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Macabre Irony!

Macabre Irony!

After my wife and I watched the wonderful film “Diabolique” and I marveled at the amount of people standing in the rain to see this film, I knew I wanted to scare the pants off America.  It was amazing to see all the young people in line, kids too young even to read the English subtitles.  They were all there…waiting to have the crap scared out of them.

I set out to find a property as scary as “Diabolique”  and I finally found a novel called “The Marble Forest”–the plot concerned the frantic attempt of a small time doctor to find his daughter who was buried alive in a cemetery by an unknown madman. Suspicion is cast from one seamy character to the next as time runs out on the futile subterranean search. The surprise twist even stunned me.

Checking on the rights to the novel, I was surprised to find that it was the work of 13 different writers, much like the project we are working on right now at www.scareitforward.com.  Each one had written a different chapter and an editor had assembled the finished novel, adjusting the different writing styles to make it seem like one author.

I purchased the rights to the novel for little money, then I had to secure financing for the film.

I approached Columbia where I had directed many, many films.  They said they would never let me produce. Direct yes. Produce, no way.

I was stunned.

Over dinner I suggested to my wife that we mortgage the house so we could come up with the money to finance the film ourselves.  Robb White,  a writer I had worked with before, was on board to write the film, and he put up money as well.

I filmed the exteriors in Chino, California and the rest inside a sound stage in Hollywood.  The entire picture was filmed in nine days.

After seeing a rough cut I honestly felt something was missing.  I couldn’t sleep that night.  I tossed and turned in our bed. I was convinced I was going to lose everything.  I sprung up in bed and shook my poor wife.

“We need an insurance policy.”

“We already have one,” she said.

“No, not for us.  For the audience.”

I called Lloyds of London and literally told them that I wanted to insure the entire world against death by fright from my film.

Lloyds of London estimated that about two billion people inhabited the planet at the time and I wanted to insure each and everyone of them in case they dropped dead.

We finally figured out how to insure the entire world and now I knew I had to find someone to release the film.

Warner Brothers wanted to give me only $45,000 and 25% of the profits. My wife had more courage than I did and she told me to turn them down.

I finally went Allied Artists, their president, Steve Broidy, asked me how much the film cost.  I lied and told him it cost me $250,000.

He didn’t believe me for a second but he loved the film and thought the insurance policy was a stroke of genius.

“I’ll give you $150,000 and 75% of the profits.

I started shaking his hand before he could change his mind.

Today I find out that the Warner’s archives has finally released Macabre on DVD.  Irony.  Macabre Irony.

http://www.wbshop.com/Macabre-1958/1000180302,default,pd.html?cgid=WAHALLOW

1 Comment

  1. I love that last ad. Wow, That would make a great t-shirt! Any more info what theatres those were. Seeing Fenway, one would assume Boston, however we know what happens when we assume, eh?

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