Friday, January 20, 2006

The Landscape of Horror Cinema Has Never Been the Same. Here, In Its Blood-Chilling Entirety, The Landmark 1997 Classic, "INCIDENT AT SICUANI"

For those of you interested in revisiting the world of 9 years ago, I give you "Incident at Sicuani", the 10-minute short video I did my sophomore year at film-school.

For those fortunate few who don't know or haven't seen it, I made a movie (which Peter Fedak produced and is hosting on a website of his) about ghostly, mysterious happenings at an archaeological dig in Peru. It has its moments, so I'm told, but never quite clicked as a whole. In 2003, Peter transferred an aging video copy onto his computer and redid the credits on his Mac so they didn't look so low-res and terrible. Also, just for fun, I recorded a commentary track for it. For the first time anywhere, I'm making that version available here. I just listened to it again and it's not too bad. You can tell I'm having a good time talking about it. Since I recorded it in 2003, some of the stuff I say is dated. For instance, Peggy doesn't work for Warner Home Video anymore, and we've since married (She is also, if I may say, pretty good in this). I probably would have mentioned the fact of her updated status as The Wife if I'd recorded the commentary track now. Anyway, for those interested in viewing the original without my voice mucking it up, go here. If you have a PC, you may have problems downloading the regular version, as I did, but give it a whirl, see what you come up with.

Anyway, if for no other reason, watch it to see everyone from back in the Halcyon days of film-school acting up a storm (and saving my ass by showing up) as I tried to create a 10-minute horror movie. And extra points if you can spot Heath essentially mooning the camera. Enjoy and have a good weekend.


blankfist said...

Admit defeat, Crane. Admit defeat.

For PC users, if you right-click the download button and select 'save target as', you can download the video to your computer. That's probably better than clicking on it and waiting for it to download into your browser window, because that's a labored process when there's no 'hinted movie' shell for it to load into, which is what apple's trailer page does.

moran said...

Stoic Peruvians are scary! White people are stupid.

Peter F. Fedak, III left a single frame of the old school low rez titles just before the "Friday" card. I'm no producer, but I'd say the "F" stands for "FIRED!" He makes a good disgruntled archeologist, though.

And I couldn't download the commentary.

Peter said...

Let me know if you have any problems viewing and I will fix it all up for you guys.

Sicuani did your mommy...

blankfist said...

Genius! Truly hilarious! I was crying and scrubbing back through it time and time again. Too bad you failed to mention my contribution in the form of a soda cracker white bum. Oh well, with this compression it's almost as if I never did. Almost.

Anonymous said...

Papadeas here!

We were all so thin back then!

Crane, you should have never given up on directing dude! A work of stunning achievement. Quite enjoyable and I must say Matt and Peggy were very good.

All I remember was how difficult it was to put on those damn contact lenses. I remember that eye doctor telling me that I would get Glaucoma in my 50's.

Fried Pepperoni said...

A Brian Crane commentary track??? That's it: I officially believe in God.

Glad that's settled.

Because it will take me a while to download the beast, did you talk about Janos' (I believe it was him) complaint about the titles for each progressing day? Wasn't it him that gave you grief over that, or am I thinking of something else entirely?

Do tell! I want to watch Sicuani, listen to the commentary, and then relive your jury experience, all from the convenience of this blog.

nathan said...

Fucking Juries.... My 2nd year jury was the moment where I went from not particularly liking Leslie Hill to hoping and wishing she had a terrible life.


moran said...

Fucking NCSA...

Those bastards didn't even let me make a 2nd year movie. My pitch was "too ambitious." Instead, I had to edit two shitty movies for dumbasses. One wasn't invited back for third year, and the other joined the fucking army. I spent the next two years eating Hamburger Helper and not having sex.

Thanks for bringing it all back, Brian!

JudgeHolden said...

The juries did suck. I guess they must have been good for someone. You probably lucked out, Mike not getting one. I worked myself into a prolonged freak-out over Sicuani the likes of which has never been seen! I would have a much easier time with something less ambitious. Filming my 10-minute's when I started losing my hair. A process that's continued unabated ever since, and which I ascribe solely to Incident at Sicuani.

I'm sorry you guys are having to totally download the movie to see it. If you get Mozilla Firefox, it gives you an option with any movie link whether you want to download it, or just open it. But watch it however you can.

Yeah, it's hard to see Heath's ass in this, which is not a bad thing. When it's blown up on the big screen and freshly recorded onto videotape, it is easier. I think Heath kind of made sure everyone saw it during the screenings because he laughed when he saw it. Could he have even pointed it out? I can't remember.

