Tag Archives: dario argento

E.O.F. TALKS TO: Johnny Terris, Bad Ass Underground Canadian Film Maker

E.O.F. TALKS TO Johnny Terris - Canadian Underground Film Maker- The Eye of Faith {Vintage}-3

I came from a very hardened punk background in the late 80’s and early 90’s and my early films really projected that. Of course there have been aspects of the more mainstream-type stuff I’m currently doing that, at first, have been difficult to navigate due to my past. But I’m learning. It’s a very rewarding process and I’m loving it.”

-Johnny Terris

Johnny Terris is one bad ass dude.

A true Renaissance man, Johnny has engaged in roles as actor, film maker, author, model, photographer and painter. Best known for his transgressive, violent punk-influenced films that were far from mainstream, even in the indie sense; Johnny would distribute his earliest on VHS in the streets of Halifax, Nova Scotia, to strangers. He even went as far to use his own blood in scenes!

Legendary for being asked to be Johnny Depp’s double in the early 90s – Johnny, in true rebel fashion, turned it down. Now he continues his work as an actor (AKA Edward Terris) in the TV miniseries “Sex & Violence”, which co-stars Academy Award winning actress, Olympia Dukakis.

The Eye of Faith is honoured to post this interview with a true pioneer of the subversively cool right here in the True North Strong and Free!

Special thanks to our correspondent John Wisniewski for the interview.

JW: When did you begin making films and and acting, Johnny?

JT:  I started doing movies around 1987 when I was 14 years old. Basically out of boredom living in a small town. My cousin, who was also my best friend, would film various things typical boys would do and then just decided to make a movie one day. We were heavily influenced by retro horror and grind house style film and my work of course reflected that. I never fit in with anyone in the small town where I lived and neither did he, so doing films were an outlet for us, an expression.  When I left home at 16, I became angrier and had an axe to grind with the world, so they eventually became more graphic and explicit and transgressive.

JW: Why did you decide to write an autobiographical novel?

JT: I started writing Sinister Splendor & Broken Glass back around 2002 but shelved it for many years. I originally started to write it for myself only, basically for therapeutic purposes because in 2001, the love of my life became a missing person and was never found so I thought writing about it would help with dealing with it. From there it just kind of spiraled into writing about my life from childhood, my early years on the street doing underground films and present stuff. The next thing I knew I pretty much had a book.

I compiled it together and released the first draft in 2011. It has since changed direction. Instead of an autobiography, it’s now more of a fictional character story that is set in the 1970’s and 1980’s, about a guy named Aaron, that is heavily based on my life instead of being about my life. That’s the third and final draft and the most recent one.

Nobody really knows who I am, and I’m sure most of the world wouldn’t care anyway so I decided to make it fiction that is based on me with characters based on my friends an family instead of the standard autobiography.  It made it more interesting to me that way. And I think to others reading it too. The book is still my life, but the characters are different.

E.O.F. TALKS TO Johnny Terris - Canadian Underground Film Maker- The Eye of Faith {Vintage}-1

JW: Any artists that have influenced your work?

JT: A few artists have influenced me in big way, Richard Kern and The Cinema Of Transgression were probably the biggest influence on me in terms of my own films. Retro 70’s and 80’s horror played a huge part as well. Early Dario Argento played a huge part. Grindhouse flicks, drive-in movies form that period.

From a very young age I was really influenced by a lot of vintage heterosexual porn too like Devil In Miss Jones, Devil Inside Her, Behind The Green Door etc. All the really strange and surreal X-rated films of that period. Early John Waters of course played an influence, especially in my early work.

Musically I was, and still am, obsessed with the NWOBHM/New Wave Of British Heavy Metal from the late 70’s and early 80’s. Bands like Girlschool, Motorhead, Plasmatics/Wendy O Williams, Saxon, Turbonegro, Judas Priest, bands like that. Tight jeans, white t-shirt, spiked wristband, leather jacket wearing, sneering bands. A lot of punk-tinged heavy metal from that period. Listening to that stuff gets me in writing mode immediately.

JW: Do you enjoy acting?

JT: Yeah of course, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I’m actually more comfortable in front of the camera being someone else than I am in my personal life. It’s always been that way. When I was a little kid I used to memorize scripts at the age of 9 or 10 years old and perform every character in my bedroom by myself for hours on end. Acting has always triggered something in me, as far back as I can remember.

E.O.F. TALKS TO Johnny Terris - Canadian Underground Film Maker- The Eye of Faith {Vintage}-2

JW:  You once doubled for Johnny Depp. What was that like?

JT: I never doubled for Johnny Depp. I was asked to when I was younger and living in Los Angeles but I was moving back to Canada at the time. I wouldn’t have done it anyway. I have no desire to be another actor, or anyone other than myself.  

JW:  What is your opinion of Hollywood and Hollywood movies?

