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I am now on the second of my three stop pilgrimage to hell and it is fast becoming clear that Hell doesn’t come close to elucidating the place being headed towards. I now sit solicitously before the stirring beauty that is Diane Foster.
Keeper: Brother Matt and Baby Sister Diane make for a formidable pairing, both visually and artistically, and it is plain to see the zeal you share in cementing TOK as the social media slasher for the download generation. Did you have an inkling that it would lead to this kind of adulation from your ferociously loyal fan base?
Baby Sister Diane: Cruelest thanks for the compliment. I will answer that in two parts. Yes and No. To begin, Yes, we knew that when made the film that there was something special. Specifically when Matt, TOK, and myself were in the Edit suite making the movie in Post. On set is when magic happened. All the elements we had been hoping for came together. It wasn’t without struggle though. We didn’t end up having The Orphan Killer as everyone knows it, in the beginning. We had been shooting and editing and it didn’t feel or look right, so we decided to get rid of it and have Matt shoot the movie himself and that is when the monster was born. When Matt edited the second round of shooting, I can vividly remember a shit-eating grin on not only my face but my two compadres’ as well. Being film and Horror fans ourselves, the moment was epic. We even commented on how this was a seedling underground and that a Tsunami was headed our way.
Now to my answer of No. No, I had no idea how big the Tsunami would be. The rise on social media is massive and it’s really only the beginning. I am grateful to the fans first and foremost, because Matt, TOK and I all know that without them, none of what we do is possible. I believe that timing and sincerity go a long way. We feel lucky that so many people care about TOK as much as we do, but we also know how hard we have worked to get here, so I have a sense of real accomplishment. I am not sure if many people realize that the illegal downloading of the film took over, between 3 and 5 million verified pirates and rising, so we are trying to find our way in the digital world without punishing those who wish to see it even though we don’t get paid on pirates. In fact, we may be the most downloaded completely independent film of all time. There has never been a traditional release of The Orphan Killer, even though major studios had offered, and that sets us apart. The ban of the film in Germany for glorification of violence has further capitulated TOK’s worldwide prowess.
Keeper: Both you and Brother Matt keep yourselves in tip-top shape and it’s obvious that personal fitness plays a critical role in your lives. I would argue with vigour that you’re the hottest couple in the industry. What is your regime with regards to looking so scintillating?
Baby Sister Diane: That is darling of you and I appreciate it. Exercise is an important part of my job and routine, and I do it nearly every day. I have to be on camera very often and whether it is on a film set or in a photo session, I want to feel and look my best. Most of the time, I am barely dressed except for some blood, but I would be doing a disservice to myself and the fans if I didn’t feel sexy. It is also a completely mental invitation with yourself and that is the part about boxing I really enjoy. I was a serious dancer as a child, so being physical has always been a big part of my life. Because we live in Los Angeles, we get the most abundant, perfect weather year round and that makes it easy to work out. There is endless hiking, swimming, and running you can do any day of the year. I grew up in New Jersey and for some of the year, you have to make a real effort to want to go out and get physical. About 2 years ago, Matt and I decided to start real boxing training. I had done all the physical work on the film and all my own stunts, and I wanted to get in even better physical condition for the demand that the touring of the film would be and all the promotional pictures and interviews we would be doing. We work out at a very much respected MMA and Boxing Gym that real Champions of the sport also train at. It is an honor getting to box next to some of the biggest names of the sport. I feel great knowing I could kick ass if I needed to. I can be a real mean bitch. It also makes me feel good and that transcends into every aspect of my life. The other aspect is having great sex every day. For me it is key to happiness and satisfaction.
Keeper: Whilst boldly refusing to conform to certain conventions of the tired Slasher template, TOK comprehends the importance of counter-balance with Audrey providing the meat to Marcus’ gristle. She ultimately shows that she is his equal both with invariable doggedness and, when necessary, brutality. In your words, please give some insight into Audrey’s mind’s eye and also, did those barbed wire manacles chafe as much as they appeared to?
