Soultaker director Michael Rissi speaks on IMDB!

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Jonah Falcon

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Aug 7, 2001, 2:22:24 AM8/7/01
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CamMan-5
Hollywood

Date: 28 July 2001
Summary: I directed this movie -- so I know a little something about

Yes, that's right. I'm Michael Rissi and I directed this picture. I was
fresh out of USC film school and was brought on to direct SOULTAKER
(originally titled THE KISS OF DEATH)after the first director was fired when
I was 23 years old. The producers hired me based on my directorial success
on a 20 minute thriller short which I directed at USC called SNAKE EYES (pre
Brian De Palma Pic)which received quite a bit of acclaim, including a very
favorable notice from VARIETY. A bit of trivia? It was my idea to change the
title from K.O.D. to SOULTAKER. I also came up with the title OUT OF BODY,
but that one was rejected. Well, making this movie was both an interesting
experience and rather gut-wrenching, to be perfectly honest. I counted
something like 3 or 4 catastrophies per day while we were making the movie -
from raging thunderstorms with electrical blackouts to a picture car that
WOULD NOT START (that's the one that crashes in the movie) to a guy who
climbed up into a huge tree while we were shooting at the notorious
"SummerFest" location who would not come down but instead yelled obscenities
for hours to disrupt us until a fire engine crew showed up and tried in vain
for several more hours to get him down and take him away. Whole days during
the production were lost for reasons like this. It was truly crazy.

As you can imagine, I have read reviews of SOULTAKER with a mixture of
curious interest, dread, outright hilarity and sometimes appreciation. You
certainly take your jabs in this business whether you like it or not and
though I was hardly more than a kid when I directed this thing, I realize
some of the criticisms are valid. On the other hand, SOULTKER did
legitimately win the BEST VIDEO of the YEAR award in 1991 from the famed
ACADEMY OF SCIENCE FICTION FANTASY AND HORROR headed by the very well
respected Dr. Donald Reed. I have a Saturn Award sitting on my mantel to
prove it. So go figure. To backtrack a bit with y'all historically and to
set the record straight, the SCI FI CHANNEL originally was very excited to
"proudly present" SOULTAKER as one of its Planetary Premieres and did so by
presenting it in its original form, UNCUT except for commercial breaks, for
many years. Then, most apparently to capitalize further on having purchased
the rights to the movie allowing them to do so, they really cut the heck out
of it(almost a third of the movie) so that it honestly had no chance of
making any sense whatsoever and "Re-Presented" it strictly for laughs on
MST3K. Incidentally, I think MST3K is a very funny show and I have heartily
enjoyed watching it myself over the years, so I was quite baffled and rather
freaked out to tell you the truth when I found out they completely hacked up
this movie, pretty much to shreds and then lambasted it. Poor Vivian
Schilling was the subject of most of the show's most vicious and acerbic
barbs and having worked with her I can tell you that running her down with a
series of cheap shots really was an unfair thing to do. Okay, cheap shots
will get cheap laughs. I know that. But I doubt anyone reading this would
want someone to do it to them. I was indirectly attacked as well of course,
but when you are behind the scenes, there's only so much people can say to
attack you. Frankly, I think the cinematography and staging in the picture
hold up fairly well, and practically everyone (apparently including the
MST3K folks) knew I had only so much to work with, so they left me alone for
the most part. But it's still kind of a bummer. Especially seeing your stuff
hacked up. It's like being a green comedian, being handed some ordinary
jokes, going out on stage and getting hit in the face with tomatoes while
someone offstage turns the mic down during the punchlines. Weird. If I sound
a tad defensive, guilty as charged, but hey, I mean, I WAS THERE.

Basically, my job as director on this picture, at least as I saw it, most
especially throughout all of obstacles which seemed to plague it from the
outset, was to FINISH it as best as I was humanly able, while simultaneously
infusing it with as much mood, atmosphere and yes, bits of silly humor as I
possibly could along the way. If you've seen SOULTAKER on MST3K, you may
have gotten some good laughs, but you really haven't seen the movie. I would
submit that if you cut up the Mona Lisa enough, even that would look pretty
funny. Now, DON'T WRITE ME LETTERS. I'M NOT SUGGESTING YOU COMPARE SOULTAKER
TO THE MONA LISA. God forbid. Nevertheless, people get into a mood to sling
mud sometimes, and they just run with it. It's sorta fun.

