The Movie Crypt: Ep 180: C. Robert Cargill

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Things get “strange” when Adam, Joe, and Arwen welcome writer C. Robert Cargill to sit down with them at the ArieScope studio and discuss his career from on-line critic (you likely know him as “Massawyrm” from AIN’T IT COOL NEWS) to screenwriter (SINISTER 1 & 2) to novelist (DREAMS AND SHADOWS) to co-writing his latest Hollywood blockbuster Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE which is currently playing in theaters everywhere.  As The Movie Crypt has proven time and time again, every artist’s journey is different and Cargill’s path is one of the best examples of destiny finding a way despite the difficult odds and the various hurdles.  Including stories from his AIN’T IT COOL days (there’s an amazing Kevin Smith story with a happy ending that you’ll love), opportunities that arose from Cargill being prepared at the right place and at the right time, and a discussion about what it’s like crossing the line with grace and respect when moving from one of “them” (a critic) to one of “us” (a filmmaker), Cargill brings the sincerity and honesty that make this program what it is from week to week and you are sure to gain some great insight behind the Hollywood curtain before the ending theme song rolls.

Do you want to see The Movie Crypt program keep going every week?  Do you want to make Arwen’s tail wag like crazy?  Then please donate to the program by using our “Feed Arwen A Treat” option in the “Buy Stuff” store on today!  Your donations may not go in to the guy’s pockets but they’re still pivotal in keeping the ArieScope studio’s rent paid and the lights on so that the guys can keep donating their own time to bring you these candid and inspirational conversations with Hollywood’s best every single Monday morning without fail.

Follow everyone on Twitter: @Massawyrm, @Adam_Fn_Green, and @TheJoeLynch.  And find out who will be appearing on upcoming episodes and get your questions in for “Viewer Mail” by following @MovieCrypt.

  • One-Eye

    Massawyrm and Mr. Beaks were always my favourite writers at AICN. With Massawyrm, in particular, you knew you were going to get a unique take on a movie that wasn’t just “It sucks!” or “It rocks!”

    I was also a fan of Spill when Cargill was there and it’s great that he has had the success he’s currently enjoying. I saw DOCTOR STRANGE last week (it opened in my country early) and I absolutely loved it. It’s a testament to the film-making that even with so much kooky exposition it still moves the way it does. Of course, having someone as incredibly compelling as Tilda Swinton delivering most of it helps immeasurably.

  • Jennifer Mccarthy

    Loved Sinister! It was great to hear you talk about watching fans reactions to it. And the whole “Kevin Smith made me famous” story was really fascinating.

  • Adam Gallant

    Yes, jump scares are still cheap even if “they work”. My girlfriend’s four year old can jump out and make a loud noise when I don’t expect it. It doesn’t mean I’m going to give him a three picture deal.

    • Adam Green

      No one said that effective jump scares make a great filmmaker or make their horror film a genius work of art. In fact I personally state just how easy jump scares are to accomplish with simple sound design and basic editing tricks. Anyone who has seen a few horror movies can do it. But the AVERAGE viewer watches a horror film hoping to be scared, to jump, to scream, etc. They enjoy those moments and that’s what they’re after when they buy the ticket. So if they get what they wanted- then they enjoyed their ride and as far as THEY are concerned the movie they just watched achieved success with them. However, as I stated- I’m far more impressed when a filmmaker can create true dread/suspense and create compelling characters and situations that captivate an audience … than I am when filmmakers just hit people with loud jump scares and offer nothing more to their film. My main reason for making films like SPIRAL and FROZEN were to tackle the challenge of trying to accomplish suspense through characters, situations, and photography and not be able to rely on only jump scares to entertain. A movie with three characters trapped in a chair is not an easy one to pull off and so I personally gravitated to that exact challenge. And to go further- there are plenty of HATCHET fans who find FROZEN boring yet tell me the HATCHET films rule. I had to learn to not be offended or think less of them and to just understand that they like what they like. Violence and gore are not scary to me at all (in fact, to me it’s comical and entertaining in a “fun” way if done with the right tone) but it all depends on what kind of horror movie the filmmaker is making and who the targeted audience is for it. I’ve met people who found THE EXORCIST or THE SHINING “boring” yet loved whatever the latest paint by numbers haunted house/jump scare movie was that just came out. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder and if a jump scare works on that particular audience, I can’t call it “cheap.” Do I prefer those movies or give them repeat viewings? No as they don’t move or engross me, nor do I think about them for weeks and weeks afterwords. But if you sit through a screening of a jump scare movie where the majority of the audience is screaming and jumping and leaving happy and feeling fulfilled- I don’t think it is fair to discredit it as it accomplished precisely what it set out to do. Much like the average romantic comedy where the characters ultimately wind up happy and in love in the end- that’s what that particular audience pays to see and feels satisfied with. It’s all relative and I (try) to always watch films for what they were intended to be and not for what I typically gravitate to or prefer. As easy as they may be to pull off, I personally believe that simple jump scare tricks that get the intended reaction should get credit where credit is due and not be written off as “cheap.” But I definitely agree with you that I wouldn’t be handing out 3 picture deals to someone who accomplished the most basic and mundane trick of lowering the sound for a few seconds and then slamming the audience with a loud music sting and jump cut. It may not impress me on a fundamental level and have me leaving the theater saying “holy shit, i loved that and NEED to see more of that” but I do try to take into consideration what the film’s intentions were and how the audience around me responded to it. Folks like you and me may see that jump scare stuff coming a mile away and not be effected by it because we’ve seen it all and aren’t into it- but if half the theater lurched back in their seats, screamed, or applauded a few moments after the scare- I don’t think it’s fair to say “Meh- cheap.” That’s what they went into the movie wanting to experience and they got it. – AG