Sunday, June 12, 2016

Interview: Robin Bailes and Graham Trelfer

Robin and Graham are the team behind the YouTube Reviews "Dark Corners" (or, if you prefer, "Dark Corners of This Sick Universe"), which you can find at Robin is the on-air personality, Graham the director, and they split duties between that site, their Facebook page and Twitter account. I forget how I found them, though Twitter was probably involved. In the world of video reviews and podcasts, theirs is one of the most content-driven; there are far too many accounts concerned with the antics of the hosts and attempts to make their own jokes more the focus than the actual film being reviewed.

Ahem. Time to get off my soapbox.

I recommend going through their archives. They compare one film to "The Godfather" - try to find it! Their commentaries often have little facts I didn't know about films I've seen more than once.

This interview was done over Twitter direct messages and has been slightly edited for continuity and spelling. I gave up trying to get the photos alternating correctly and evenly spaced, which I think is fitting for discussing shoddy films. On Twitter, they frequently ask followers what horror films they've seen in the past week and to supply captions for photos, so I turned the tables on them.

1) So... which of the two of you is answering questions?
Robin runs the twitter, I (Graham) run the YouTube - I just snuck on here while he is out. Mhaw ha ha ha

2) You both seem to have writing backgrounds. How did you decide to do reviews in video format?
G: Degree in writing, wrote voice for some TV shows. I liked that Robin was angry at everything thought it would be good to harness that anger against B-movies. I thought there would be a huge a audience... I was wrong.
G: Robin writes the reviews and I add my to cents, we split the smackdown writing and specials.
3) Every interview, I do this: Name as many directors as bad as Ed Wood as you can in 5 minutes.
R: I'm getting in first this time. Larry Buchanan, Ted Mikels, Charles B. Pierce, Arch Hall (I know he only did one film but still) and Zack Snyder. I'd say Michael Bay but he's much, much worse than Ed Wood.
Going back a question to Robin's anger issues - I think Dark Corners works best when he's incredulous ("Did they think we wouldn't notice?!") and falters when he gets contemptuous. After all, if you really hated the movie, you could always stop watching.
4) Let's do some technical stuff here. How many films do you screen before you find one you think will make for a good review? How long does it take to write and produce an episode? And, so I sound like I know the business, what's your shooting ratio (Wm. Beaudine's was 1.01 to 1)?
G: I don't think we reject too many films, we pick on recommendations, titles and era so we know what we will be getting. Robin writes, I edit a rough cut based on that script and add my thoughts, Robin re-writes, then we shoot about 8 reviews in a day and then I edit. Because it so broken up, it hard to say how long it takes... maybe a day, but spread over 10 weeks.
G: Shooting ratio is good, a few fluffs, but all done in one continuous shot. On rare occations we have gone back to do a pick up for a funnier line or technical issues.
5) I'm surprised at how many fans of bad films there are in Britain. Do you think it's a cultural thing - like jellied eel, Frank Sidebottom (look him up) and the Looney Party? And why are there no bad German films?
Britain loves an underdog, and the great thing about many of the bad movies we review is that the people who made them genuinely were trying, they just happened to be shit. That's why we tend to steer clear of self-consciously bad films like the Sharknado series. I'm not sure that Germany had a tradition of B pictures the way Britain and America did, or it maybe just that Germany has a culture of perfectionism that we really don't.
Back-tracking to the ranting question: it's a fine line and our Kong special probably failed because the remake made me so angry. On the other hand some people enjoy the rants. In the end I'd rather the review reflects how I felt on watching, so if I get angry it's because the movie made me angry. I'd rather give an honest reaction than pander to what people prefer.
6) Time to lighten up a bit: man in a rubber lizard suit, or man in a gorilla suit?
 Ideally neither. But Godzilla is the only guy in a suit film I can think of, off the top of my head, that has real quality so I I guess I'll go with lizard suit.

G: I would go for a gorilla suit, apes are inherently funnier.

7) Because I know you love the question: What's up with Robin's hair?
G: Robin is cheap. Hair cuts cost money, so he didn't get around to cutting it for a while. It became a running a joke, till it got a length where if he was going to cut it, could actually do some good. So to his shock I suggest on camera he should donate it a charity like "wigs for kids" and after some thought he agreed. However, he now loves his 80s long hair look, especially when tied back in a stupid pony tail... he may never cut it. "screw those bald kids" is what he may or mat not have said when I suggested it was now time to get a hair cut.
Hahahaha. I'm rapidly approaching "bald guy with ponytail" status (despite my Twitter avi). I just wondered if he was moonlighting as a Celine Dion impersonator.
8) In the bad movie based on your lives, what are the Mexican wrestlers fighting?

G: No one answering the Santos question.

R: No one answering the Santo question? While I'd like to see Santo fight animals, (or at very least humans in rubber animal suits. Based on my life would be fight coffee.

9) What horror films have you seen in the past week and what did you think of them?
Jun 8
I just watched the original Amityville Horror last night since we had reviewed Amityville Horror 3D recently. Like most horror films there is a good creepy build up that just blows its load in the final scenes. I don't know why so many horror (especially ghost stories) do this. I can suspend my disbelief of creepy goings- on, but not gallons of blood coming down the the stairs and houses exploding. There was a TV series recently about the Enfield Haunting that kept things small and creepy throughout,
Closest I've come in the last week was Ace of Hearts, a silent thriller with Lon Chaney. Same team as The Penalty (which I love) but this was nowhere near as good.
Oh! and Killer Ape. Which was hilarious and will be a review later this year.
Ace of Hearts and Killer Ape were Robin BTW.
10) What do you think was the best year for bad films?
R- Best year? No idea, but 1959 has Plan 9, Night of the Ghouls, Giant Gila Monster, Santa Claus Vs the Devil, Teenagers from Outer Space and Killer Shrews, so I'll go with that.

11) If someone's new to the world of bad films, where would you suggest they start?

R- Where should someone start with bad films? Mystery Science Theatre 3000. You inadvertently develop an appreciation (and tolerance) whilst mocking.

12) Time to wrap this up. Can you supply a caption for this pic?


R- Caption 'A real man can never have too many cufflinks'