Baby Sister Diane: I had every intention of making Audrey a strong, female counterpart to Marcus. Matt’s writing of my character was clearly someone who had seen more than the girl next door. She has demons, memories, and moments from her past that haunt her. In true slasher fashion, we get next to Audrey. We undress with her, see her naked body and watch her in moments of complete privacy so that makes us feel for her even more. By the time we get to the boiler room she has endured so much pain and death that seeing her agonizing through the torture is almost, as many fans have told me, unwatchable, in a great way that fans of the genre had been missing. That is something I had always hoped to achieve but was not my sole intent in the overall arc for Audrey. When she has finally given in to the pain and gets out of the barbed wire, I remember that it was truly painful in every way imaginable. Like something you remember doing, but never want to have to do that particular thing again, kind of pain. It was not just the physical aspect of pain but also the emotional part which everyone on the team was really good about. Everyone on set was really supportive in some very tough moments that seemed to go on for days and then it was over with a snap of your fingers. Our location was a cold, dark, smelly, nasty place and everyone was smiling. I guess we are all crazy. I remember having several very deep cuts and scratches on my wrists when it was over. I also could not get the blood off of me for weeks. If you look really closely at the film during the scene when Audrey pulls up to the school and she kisses Mike goodbye, I have a thick strand of red hair that was left over from the day before of shooting which happened to be the rooftop scene. Even though I was tormented and still am haunted to this day with the things that happened during filming, I will do it again in a raging heartbeat.
Keeper: Since appraising TOK, I have made favourable comparisons with a certain Marilyn Burns who inhabited Sally Hardesty with such sincerity in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Burns’ recital was coaxed from her via a distinct lack of presented insight into her sufferings in advance. Your exhibition of anguish looks every bit as organic as hers. Your eyes alone convey exquisitely the torment she has suffered, her steely resolve and eventually, the parallels with her shadowy sibling. How did you go about preparing to tackle the role of Audrey and in turn how has she manifested herself in your own psychological make-up?
Baby Sister Diane: Thank you for such an inspired and special comparison for me. I am a fan of Marilyn Burns’ beautiful work in TCM which I hold to be among my very favorites. It such an intensely good feeling to hear that the work you do has been completely embraced. When we began the stages of making the film, I work not only as the actress but also as the producer and because I merge those two so frequently it is almost constant research. For the emotional aspect, I watched hundreds of real life stories of survivors of horrific, senseless acts. I wanted Audrey to be a girl who could have gone through this ordeal and treat it as realistic as possible. Choices are made on set and then in the edit room it really becomes about telling the best story we can. This was Audrey’s story to fight. And for me as a person, it was a chance to expand my deeper emotional thoughts and rationales, erotic and macabre ideas, and grieve those moments in time out of me. I went through a metamorphosis much like that of a butterfly. A cocoon I emerged from. Taking risks, making mistakes, owning it, is the steely resolve you so aptly prefaced. I completely changed as a person for the better and appreciate the opportunity to have done so. I am much stronger, smarter, and stranger for it.
Keeper: In addition to your transcendent turn as Audrey, you also took on production duties for the picture and I’m imagining when TOK 2 arrives you will have even greater involvement. Are there any hidden endowments we may not be aware of and what sort of development can we expect from her second time around, she’ll be more battle-ready next time right?
Baby Sister Diane: The plan moving forward is simple. Time to Kill. There will be a TOK 2 and I will be involved in every way I was before as far as producing and acting are concerned. I will reprise my role as Audrey Miller with bravado. She has been through something this time that is not as easily shaken off, like the brutal sequences in the shower scene from the first film. I actually think she will be battle ready only to go further into her own demons and allow her bloodline to take over her being. It will be an epic leap to further the beloved slasher genre. The fans want a sequel and ask every day. But it must not be slapped together. We fully and confidently intend to bring more violence, more blood, more nakedness, and more fuck your face with a machete kills, so that everyone who sees it dies from the hysteria.
Keeper: Between you, Brother Matt and the unmanageable Marcus Miller, you have amassed a devoted following and to date nigh on 400,000 Facebook likes alone. In doing so you have proved without reservation that social media is an invaluable tool when used correctly. Recently TOK has broadened its already imposing umbrella through the likes of Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, iTunes, Tumblr and Flickr, as well as enlarging a tremendously thriving site and online store. How do you conceivably begin to juggle so many bloody balls at one time?