Paul thanks for the kind words. Matt and Peggy did do well, I thought. And for your three non-speaking part appearances, I thought you were damn effective, too. Thanks again for letting that dude put those contacts in. What a pain! I put them in too and once their in, their kind of awesome. They looked spooky -- too bad you could never really see them in the movie.

As for the hell I got for this thing in my juries, I remember it like it was yesterday, which means I don't remember it all that well. The credits rolled, the lights came up, and I turned around in the little swivel chair provided. Before I even saw them, I KNEW, "This is going to be bad." I had, after all, just seen the movie. And it was pretty bad. Arledge opened up with, "I had some problems, sort of following your lead actor." So I had to defend Jim Babel (hard work) aginst charges of wooden-ism (impossible), and then Janus jumped into the fray and defended him, too (he had reccomended Jim to me). Janus said, "Guys guys (he didn't say that, but that's to get you in the correct Janus mindset), Jim does very well over a period of time." He went on to explain what that meant, but because I was kind of out of my mind with nerves, I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. I know that Jim and Janus worked together on local plays, and maybe he meant that over the course of an entire play, he has a dramatic impact. Maybe. I guess 10-minutes isn't long enough for Babel to be good. Thanks for the tip, Janus. Jeff Bens and Leslie Hill both chimed in unhelpfully, but I can't remember what they said. But it was Denine who had problems with the title cards. She said, "It takes us out of the movie each time." I don't know if I brought up the Shining, the inspiration for the device, but I think I didn't because I thought they'd frown on what my 20-year old mind saw as "copy-catting".

I don't know if they're doing it now, but if not they ought to start compiling all of the 2nd-year 10-minute projects onto DVD so everyone can get a copy. Even if it had to be 2 DVDs and the students had to pay $10 or something. I for one would have LOVED to have a copy of everyone's 10-minute projects to watch every, I don't know, 2-3 years or so. It would be good times.

Fried Pepperoni said...

That's a great suggestion, Crane. I'd pony up 10 bucks for that, without hesitation.

Fedak, make it happen!

blankfist said...

Sharing contacts? I hope you rinsed them off at least, you nasty bastard. And it was Denine who griped about the cards. She said it gave away the ending, somehow, by making it seem like a countdown to something bad, or something like that. I cannot remember her exact reason, but it had to do with giving away the feeling of surprise because the audience would know they are to die... what does she know?

Anyhow, for the last time, Crane, admit defeat or I will be forced to drop the H-Bomb of evidence that you really, really DID in fact love Waterworld. Admit defea. This is your last warning.

blankfist said...

Admit defea = I just woke up from a nap.

blankfist said...

Peter, is there anyway we can get a hi-rez version? I'd like to throw it on my iPod and play it on my TV, but the current version is too compressed.

Peter said...

I have it at a high res version and can convert it to ipod Quicktime if you want, but also if Brian will let you, cause it is his intellectual property, however funny that sounds so ask him and a compressing I shall go...

Glad you all like it so much. Crane was very good at recording the VO which is harder than you think. I want to try and get Ben to do one for Fretless.

Later - PETER

JudgeHolden said...

Compress away, Peter. And lemme know when you do.

(And yeah, I had a Waterworld hat. And I did wear it a couple of times in view of others. And while that sounds like damning evidence, I bought it for $2.99 at Suncoast, and I wore it ironically, I swear. So no, I do not concede defeat.)

blankfist said...

We should post the video on seriously. If you wouldn't mind, Crane, I'd like to post it. Others might find it amusing being that it is in no way a glowing Director's Commentary which is what we've become accustomed to nowadays, I think. It's funny. It makes me laugh.

And yeah, I had a Waterworld hat. And I did wear it a couple of times in view of others. And while that sounds like damning evidence, I bought it for $2.99 at Suncoast, and I wore it ironically, I swear.

No, someone with a 'my other car is a cadillac' bumper sticker is being ironic. Someone with a Waterworld hat LOVED the movie. I don't remember owning a Tankgirl hat or a Robocop 3 t-shirt... You don't have to concede defeat, dear Crane, it is understood.

And, I know you're full of it, too, because Suncoast never sells anything for $2.99. All their merchandise is so over priced, a Waterworld Thimble would cost more. No way. Liar. You lose.

Peter said...

I will compress at his command and get it up on a server sometime very soon.

I told you people would love it Crane!

We shoudl sell it to Heath for 2.99.

Come see my page:

blankfist said...

If you sold the super compressed version via Suncoast, it would cost $34.99 after a twenty dollar mail-in rebate. I cannot believe Crane is trying to get people to believe his pathetic lies. He bought the hat because he loved the movie. He wore it almost as much as his Die Hard hat. Almost. He wasn't being ironic.

Lame, Crane. Oh so lame.

JudgeHolden said...

