Horror Film Based on Writing of Seton Hill Professor Dr. Mike Arnzen Debuts Internationally
“Exquisite Corpse” takes a unique approach to horror cinema. Rarely is horror poetry adapted to film, outside the occasional treatment of classic poets like Edgar Allan Poe. And while there have been notable "anthology films" in the past (such as “Tales from the Darkside”), none adapt a single poet's work by multiple independent filmmakers from across the globe, generating anything approaching this kind of "night gallery." The media employed by these directors are vastly different (from digital animation and claymation to live action shooting), centered around a diabolically brilliant original score composed by Michael Mouracade and the chillingly lyrical voices of narrators Christopher Hackett and Marina Johnson.
The writer, Dr. Michael Arnzen -- who this year won his third Bram Stoker Award for the poetry collection, “Freakcidents” (Shocklines Press, 2005) -- inspires a wide range of horrific and twisted scenarios, ranging from supernatural creatures to sideshow freaks to uncanny twists of fate:
In "Amputating the Phantom" by Mike Bohatch (USA), evocative images (skeletal x-rays, winding clocks, disfigured faces) play out on the screen while the narrator describes a murderer's paranoid suspicion that the man he is killing is getting revenge through phantom limbs.
Two vampire-related stories utilize chilling live action performances: Julian Hanby (UK) employs an experimental flashback sequence in "Beyond Undead" and Can Yildirim (Turkey) evokes a monstrous version of motherhood in "The Suckling."
Can Yildirim (Turkey) is also behind a second vignette called "In the Balance," a gothic re-imagining of capital punishment. Jeff Pomeroy (USA) also deals with this topic, in the hilarious claymation electric chair sequence called "Velcro."
Lorelinde Verhees (Holland) delivers a soft supernatural touch with the suspenseful "Gasp," while Lucas Tripodi (Chile) aims right for the eyes in "Nightmare Junkie," an abstract poem about a collector of dreams.
In UK director Dominic Shaw's "Stretch," the stream-of-consciousness of a drowning man is voiced over images of oceans, pools, piers, and puddles which get progressively darker and more menacing.
Jim Minton (USA) -- responsible for organizing the films and producing Exquisite Corpse -- contributes "The Scab," a playfully touching piece about a carnival freak who lives inside the carapace of her own giant scab.
“Exquisite Corpse” editor Jerry Cappa (USA), submits "Artistic License": a subtly chilling "portrait" of one artist's gory murder of his model.
Canadian Nick Montgomery closes the film with an ironic twist on family life and baby monitors, in "Taking Care of Baby."
“Exquisite Corpse” will be screened at selected film festivals and conventions internationally in 2006-7, including World Horror Convention (Toronto, April 2007) and the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts (Ft. Lauderdale, March 2007).
For more information on “Exquisite Corpse,” visit the film’s website at www.exquisitecorpsemovie.com.
Dr. Michael Arnzen was born in Amityville, NY -- hometown of the infamous horror house. After a brief stint in the US Army overseas, where he began writing horror stories to entertain his fellow soldiers, he moved to Colorado where he launched his career in publishing to much success. By the mid-nineties he received the coveted Bram Stoker Award -- the highest accolade in the horror genre -- for his first novel, “Grave Markings.” Shortly thereafter, he went on to earn a Master's degree while working on his second novel, soon followed by his Ph.D. in English at the University of Oregon, where he studied the role of horror and nostalgia in 20th century culture in a dissertation called “The Popular Uncanny.” Arnzen now lives near Pittsburgh with his wife and cats. He is an associate professor of English at Seton Hill University, where he teaches in the innovative Master's degree program in Writing Popular Fiction. His latest novel is “Play Dead,” available on amazon.com and at Shocklines Bookstore.
Seton Hill University, founded by the Sisters of Charity, is a coeducational Catholic liberal arts university in Greensburg, Pa. Chartered in 1918, Seton Hill offers more than 30 undergraduate programs and nine graduate programs, including an MBA. Seton Hill brings the world to its students through its distinguished lecturers and nationally and internationally renowned centers. Recognized three times by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the nation’s Top 100 Entrepreneurial Universities, Seton Hill has also been named one of the Best in the Northeast by The Princeton Review and one of Pennsylvania’s Top 100 Businesses by Pennsylvania Business Central. In addition, Seton Hill has been named a University of Distinction by Colleges of Distinction, an organization founded by a group of concerned parents, educators and admissions professionals. For more information on Seton Hill please visit www.setonhill.edu or call 1-800-826-6234.
Dr. Michael Arnzen, Associate Professor of English
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