Baby Sister Diane: Coffee and weed. And it is still not bloody easy. We have on average, between all the social media outlets, thousands of comments and messages every single day. It is absolutely wonderful to be able to stay connected to the fans. Knowing who your fans are makes you a better, more honest artist. The point of social media that works particularly well for TOK was to create a world that all like-minded people dwelled in so that social harmony was procured. The TOK fan base is so loyal and so passionate, that it makes me have to take a deep breath for how great I feel to have them. Our method of news is through all the social outlets and our web store that is loaded with current and past TOK news and articles and an incredibly cool Join & Share game that gets you Free TOK Stuff!! I believe as social media continues to take over, how we see art, view movies, and listen to music will remain in the fans hands. The best way for filmmakers to get their product seen is through social media. That is the world now. You can reach people and places that you would have never known existed. Knowing the potential of what could be, is already in front of your very eyes on the web and that proof is something you must acknowledge. It is the fans turn to say what they want. Not just a suit behind a big desk that doesn’t care a shit less about the genre or the people who love it. Having integrity in your product and reaching the fans yourself, is the defining step in the DIY world. We have the ability to change the world as we know it on the internet. It will take time but it is where we are headed and I fully embrace it.
Keeper: I pride myself on my honesty, and simply cannot let an exclusive opportunity like this pass as my treasured Grueheads would never forgive me if I did. How does it feel knowing you have provided the mental screen savers for so many men (women too) across the globe and fulfilled so many dark fantasies?
Baby Sister Diane: Well I hadn’t thought of myself as a mental screen saver before so that is really cool. I am cruelly pleased that the brutal men and women of the TOK revolution love my loins. I have a hard time not sharing it to be perfectly honest. It’s a thrill to pose for pictures and make movies. If I didn’t enjoy getting naked and bloody I wouldn’t do it. You must love what you do and knowing that people get joy out of what I want to do, is something I am and will always be grateful for.
Keeper: What would you say has been your proudest TOK moment since the cruel rollercoaster commenced its ascent, and what is your ultimate aspiration with regards to the much-loved brand?
Baby Sister Diane: The first proud moment was TOK being on the cover of Shock Horror Magazine. It was a landmark for the magazine having sold out TOK in pre-sell, when they hadn’t done that with Rob Zombie or Vincent Price on the cover was a big Wow! Another proud moment was when we toured Europe showing the film in Spain and Italy, and being in the theater with all the fans hooting and hollering and screaming through the movie was the best damn rock show I had ever been to. It was incredible watching how much fun the crowd was having watching TOK. Next would be all the incredible festivals the movie has been played at worldwide and getting the film on iTunes without a traditional studio. I would also include the inspired art that so many talented people are making of all things TOK. I appreciate them taking the time to create with us in mind. And finally, the Trick or Treat Studios. The Orphan Killer Mask going into stores worldwide such as Hot Topic, Morris Costume Shops and Spirit Halloween among others this summer. It is an honor to be working with TOTS and I already know that I will be an Orphan Killer for Halloween this year and you should too. Matt and I both see several movies in the series, that have already been thought out, make their way to film. It may be hard to get rid of us now.
Keeper: How often are you tempted to slip on Marcus’ visor and drink in that dark energy?
Baby Sister Diane: Not as often as I’d like. The role of Audrey, I believe will get darker as the series goes on and I am looking forward to that. I crave it and feel it burning inside of me. It is something that will be unleashed in TOK 2 in true Miller style. I am completely prepared to kill in the name of.
Keeper: If you could cherry pick any role from the annals of horror past and present to sink your incisors into what would that be and what would be your motivation?
Baby Sister Diane: Well I am not a huge fan of remakes or mainstream fodder, even though I understand the allure in them and the money made but I am a lover of vintage and original film. I like old-time westerns that I used to watch with my dad as a kid. And I love Katherine Hepburn movies. I enjoy the Monster Classics such as Dracula and Frankenstein. If I just had to, without any other knowledge or reasoning, I would love to reimagine Rocky Horror Picture Show. Now get outta here because I am going to make original, thought-provoking material and be broke as hell.
Keeper: Diane Foster and horror fit like a well-manicured hand in a fine velvet glove. Did the genre always hold the appeal as it does now for you, and talk me through your primary introduction into the macabre?
Baby Sister Diane: I have always been a lover of films and music in several different genres, including musicals and dramas but I remember being very young, maybe 8 or 9, and watching the scariest thing I ever saw, whose name was Freddy Krueger. I remember being almost frozen by his sight. I was also deeply affected by Poltergeist. I never felt that kind of fear so intensely in my life. I hated it and loved it all at the same time. Still do. I have always loved Edgar Allen Poe. In High School, I was deeply attuned to English and my teacher happened to be a very smart enjoyable professor. He suggested I enter a Poem contest and I chose the poem by Poe titled To Helen. I had won 4th place I believe out of several thousand in the state, so it was a true macabre victory. I continued to ferociously read all his work. Of course, I also loved seeing John Carpenter’s Halloween for the first time. It was like everything I thought was really cool, totally was and it was all there on-screen for me to revel in its madness.
