Tag Archives: c. robert cargill

Cargill On De Roche

We have a lot of rules on Hyphenates, all of them self-imposed. A lot of the time they make sense: we always make sure a new release from a past Filmmaker of the Month is given preference in the reviews, for instance. This makes sense if you, say, cover Sofia Coppola’s career around the release of Somewhere and want to keep up to speed on where she’s heading.

This 30 Rock joke from 2011 has aged all too well.

So what happens when we’re cursed to watch the films of, say, Michael Bay forever more? And what must the person who first cursed us think of this prison? And what happens if that person just happen to return to the show exactly five years after their original appearance, at the exact moment Bay’s opus prime Transformers: The Last Knight is released into cinemas in much the same way a calicivirus is released into a population of wild rabbits to bring their numbers down?

You’ll have to listen to this episode to find out, because we are legitimately delighted to be joined by C. Robert Cargill, who first joined us in June 2013 in defence of Michael Bay’s unique brand of auteurism. Cargill, a former film critic now full-time screenwriter and author, has, since his last appearance, since worked on the horror sequel Sinister 2, the Marvel Studios blockbuster Doctor Strange, and many secret upcoming projects we unsuccessfully grilled him about once the mics were off.

So what compelled Cargill to return to the show? He wanted to talk about the films of his screenwriting guru, the one and only Everett De Roche. If you’re unfamiliar with De Roche and why he’s such an influential and beloved figure, you’ll really have to listen to this month’s show. You’ll leave it wanting to watch everything the man ever wrote.

Before we get to De Roche, however, Cargill joins us to talk about some of the films of this month: Transformers: The Last Knight, The Mummy and Wonder Woman. Do you spot the one big thing those films all have in common? No, the other thing. Yes, they’re all building blocks for ambitious, multi-billion dollar interconnected universes. Not just the usual bunch of sequels, but spinoffs and crossovers and films that explore other corners of the world created.

So, given we’re joined by a writer who worked on a Marvel film, we had to ask the question: how do you create a successful cinematic universe now that everyone is trying? Is this behemoth model sustainable? What’s the future of this franchise format?

It’s another tri-continental show as Cargill joins us from Austin, Texas for a jam-packed episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates you can’t afford to miss.

Everett De Roche cameoed in many of his films. Blink and you’ll miss him sitting in the pub as Jim Caviezel heads off on a fateful Long Weekend (2008)

Further reading:

Reviews

  • To listen back to the episode from exactly five years ago, in which Cargill first appeared and cursed us with Michael Bay films forever more, click here.
  • And, exactly ten years ago almost to the day, Lee reviewed the very first Transformers on Australian community TV, which you can watch here.
  • Sophie mentions the MayBot’s possible appearance in Transformers: The Last Knight, referencing the British Prime Minister’s mainstream moniker. No action figures to speak of yet, though.
  • Also worth mentioning: during her epic Transformers rant, Sophie suggests a King Arthur equivalent of Godwin’s Law to punish anyone who resorts to a lazy referencing of the English legend. Only after we’d finished recording the episode did we hit upon the obvious name: Y Gododdin’s Law. There’s no chance it’ll catch on, but just in case it does, you heard it here first.
  • The non-Tom Cruise mummy film Sophie was referring to was The Night of Counting the Years (1969), directed by Shadi Abdel Salam. Restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation in 2008. Now in public domain, it can be downloaded and viewed for free at the Internet Archive.
  • Cargill mentions the Mummy trailer that was accidentally released with half the soundtrack missing. Universal’s been trying to take them all down, but you can’t kill something once it’s on the internet. If this video disappears before you get to watch it, a quick search should find you a new one:

  • You can read more about the Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman video art piece by Dara Birnhum here, and watch the video here:

  • Cargill refers to Born Sexy Yesterday, a trope identified by Pop Culture Detective, aka Jonathan McIntosh, in his recent video essay:

  • If you want to join our Saïd Taghmaoui love-in, you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
  • The cyberpunk book that Cargill was adapting with writing partner Scott Derickson, When Gravity Fails, was written by George Alec Effinger, and won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1988. The book is available in print and digital from all the usual places.