Some of you might legitimately DISLIKE the picture, the original version I
mean. Okay, fair enough. If you want to look for flaws on this one, I'm the
first to admit you certainly will find them. However, if you kick back and
settle into a certain kind of mood (especially at night) and allow yourself
to fall into a semi-surreal, semi weird dream-like state, maybe you'll pick
up on something extra we were trying to do with this movie, and always a
little tongue in cheek, by the way.

If that doesn't do it for you, what can I say? My only advise in that event
is to go out and rent THE SHINING. Now there's a horror film that requires
you to place yourself in a semi-brain dead, semi-trancelike state. Let's be
honest. Yes, in its own way it's a masterpiece. Yet, I'd like to see it cut
up and roasted on MST3K because I know it would be hysterically funny. It
just would be. Use a non-linear editing system at home on your own and do it
yourself if you want. I'm not wrong about this. Only problem is, methinks
SCI FI CHANNEL will never get the rights to make fun of THE SHINING. Hmm. Oh
well, so maybe SOULTAKER and those of us who had anything to do with it will
have to shoulder that dubious distinction alone. Could be worse. We could
have used millions of dollars instead of hundreds and made something like
"Battlefield Earth" or "Howard the Duck." Oops. ;-D

Derek Janssen

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Aug 6, 2001, 11:41:05 PM8/6/01
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Jonah Falcon wrote:
>
> CamMan-5
> Hollywood
>
> Date: 28 July 2001
> Summary: I directed this movie -- so I know a little something about
>
> Yes, that's right. I'm Michael Rissi and I directed this picture.
>
> On the other hand, SOULTKER did
> legitimately win the BEST VIDEO of the YEAR award in 1991 from the famed
> ACADEMY OF SCIENCE FICTION FANTASY AND HORROR headed by the very well
> respected Dr. Donald Reed. I have a Saturn Award sitting on my mantel to
> prove it. So go figure.

Well, this *is* the same ASFFH that gave their 1977 "Best Picture Made
For Under $100,000" (yes) award to...

...(wait for it)...

..."Parts: the Clonus Horror".

Derek Janssen (and somehow, I don't think anything with Robert Z'Dar can
be completely "misunderstood" by bad editing)
dja...@ultranet.com

Jonah Falcon

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Aug 7, 2001, 2:34:37 AM8/7/01
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Here was my posted response:

I don't understand how the editing (for time) that is can explain such flaws
as:

The acting is woefully bad. Gregg Thomsen (Zack) and Vivien Schilling
(Natalie) are just Godawful, and have absolutely no screen presence. No
matter how you "hack and slash" the film, you can't accept that. Only one of
the actors - Joe Estevez - shows even a glimmer of intelligence. When Gregg
Thomsen is whining to his stoner balding blond friend, it sounds so
painfully forced and insincere, it just feels like fingernails on a
blackboard.

If "Soultaker" is the awardwinning film you say it is, you cannot explain
how you haven't directed a film for 10 years after. Gregg Thomsen hasn't
appeared in a feature film since (with a single TV show appearance in 1994).
Vivien Schilling has been in nothing but B movies - including an appearance
in "Invasion of the Scream Queens" as HERSELF.

I'm sorry, but I saw both the uncut version and the MST3K version - trust
me, nothing said in MST3K is rendered inapplicable when shown in its
entirety:

It's badly written with putrid acting. No amount of editing can hide that.

Jonah Falcon
"Derek Janssen" <dja...@ultranet.com> wrote in message
news:3B6F634F...@ultranet.com...

Tom Carberry

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Aug 7, 2001, 10:54:25 AM8/7/01
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Bitter? Oh, a tad.

Tom Carberry (#45505)


Jonah Falcon wrote:

-

-


-


Fish Eye no Miko

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Aug 7, 2001, 1:40:13 PM8/7/01
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DIBS!
Damn, I'd get on the Dibs List again, but I may be changing ISPs soon...
I may, though, to dibs this...

Catherine Johnson.
--
e-mail me at Thr...@aol.com
"I want to save both the spider and the butterfly."
-Vash the Stampede, _Trigun_.


Jonah Falcon

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Aug 7, 2001, 5:12:07 PM8/7/01
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Ok. Define "dibs list" :)

Jonah Falcon

"Fish Eye no Miko" <fishey...@deadmoon.circus> wrote in message
news:tn09j8p...@corp.supernews.com...

Fish Eye no Miko

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Aug 7, 2001, 3:27:30 PM8/7/01
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Jonah Falcon wrote in message <9kpb7m$oam$1...@slb1.atl.mindspring.net>...

>Ok. Define "dibs list" :)


Do you really not know? The smiley makes me wonder if you're joking. And
if you are... why?

