cicierega, Assistant Art Director/Special Effects/Makeup (Wolf): David Luce.
I began efforts to make Little Red Riding Hood in late 2005. I had the idea to make the film a few years prior after I made The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Extra Gory Version, a film better left unmentioned. I wanted to do a gory version of Little Red Riding Hood with Red as an Asian girl and a vibe akin to Peter Jackson's Bad Taste. After Harold was kind of a let down, I wrote a script in late 2005 that wasn't very good but had all the elements in it. I began procuring props and hunting for my cast in early 2006. I found all of my actors at an open mike in Plymouth. The shoot rolled along the smoothest of any to date and Charli and Dave were fun to work with and were actually dating during most of the shoot. I dressed in drag and played a Midwestern trailer-trash housewife character that was like a mix between a Roald Dahl villain and Divine. It was like it was all really meant to be.
Little Red Riding Hood was well received, far more so than any of my prior films and the film became something far better than the original script would have suggested. It's influences are many, ranging from Hong Kong martial arts and exploitation films to the gory silliness of Peter Jackson's early work to Japanese B-grade samurai films by directors like Kenji Misumi and Kinji Fukasaku to Quentin Tarantino's cinemaphile world. The film also features a rather well acclaimed split-screen sequence best described as like a Brian DePalma scene melded with the irreverence of Stanley Kubrick. My favorite aspect of the film is its exploration of the "warrior woman" character type. These kind of characters have always fascinated me, particularly in cinema, from Miranda Otto's Eowyn in Lord of the Rings to actresses like Angela Mao Ying and Cheng Pei Pei in Chinese martial arts films and Meiko Kaji and Etsuko Shihomi in Japanese films like Lady Snowblood and Sister Streetfighter.
The film is primarily a comedy and in terms of its humor, Little Red Riding Hood tackles and mocks many subjects believed to be taboo even today, such as pedophilia and cannibalism. While it is true that such things are horrific in real life and have caused many people unspeakable trauma, I believe that, perhaps, by being terrified and living in fear of such things, we are giving them power and indirectly making people with psychopathic personalities want to act out even more for the "fame" and attention such behaviors would bring them. Laughing at these things and depicting them as ridiculous, even if perhaps it is something many aren't quite ready for, causes these atrocities and people to lose their power in a positive way. At least that's what I believe. I've always been a huge fan of political satire for that precise reason. The world of Little Red Riding Hood is an interesting one and a nice step in the direction of the visionary places I desire to go someday; it's a perverse yet colorful world that's very "Jules Carrozza" full of redneck trailer mamas, cannibalism with Kikoman teriyaki marinade, pictures of Dakota Fanning pinned up on the walls like Playboy centerfolds, stoic woodcutting sociopaths and samurai sword penectomies like that of a really sick, hard-R-rated slapstick cartoon. I originally wanted to make another, similar near-feature length film afterwards themed around the grotesquerizing of Biblical mythology called Divine Comedy but ended up dropping it. In retrospect, I kind of wish I had made that instead of Dream House.
In 2009, I recut this film. Originally running around 20 minutes, the film has been shortened and recut from scratch and now runs at a much tighter 15 minutes. The color correction and visual quality was vastly improved and the sound was remixed as well for a more seamless experience. A new, copyrighted music-free original score was also added to the film and it was submitted to the festival circuit. Overall, I'm much happier with this new cut and the film is more or less now perfected. In late 2009, it was selected and shown at the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival in South Carolina right before the fun and wacky urban legendry flick Route 30.
Copyright Gen-Y Films, 2006-10.