CASTRATION, VENEREAL DISEASE, and ‘THE TRANSSEXUALS’- Working on PROFANE EXHIBIT
By David L Tamarin
I’ve been busy with film work for the past few months, and for once it has not been as an actor or writer. I am the General Counsel for the film Profane Exhibit, and also the Associate Producer. The film is an international anthology featuring 11 films from notorious directors like Uwe Boll, Andrey Iskanov, Ryan Nicholson, Coffin Joe, Michael Todd Schneider, Richard Stanley, and more.
I was lucky enough to attend two of the film shoots, and can definitely say they were among the most memorable experiences of my life. I got an extra role in the short film, Manna, from director Michael Todd Schendier, a.k.a. Mikey Maggot, who directed and acted in arguably the most disturbing film ever made, August Underground’s Mordum. I was nervous about meeting him. If you’ve seen Mordum, you will understand why, as his psychotic performance and his vile acts of necrophilia and torture really push the envelope in terms of what is acceptable even in an extreme pseudo-snuff movie. I have no problem acknowledging the film disturbed me and affected me in a profound way. I would have been better off not watching it at all. But I was happy to meet a man whom I considered to be one of the most powerful directors in the history of film, and to see him at work. So I flew from Boston to Pittsburg for the Manna shoot.
I believe the gruesome castration will be the most memorable moment of Manna. I just found out some great news from my friend, who did the gory make up effects – she has been accepted into the next season of that reality show where they do horror makeup! She deserves to be on that show – the fake cock and balls she made were so realistic that I was shivering.
She worked on creating a set of testicles that were as real looking as possible, and then a penis to go with it. There were fake testicles all over the place and they looked pretty real. There is a slight possibility she was involved in black market penis because of the large collection of severed male genitalia laying around. But I doubt that. I’m not an expert in makeup effects so I am not sure what material she used, but the balls had a squishy texture that was oddly realistic and it really pained me to see the simulated castration. It was done well, and it hurt to watch! Had I been considering a sex change I believe I would have changed my mind.
I can’t tell you all the behind-the-scenes details so I’ll fast forward about a month. Next up is the Los Angeles shoot, Basement, to be directed by Uwe Boll, who is responsible for some of my favorite films ever made about the nature of violence and its place in society – Rampage, Stoic, and Attack on Darfur in particular are three incredibly powerful examinations of violence that cannot be easily forgotten or ignored. Boll is on board with Profane Exhibit as director of a particularly disturbing sequence called Basement about a man who lives a normal family life, except for the sexually abused daughter locked up in one room in the basement she has not left in years. It is a story of hypocrisy, and a tale of people with public personalities that don’t match the horribly deviant behaviors that they commit behind closed doors. Clint Howard plays the father and Tara Cardinal plays the tragic figure of his daughter in this story that unfortunately is completely based on fact.
In contrast to the serious subject matter was our shooting location, which was a cheesy commercial porn set.
I had been told what time to be at the studio, but not when, so I showed up early to the Canoga Park address. I saw a model-type and began asking her questions about the shoot. Did she know what time it was supposed to start, when the others would be here, etc? She answered my questions and responded with one of her own.
“So, are you one of the transsexuals?” she asked me in a sweet but innocent voice. I may not be very big, but at least I’ve got something, and I double checked my crotch before telling her that “No, I was not one of the transsexuals.”
I asked her, “are you here for the Uwe Boll shoot? He’s a German guy who looks like a boxer?” She answered in the negative, and someone from inside one of the studios came out at the moment to help us. I informed the kind grandmotherly woman who ran the sets that we were both there for different shoots, and she asked me if I was one of the transvestites before I had time to tell her I was not there for a porno – at least – as far as I knew, it wasn’t a porno. She told me which studios I needed to be at and what time to come back. I wished the nice ladies good luck and then walked back to my motel room, passing six Indian massage parlors on the way.
I showed up an hour later and a very nice make up effects girl gave me a tour. The building had lots of tiny rooms, mostly secluded, and most with little more than a bed. Then she showed me the bathroom. This was a cheap studio, but the bathroom was nice enough to a big heart-shaped hot-tub in it. At this point it became incredibly obvious this was a porn set. The hot-tub had a sinister feature – it locked you inside of it. A couple of people walked into it to give it a closer look and found themselves unable to escape. It took their screams to alert us to the problem so that we could free them. Throughout the day, we would find ourselves short one actress or one crew person, then hear screaming and find them locked in the bath room.
What the hell kind of a porn set was this? Did they do rape and snuff here and make it impossible for the girls to escape? More likely it was just in disrepair.
In the room we ate in during the break I saw something that absolutely confirmed that I was shooting in a porn house. The furniture consisted of these awful bright pink couches. As I sat on the couch, I could almost feel all the sexually transmitted diseases walking all around, sinking though my clothes and into my skin. If the number one way to catch AIDS was through casual sex I was convinced the number two way was to simply be in the same room as this couch.
For a moment I wondered what one of those CSI devices that indicate the presence of semen, blood, and other bodily fluids would find on that pink couch.
Next time you’re watching a porno and you see some people getting it on, on top of a bright pink couch you’ll be able to say you know someone who caught a disease from that very same couch.
Of course, this is nothing compared to the day I did a film shoot at the K2U strip club in Woonsocket, Rhode Island only to learn the day after the shoot that a notorious local serial killer used that exact same bar to pick out the victims he would take to their death. All in all, an asbestos filled shooting location in a condemned Buffalo building was definitely the worst.
But I work on horror films, and ones that tend to be very twisted horror films, so exposure to AIDS and asbestos is better than no exposure at all.