Dude. Think about it. How could Suncoast unload a Waterworld hat at full price? They do have clearances, believe it or not, and this thing was straight up on clearance for $2.99. Ironically, dude. Cause it was funny.

blankfist said...

You're right. It was funny. But, somehow I don't think you were in on the joke.

JudgeHolden said...

Pithy, Heath. Very pithy. But yeah I was "in on the joke". Ironically, dude. Admit to yourself that it sounds plausible. And if you found a Barbwire or a Tank girl hat on sale for $2.99, and you knew that we gave you hell about owning those movies, I think you might have picked it up and worn it yourself for a laugh. Like I did.

And you were right, Peter. Everyone loved the commentary. But, if I may, let me talk briefly about someone who didn't love the commentary all that much. Jim Babel. He called me last night.

I won't characterize his tone as pissed off, or even angry -- ostensibly he said he was calling to procure a good quality version of Incident at Sicuani because he didn't have one (I guess me and Peter didn't give him one -- or did we?) and the tape the school had was irreparably damaged. He'd been looking online, he said, for some mention of me so he contact me about getting his hands on a copy of Sicuani, and he stumbled upon the blog on Friday morning. He checked back in the evening only to find exactly what he'd been looking for: a downloadable version of the movie. (The coincidental nature of all of this is pretty frickin' crazy.) And so he also watched the version with commentary where I said uncharitable things about his performance.

Anyway, long story short, I apologized to him on the phone for being a smart-ass on the tape and saying not-so-nice things about him both in the commentary and the comment I posted up yesterday. He says he's generally considered a pretty decent actor in the area, and he was taken aback and kind of hurt to hear that a director had been secretly displeased with his work. He explained what was going on behind his "wooden" performance, (a director had told him just prior to that that he was too "over-the-top", so he wanted to go the opposite route on my thing). I told him he was putting too much of it on him, that there was a nonsensical script and a harried 20-year old director all contributing to the end-result, but the entire time I'm thinking that at the end of the day, this wasn't a discussion between Sam Mendes and Jake Gyllenhaal trying to figure out why Jarhead didn't click with audiences, this was a discussion about what went wrong with a dopey 10-minute student video-project from 9 years back. I was embarrassed I'd been called out, and that I was having a borderline serious conversation about this old dumb thing. Anyway, Jim Babel (pronounced Bay-bel, not Babble as I'd been saying it for 9 years) was really cool, and very gracious about the whole thing. By the way, he also remembered the audience busting up when Heath asks, "Why aren't you going?" and Matt answers, scratching his neck, "He shouldn't be alone.") So in the end, this felt like an abject lesson in the ebb and flow of karma. Say something not-nice, and it will come back around -- in my case much sooner than later. Anyway, it was surreal but Jim's a nice guy, so it was all right.

Thought I'd share that with ya'll.

nathan said...

OH CRANE, that can't be true. I hope it is, but it can't be. It's too terrible. I don't even remember the name of the main character in my story. I can't imagine him calling me!

How the fuck did Jim Babel get your number.

Anonymous said...

i smell blonde hi-lites and twitchy arm...

Moran said...

Ya know, I always thought my portrayal of "Jim" the aimless shopping cart pusher in Mike Demski's "Business Trip" was a tad underappreciated. There was some real nuance in the way I described how my boss (played by Gary Hawkins) would "mack" on all the female employees.

When James Lipton askes me what sound or noise I like, I will say "The Sounds of Joy!"


nathan said...

Just so I'm up to date...who is "Moran"?

Moran said...

I am.

nathan said...

wise guy

JudgeHolden said...

I don't know how he did get my phone number. I imagine since the city and state where I live is listed on the blog, all he had to do was call information -- I'm listed I believe, and I think the phone bill is under my name, not sure. I think part of the reason for the call is that Sicuani's just stayed with the people involved with it all these many years, musty-tent smelling memories floating just below one's consciousness, ever just a synaptic discharge away from coming to the fore to flood one with redolent nostalgia, and unanswerable questions like, "why am I still thinking about this frickin' movie?" and "what went wrong with that thing anyway?" Or maybe I just keep reminding them. Dunno.

We'll see who else calls up in the next few days. Matt Gray or Tim Donner may phone to reminisce.

moran said...

Mike Moran. NCSA class of 2001 - Editing & Sound.

I leave it to Brian, Peter, Peggy and other pals to fill in the sordid details.

Who is Nathan?

blankfist said...

Nathan is the chirpy sea-lass known mainly to Crane by being occupied by him one late evening of loneliness and desperation. It's a long, grueling story that never needs find another audience. Trust me, Moran. It's gross.

