Watching this wonderfully brutal, head hacking-ly hilarious little film and reviewing it simply wasn’t enough. Per-Ingvar is such an interesting and all around entertaining fellow that I couldn’t resist the need to sit down to an extensive interview with him. Here’s what he had to say:
I figure I’ll get the most uncomfortable question out of the way first. You’re the first filmmaker we’ve ever interviewed who is in a wheelchair, can you tell us how you came to be in your present condition and has it made film making difficult?
I was born with brittle bone disease (Osteogenesis Imperfecta), the same thing Samuel L. Jackson’s character Elijah Price has in “Unbreakable”. This means my bones break very easy, so while in elementary school I got stuck in a wheelchair. After a lot of hard work and intense training, I’ve been able to walk a few times since then. But I always ended up breaking something, and having to start all over again… So I figured “fuck it”, I can rather spend my time doing stuff that’s more important to me. I don’t know if my condition has made filmmaking that more difficult per se, but of course there is stuff I can’t do because of my limitations. My dream is to be a director anyway, and just order others to do stuff for me… and I can certainly do that. Although I haven’t found filmmaking more difficult because of my disability, it certainly have had some unusual consequences. Like Samuel L. Jackson in “Unbreakable, I won’t let my handicap prevent me from doing some really fucked up shit. And the combination stunt work and brittle bone disease probably isn’t the smartest… but then again neither am I. So during the shooting of “Christmas Cruelty!” i sustained several broken fingers, toes and small bones. I broke two ribs while fighting Santa Claus. I broke my jaw while recording Foley, I wanted the sound of a bone crunching punch to the face… and that is just what I got. The sound was actually used in the final movie. And finally I fractured my scull while we were filming a scene were I hit my head into a table, we took several more takes of this even after I cracked my scull so I ended up with a concussion and permanent brain damage… But in my case I guess a little more brain damages really doesn’t matter. The thing that bothers me the most about that, is that I have a much harder time remembering the names of actor, filmmakers and stuff like that… And also communicating, so answering questions like this in a foreign language is a bit more difficult.
What was the most challenging aspect of making Christmas Cruelty?
I certainly don’t feel that American horror cinema is at it’s peak at moment. I much prefer the classics from the 70’s and 80’s, but once in a while we still get a nice horror movie from the states… and once in a blue moon even a remake will work, but no doubt most of them suck big time. I haven’t bothered to see “Warm Bodies” or “Twilight” (even though we actually have a reference to it in “Christmas Cruelty!”), so I can’t really comment on them. And there are many films above them on my “Have to watch”-list, so I don’t know if I ever will get around to them either. In my opinion Australia has several of the best contributions to the genre in recent times, and I’m also very pleased with some of the horror films Norway have produced lately, both underground and mainstream movies…
I’ll get back to you with that when it actually has been cleaned up… My apartment is still covered with blood, there is brain matter on my kitchen ceiling, there is a dead body in my bedroom and there are body parts everywhere… I’m actually not kidding…
The smart thing is probably to pursue something else, but we definitely need more good filmmakers… Especially now that there is less and less money in filmmaking, we need people who are willing to work 18 hours a day, without pay, risking their health, sanity and everything else in order to make good movies. The qualities I found most useful in filmmaking is stubbornness, dedication and passion… But asking advice from me is really… stupid, and probably borderline dangerous.