Middle Topic

  • Want to know about all those shared universe properties Lee rattled off on the intro? Click the links to read more about the Stephen King TV show Castle Rock, Sony’s parallel Spider-man franchise, the currently-unconfirmed rumours about a JamesBond extended universe, for the sake of completeness here’s anoverview of the DCEU that Wonder Woman has just resuscitated, the monster mashed Dark Universe franchise possibly launched by The Mummy, and whatever the fuck is happening with Transformers.
  • Cargill talks about some of the slasher team-ups that were rumoured before the shared universe thing took off. These included Pinhead vs Michael Myers, Freddy vs Jason vs Ash, Freddy vs Michael Myers, Freddy vs Chucky and Chucky vs Leprechaun. It was an exhausting period.
  • Tommy Westphall’s snowglobe was basically fanfic Netflix

    The Tommy Westphall Universe theory suggests that most of television is the dream of one kid named Tommy Westphall who appeared in the final scene of the 1980s drama St Elsewhere. The suggestion is that all of the show was imagined by an autistic kid named Tommy Westphall. And if that’s true, then it must mean Homicide: Life on the Street is in his imagination as well, given two characters from St Elsewhere crossed over into that. And Homicide crossed over with Law & Order, which crossed over with The X-Files, which leads us to The Simpsons, and basically all of television including Arrested Development, Buffy, Seinfeld, and really everything you’ve ever watched. Fall down the rabbit hole here.

  • We didn’t mention it, yet no discussion of the shared universe concept is complete without mentioning the Wold Newton family, created by author Philip José Farmer in his books Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke (1972) and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (1973). This theory unifies Tarzan, Doc Savage, Sherlock Holmes, Scarlet Pimpernel, James Bond, Sam Spade, Phileas Fogg, and many others. If you’re a fan of Alan Moore’s excellent comic League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, you need to check out Farmer’s work.
  • The Quentin Tarantino shared universe is a very real, very deliberate thing, and you can read more about its dual tiers here.
  • Lee’s unproduced sketch about Australia forming its own cinematic universe is reluctantly presented for you to download via this link.
  • Cargill mentions a Twitter convo he just had with comics writer Mark Millar and Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, which you should be able to read if you click on this link.
  • If you want to know more about the Chinese figures of legend that Cargill discusses, you can click on these links for primers on Ip Man, Fong Sai-yuk, and Wong Fei-hung.

Filmmaker of the Month

  • The Bazura Project interview Lee did with Everett De Roche that partly inspired Hell Is For Hyphenates can be seen here.
  • We mention Brian Trenchard-Smith, the director of the Everett De Roche film Frog Dreaming (aka The Quest), and you can hear him on Hyphenates talking about the films of Quentin Tarantino.
  • And we also give a shout out to Mark Hartley, the director of Not Quite Hollywood, who was also on our show talking about the films of John Hough.
  • Cargill mentions his fantasy novel set in Australia. This is Queen of the Dark Things (2014), a sequel to his book Dreams and Shadows (2013), both of which can be bought from all the usual outlets, including actual physical shops (support your local bookstore, people).
  • Yes, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt did go missing during a swim (as Cargill discusses in reference to De Roche’s film Harlequin) in 1967. Here are some of the facts surrounding the disappearance, and here’s the actual swimming pool we named after him, cos Australians generally don’t give a fuck.
  • The Edgar Allen Poe story that Cargill references in relation to Link is The Murders In Rue Morgue, which sets an awesome precedent for murderous orangutans. Read it here.
  • An interesting bit of trivia we didn’t get to in the show… we asked De Roche’s family if he ever harboured an ambition to direct, or if it was something he deliberately avoided. Their replied: “He’s always expressed an interest in directing. For one reason or another, the opportunity didn’t present itself in his lifetime.”
  • Check out these interviews with Everett De Roche, including this one from 1980 in Cinema Papers, this one from 2012 in Spectacular Optical, and this one from 2013 in Fake Shemp.
  • If you want to hear more of Cargill talking films, make sure you subscribe to his podcast Junk Food Cinema, available from Film School Rejects here.

Outro music: score from Patrick (1978), composed by Brian May

The latest episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring C. Robert Cargill talking the films of Everett De Roche, can be heard on Stitcher Smart Radio, subscribed to on iTunes, or downloaded/streamed via our website.

Hell Is For Hyphenates – June 2017

We are joined this month by screenwriter and author C Robert Cargill (SinisterDoctor Strange) as we look back at some of the biggest films from this month, including Transformers: The Last KnightThe Mummy, and Wonder Woman. Then, noting that all the films we looked at are building blocks for multi-tiered franchises, we look at the future of shared cinematic universes and look at whether this kind of big-budget world-building has a proper formula, or if it’s doomed to failure. Then, Cargill talks to us about his screenwriting hero and the godfather of the Ozploitation movement, Everett De Roche. De Roche was responsible for PatrickRazorbackRoad Games and many other films that helped define Australia’s screen identity. So how did Cargill get into his films growing up in Texas, and what influence did De Roche’s writing have on him?