JT: When I first went to Hollywood it was nothing like I expected it to be. It was actually pretty grimy and trashy. The Rainbow Bar & Grill was always fun. The Whiskey was fun. I don’t have a problem with mainstream cinema or the Hollywood stuff; it’s not exactly my thing, but being older now I’m not as ferocious against it like I used to be.

I used to revolt against it in a really hardcore way. But I’m currently one of the leads in a television series with Olympia Dukakis (who is an Oscar winner) so I’ve obviously tamed a bit in the old age and don’t care about that as much haha.

Most Hollywood films are formula and neatly packed for selling purposes and because of that it’s the same stuff just rehashed over and over again with a different title, and I personally find that very boring. Hollywood is very loud and explosive and action packed. They make and market their films that way. I prefer psychological films that are slower in tone and make you think.

JW:  Are you a horror film fan? Any favorite horror films, Johnny?

JT: Yeah I am a huge horror fan, I grew up on them and they are a huge influence. My mother was a huge lover of horror movies and nothing was really ever censored from me so I was watching stuff like ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ when I was just a little kid. I usually prefer the physiological ones over the gore. I have lots of favorite horror films, though my favorite one would have to be the original ‘Carrie’.

JW:  Are you working on any screenplays, Johnny?

JT: Nothing really big right now, no. I’m very slowly writing a screenplay/script which is a greaser-style drama film about two brothers and their alcoholic father. But that’s a work in progress and who knows how that will evolve; too early to tell right now. I am though, currently helping a friend of mine shoot his apocalyptic style film.

I’m more focused on acting and writing right now.


Be sure to check Johnny out in the latest season of “Sex & Violence” starring Olympia Dukakis on OUTTV.

Until next time,

{theEye}

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Commercial Break: Suspiria! (1977)

We had been anticipating watching this one for some time, and finally this past weekend we indulged in a masterpiece called Suspiria! Starring a young Jessica Harper who’s starred in The Phantom of the Paradise and Rocky Horror Picture Show II, and keeps us entertained to this very day as the Crabby Cook.

This is tale of an elite european ballet School where collecting on debt is a ‘charming habit’ of the students(insert the very sexy and very shadey Barbara Magnolfi), and the teacher’s and staff know more about the historic ballet school then they’d ever to let on.

From the Blind Pianist, to a creepy little blonde boy, this flick has got it all, including a killer soundtrack!

Drawn in by the Euro-Horror King, Dario Argento’s name alone, we knew we’d be in for some fun gore, sexy girls, and supernatural spooks, but were clueless to where the story may lead us other than reading a brief synopsis before hand. To our delight, every scene was as beautiful as the last!

With a set as beautiful as any work of art, adorned in blue and red velvet wallpaper, labyrinths of stripes,  a wide assortment of stained glass windows, shiny black lackerred wood panels and door’s, mile high ceilings, and an opulent Serpent staircase we’d love to climb.

We are introduced to the school through the eyes of a wide -eyed newcomer , played by Jessica Harper, who quickly grows suspicious of the happenings within the domineering school.

Upon her arrival, she witness a leggy buck-toothed blond fleeing from the school in a rainstorm, and learns the next morning of the school escapees dreadful fate (emphasis on the wide assortment of stained glass…).

Odd events lead to odder. Must be more than Voodoo? With everyday shrouded in mysteries, it isn’t until our heroin shares her suspicions with her classmate, played by lovely Stefani Casini, that the puzzle truly  begins to come together.  Leading Harper to a Psychiatric Convention and conversations of Witches and Covens.  Speculation leads to proof when it’s realized the Ballet school was founded by a great and powerful Witch who was said to be killed in a fire at the turn of the century.

If you’re a fan of Black Swan or Rocky Horror Picture Show, this one’s for you!

This is no chick flick by any means despite the gaggle of gals in ballet shoes.  Scene after scene, Dario Argento will keep you shocked and in suspense as this tale unravels.  Enjoy the Eyeful of opulence but be prepared for some gross yet charming gut-turning death’s.

Heed our words…This is a great film!!

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SssssssssSsSssss-Susperia! 

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{The Eye of Faith}
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Commercial Break: “Phenomena” (1985)

phenomena vintage japanese poster

Before she would be doing the Magic Dance along side Jim Hensons Muppets, Jennifer Connelly starred in renowned director Dario Argento’s “Phenomena“.

With a killer soundtrack (excuse the pun), and plot twists we couldn’t let you miss, the respectable Eye highly recommend this one-of-a-kind spooky 80s thriller.

I know that a horror movie seems like a weird place to go for style inspiration, but with costume designs by Giorgio Armani,  Jennifer Connelly’s crisp and breezy summer white looks are as classic today as they were in 1985, and twenty years before that, and so on.

So don’t be left out in the dark. . .

Oh, and if bugs or ESP give you the willies… you better go ahead and watch this (even if it makes you squeamish)!

vintage 1985 illustration- dario argento's phenomena

Summer Watching Fun Begins!

Until next time,

{theEye}

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