Jonah Falcon

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Aug 7, 2001, 6:35:33 PM8/7/01
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What is the "dibs list". I know what "dibs" is, but is this "dibs list"
something new on RATMM?

Jonah Falcon

"Fish Eye no Miko" <fishey...@deadmoon.circus> wrote in message

news:tn0fsff...@corp.supernews.com...

Lori Holuta

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Aug 7, 2001, 3:59:36 PM8/7/01
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"Jonah Falcon" <jonah...@mindspring.com> wrote in message
news:9kpg4a$jh4$1...@slb6.atl.mindspring.net...

> What is the "dibs list". I know what "dibs" is, but is this "dibs list"
> something new on RATMM?
>
> Jonah Falcon
>
> "Fish Eye no Miko" <fishey...@deadmoon.circus> wrote in message
> news:tn0fsff...@corp.supernews.com...
> > Jonah Falcon wrote in message <9kpb7m$oam$1...@slb1.atl.mindspring.net>...
> >
> > >Ok. Define "dibs list" :)
> >

Not new at all, been around for years. It's always mentioned in the RATMM
FAQ, along with instructions for getting involved.
http://www.geocities.com/Area51/5207/mst_ratmmfaq.html

Others may know more, I know of its existence but haven't gotten into this
myself. I always enjoy the final products though!

The FAQ. Bookmark it. Love it. Make it your friend. Take it to dinner.
Don't break it's heart.
--
Lori Holuta
CocoaJava
Enter Our "Show Us Your Ugly Mug" Contest
http://cocoajava.com
"David Manning praises CocoaJava as "the breakout internet star of the
season!"

Jef

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Aug 7, 2001, 4:21:49 PM8/7/01
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Well, I have the uncut version of Soultaker, and I can tell you that you gain
nothing by watching that version of it.
BBI cuts the lamest, most useless, boring talky scenes for the movies they do
(And stuff to make it suitable for TV), and let me tell you, what they cut was
all boring.

Take for instance... i think about another 10 minutes was spent in the
convienience store doing the lame sight gags (Look, the thing moves but no one
is there!)


The Toolmaster - Jef Zehnder
MSTIE#95033
"The only thing that ever made sense to me, is the words to a song from an
American Movie." - Everclear
http://www.mst3k.f2s.com
^^Updated 7/22/2001!

Jonah Falcon

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Aug 7, 2001, 7:40:10 PM8/7/01
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I've read the FAQ, but never ingested anything about "dibs".

Jonah Falcon

"Lori Holuta" <hol...@spoo.msu.edu> wrote in message
news:9kpgqk$1m95$1...@msunews.cl.msu.edu...

Fish Eye no Miko

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Aug 7, 2001, 5:11:57 PM8/7/01
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Jonah Falcon wrote in message <9kpjtm$57q$1...@slb0.atl.mindspring.net>...

>"Lori Holuta" <hol...@spoo.msu.edu> wrote in message
>news:9kpgqk$1m95$1...@msunews.cl.msu.edu...
>

>> Not new at all, been around for years. It's always mentioned in the
RATMM
>> FAQ, along with instructions for getting involved.
>> http://www.geocities.com/Area51/5207/mst_ratmmfaq.html
>

>I've read the FAQ, but never ingested anything about "dibs".


::7) NEWSGROUP MISCELLANY & ESOTERICA
:: <skip the first question>
::Q: I've seen some people MiSTing Usenet articles. Is there a guide to the
proper
::format for doing this?
::A: Yes, it is available from Michael Neylon and can be found on the Web.
In
::addition, there is a mailing "dibs" list. To subscribe, mail with
"subscribe dibslist" in
::the body of the message

And the "on the Web" gives you a link to the Web Site.
http://pinky.wtower.com/mst3k/mistings.shtml

Jonah Falcon

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Aug 7, 2001, 9:36:56 PM8/7/01
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Oh, THAT. Dibs for MSTing. Okay :) Thought the dibs were for something else.

Jonah Falcon

"Fish Eye no Miko" <fishey...@deadmoon.circus> wrote in message

news:tn0m0c...@corp.supernews.com...

Doug Elrod

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Aug 8, 2001, 6:53:50 PM8/8/01
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[director's defense of film snipped]
Thanks, Jonah, that was interesting. Looking at the other user
comments, it appears *someone* associated with the film has
re-discovered "anonymous self-promotion". And it isn't too hard
to guess who it might be :-).

-Doug Elrod (dr...@cornell.edu)
Tip: Try the IMDB "common cast/crew" search

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