The Everett De Roche Cheat Sheet

Want to become an instant expert in our filmmaker of the month without committing yourself to an entire filmography? Then you need the Hell Is For Hyphenates Cheat Sheet: we program you a double feature that will not only make for a great evening’s viewing, but will bring you suitably up-to-speed before our next episode lands…

PATRICK (1978) and ROAD GAMES (1981)

Everett De Roche’s career as a screenwriter was more than Ozploitation, but given he was a key figure in Australia’s defining cinematic movement, we’re going to focus on this phase to demonstrate why he inspired a fanbase all of his own. The first title that should be invoked when talking about not just De Roche’s career but Ozploitation as a whole is Patrick, the supernatural thriller about a nurse tasked with caring for a comatosed young man who may or may not be killing people with his mind. De Roche’s first collaboration with director Richard Franklin – one that would last 25 years – was the kind of scrappy, energetic blast needed in a film movement’s nascent stages. Patrick is a hell of a lot of fun, and one you’ll enjoy watching with some friends. After you’ve watched that, your evening continues with Road Games, the Rear Window-meets-Duel outback thriller featuring the distinctly American pairing of Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis. Also directed by Franklin, this film is a propulsive blast, with some all-time classic moments of suspense and craft.

Substitutions: If you can’t get or have already seen Patrick, check out Long Weekend (1978). Released the same year as Patrick, De Roche’s film about a married couple heading to the beach for a weekend getaway positions them as the antagonist and nature itself as the protagonist, with what appears to be an unintended environmental message the result of a perfectly simple horror idea. If you can’t get or have already seen Road Games, track down Razorback (1984), and we’ll only bother with three words to sell you on this one: Gigantic. Killer. Pig.

The Hidden Gem: Want to see something off the beaten path, a title rarely mentioned during discussions of De Roche’s work? You need to get your hands on Link (1986). Elisabeth Shue plays an exchange student at an English university who becomes a live-in assistant for a professor who is preoccupied with the training of super-intelligent chimpanzees… and then the killing begins. If, somehow, that’s not enough to convince you, then we should point out that the professor is played by Terence Stamp.

The next episode of Hell Is For Hyphenates, featuring C Robert Cargill talking Everett de Roche, will be released on 30 June 2017.

Our Next Hyphenate C Robert Cargill

Author, screenwriter, and Hi4H June 2017 guest host C Robert Cargill

Our unofficial, not-at-all set-in-stone rule of not repeating any guests – wonderful though all our guests have been – was broken in 2014 when we marked our 5th anniversary by having our very first guest, Thomas Caldwell, join us exactly five years on.

This month, we’re doing it again: five years ago, screenwriter, critic and author C Robert Cargill joined us on the show, and now he’s back! At the time, his first feature film credit, Sinister, co-written by that film’s director, Scott Derrickson and starring Ethan Hawke, had just been released.

He’s clearly kept busy in the intervening years. He’s released two fantasy novels, Dreams and Shadows and its sequel Queen of the Dark Things. He has also written Sinister 2 (with Derrickson), as well as the Marvel movie Doctor Strange (with Derrickson and Jon Spaihts), starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetal Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams and Tilda Swinton. We’re yet to grill him about his upcoming projects, but the internet tells us he and Derrickson are currently working on feature film adaptations of both the video game Deus Ex and the classic anthology series The Outer Limits.

But why is he returning to Hyphenates? Which filmmaking icon has inspired him to once again enter the hellish sanctum?

Five years ago, he talked to Paul and Lee about the films of director Michael Bay. This month, he’ll be talking to Sophie and Lee about the films of screenwriter Everett De Roche!

This isn’t the first time that our guest has defined the term “filmmaker” as screenwriter – and this is certainly an approach we encourage, given the concept of auteur should not be limited to just the directors. This is an easy case to make when we’re talking about someone like Everett De Roche, who helped define not just an era in cinema, but the screen identity of an entire nation.

De Roche got his start writing for some of Australia’s biggest television institutions – including Homicide, Bluey, The Flying Doctors, Fire, Good Guys Bad Guys, Stingers and many more – before playing a key part in the resurgence of 1970s and 1980s Australian cinema that would come to be known as “Ozploitation”.

De Roche wrote a lion’s share of the era’s classics, including Patrick (1978), Long Weekend (1978), Road Games (1981), Razorback (1984), as well as penning the adventure film Frog Dreaming (1986). He worked with directors such as Richard Franklin, Simon Wincer, Russell Malcahy, Jamie Blanks, and Hi4H alum Brian Trenchard-Smith.

Sadly, De Roche passed away in 2014, but not before experiencing an unexpected burst of fame when, during a visit to Australia in 2008, Quentin Tarantino announced: “Almost everything that Everett De Roche wrote is one of my favourite films.” As if on cue, every gen-y film fan in Australia rushed to imdb to find out what they had to catch up on, and the De Rocheassance was born. (Look, the term might take off. You don’t know.)

So what was it about the films of Everett De Roche that appeals to C Robert Cargill? Join us on June 30 when we find out!

Our next filmmaker of the month, Everett De Roche

Hell Is For Hyphenates – June 2012

The Hyphenates are joined by their very first international guest, film critic, author and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill, to debate the films of June 2012, ask how much movie marketing is too much, and go over the films of notorious blockbuster director Michael Bay.