Keeper: I’ve already asked Brother Matt this poser but being the Horror whore that I am, I just have to know. What are your ten favourite horror flicks, and also what has riled you the most about the Slasher genre’s inability (until now) to truly move out from the shadow cast by the eighties?
Baby Sister Diane: The people who made these films that were so important in our childhood went on to do other things or became old and easily swayed by lots of money. The studios own those originals and that gives them every legal reason to keep shoveling out the same stuff with a different cast. We are all inspired by films of yesterday. Each new filmmaker takes a piece of inspiring celluloid from another and uses it. It’s the life cycle. Somehow that got cut off after the 80’s because the world started to change technologically. The digital world became the thing and like a good record, those films ended up at flea markets instead of museums. If Social Media had been around during the heyday of Michael or Freddy, the way we viewed them during our adolescence would be different. I think we should embrace what is old and now what is new. It’s time for a new generation of slasher lovers and filmmakers to bridge the gap. Matt Farnsworth’s monster in The Orphan Killer is the most proven, genuine step in bringing the classic slasher to modern-day times. We wouldn’t have even met you, the formidable Keeper of the Crimson Quill, if it hadn’t been for social media. We should continue to use this tool as doers of evil on film and in writing to make a new chapter of vicious so that slash fans of today and generations to come remember this time as fondly as we remember the original and classic 80’s. We must be willing to push the envelope for the genres sake and not necessarily money. My favorite horror films are as follows and not in any particular order:
The Orphan Killer
Red Lights (French Version)
Nightmare on Elm Street (OG)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (OG)
Un Chien Andalou
High Tension (Haute Tension)
Keeper: Clearly the topic of Methamphetamine addiction has been close to both your hearts throughout your careers and you have become esteemed figures within the community. Have you witnessed the Meth problem lessening as a result of the trilogy of films you worked on with Brother Matt and your assiduous campaign to raise awareness of the Midwest’s horrendous pandemic of the unfussy life-sapping substance?
Baby Sister Diane: We decided to kill people on film after dealing with the real life horrors of meth, so it had definite impact on us as filmmakers. I think that educating people on what it is has helped with the problem. There is only a 6% rate of recovery from meth and that shocking statistic comes directly from experts in the anti-meth community. I have seen the devastation up close and capturing that in Dying For Meth and Iowa was a step in exposing a real problem. The public has become more aware of meth since our days documenting it and hopefully there are kids who decided not to use after watching those films. It will always be a time I feel that allowed Matt and I to speak frankly on a taboo subject. Many viewers of those works have asked if we shall ever return to the Midwest and do a follow-up. The answer is not that simple. I had to start working in Fiction because the reality of that situation was too hard to handle. In a journalistic approach, you try and just tell the story, but my heart got involved especially for the kids who had to grow up around all that sadness. That is why we had to tell their story. It was also an opportunity as a filmmaker to work for a cause. For the greater good of a community struggling. We are in the process of having Dying For Meth available in libraries across the globe and re-releasing Iowa.
Keeper: I can hear the shower running in the bathroom, so I’m guessing Audrey is having one of those enticing wash-downs in an attempt at blanking out the heinous sights she has been made privy to. Soon I am due for what could very well be my own memorial service and could really do with her assistance in preparing myself. Do you think she would object to me hopping in there and asking a quick poser?
Audrey Miller: I would be brutally happy to have you in. As long as you don’t mind being chained to the wall. Also, be aware of the hammer in my hand.
Keeper: Audrey? I wondered if I could pick your brains as I am due at the unforgiving orphanage shortly to stand before your brother. Please help me; you are my last remaining hope of saving my dark soul from forecast annihilation. How should I approach your sibling, are there any particular pitfalls I should evade?
Audrey Miller: Breathe fast. Run hard. Scream long & bleed slowly.
A huge bow of immense and brutal appreciation to Baby Sister Diane and Audrey Miller for the amazing insight into her brilliant mind.
To Helen by Edgar Allen Poe
Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore
That gently, o’er a perfumed sea,
The weary, way-worn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo, in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand,
Ah! Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land!
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
First Knight of TOK
#BrutalWordWrangler #CrimsonHoneyDripper #CruelWordSculptor #ThePiper
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013 (Revised Edition 2015)