Anyhow, wow, Crane. Wow. See? That's irony. And you deserve it, because take it as the 'Irony Gods' way of paying you back for all your lies about your WaterWorld hat. That's not irony, dude, but Babel calling you after your unforgivable thrashing of an otherwise fantastic performance. Shame on you.

See? If you would've just admitted defeat, the 'Irony Gods' would've never rewarded you with this embarassment. But, you didn't. Instead, even after being shown the light, you still continue on this paltry and baseless crusade to reinforce your lies. If Suncoast sold a Tankgirl or Barbwire hat, I assure you, I would NOT buy one. To me, that would be the sort of 'irony', as you say, that would keep me away from buying it. I didn't like Tankgirl, nor did I like Barbwire... so I would NEVER buy a hat from Suncoast even if the cost was a nickel. But, if the Waterworld hat cost $14.99, you WOULD buy it because you DID like Waterworld.

And you did buy it for full price. Liar.

Admit it. Liar.

nathan said...

Wow're like a pit bull when you grab onto something.

Yeah, Mike, I think I remember you.
Nathan Hines, class of 99, screenwriting

Anonymous said...


I laugh everytime I hear that commentary track.

Interesting that an actor in a STUDENT film is THAT senstive to track down the the former STUDENT. Sensitive indeed.

When I was the loader on The Other Shore I got stuck in the changing one night. Slighty panicking because I was on the truck no where near set...I heard someone and called out for them.

I urgently told them to get Brian Mandle or Matt Petrosky...In a dazed reply I got "Oh man, I can't I'm uhhh working right now." And he waddled off.

Several minutes later Brian Mandle had come to the truck for some gear, and I was finally able to get some help for my situation.

During the time I was stuck in the bag...dinner had arrived (the usual film pizza.) Starving, I went to get some only find that same dazed person, who did nothing to help, finishing off the food. From my perspective I don't even think he did ANYTHING that night except pace around and eat.

So, I went the rest of the night hungry...and that person is damn right lucky I didn't bludgeon them to death with the very SRIII magazine I had had a problem with.

That person who did nothing to help me, and ate my fucking dinner was....Nathan Hines.


blankfist said...

That's awesome, Speck. I love how you describe Nathan as this oafish 'do-nothing'... you gonna take that lying down, Nate?

nathan said...

Yep...pace and eat and waddle. That's about all I did on The Other Shore. Produce it (line up all the locations, period costumes, period autos) and pace, eat and waddle....and specifically make sure Mike Moran didn't get any help or inner. What a beautiful time it was.

Waddle out,


Fried Pepperoni said...

The animosity in this discussion is almost too much for me to handle. Topping the animosity though, is the coincidnce of Jim Babel.

I hate to be a doubter Crane, but are you absolutely POSITIVE it was him??? And you know why I ask. You're the same guy that got a call from Becky at Judge Judy. You don't think this stinks just a little of Heath? Honestly, I can't even read your description of the call without turning off the doubt in my head that it was all some prank at your expanse, executed once again to perfection by King Harrasshole and his band of merry evil-doers.

So, just for my own peace and was REALLY REALLY Jim Babel who called???

nathan said...

Or David Speck...I should look at who signs these anonymous notes (blush)

Anonymous said...

"Or David Speck...I should look at who signs these anonymous notes (blush)"

Yes, you should.

After reading all the comments it just seemed like a good place to relay this incident from oh so many years ago.

And yes, it really did happen that way. I was stuck in the tent, while you refused to help and then ate my dinner.

I also remember pulling a 22 hour work day on that this day I still haven't matched that record...nor do I ever want to.

So, a big :thumbsup: to awesome producing... (-_-)


Anonymous said...


I wouldn't take it too personaly Hinesy...even though I wanted to beat you mercilessly at the time. I've still hung out with you at Crane's since then haven't I...ok then. :-P


JudgeHolden said...

Shawn, I've thought about it. It did stink of Heath which is why when he said he was Jim Babel, I was reluctant to really engage in a discussion with him at first, because in the back of my mind I was thinking: this is Heath again. I didn't like considering the possibility because even to think that Heath could have perpetrated a prank of this magnitude hurts my brain.

In short, I am absolutely POSITIVE that Jim Babel called me. The only question would have been if Heath had somehow prompted Jim to call, which would have required Heath getting in touch with Jim and telling him to call, which I think Jim would have mentioned. There's no way it wasn't Jim. I think this just may be one of those crazy coincidences that never seem believable when you read them in novels.

nathan said...

God.. Which night are you talking about? The one at the mansion or one of the out in butt fuck nowhere nights?

I would imagine you're not the only one who wanted to beat me. I don't remember not helping you out...or you on the shoot at all, really...but Matt Grey's incredibly long shot lists, too many takes on each shot, flights of inspiration....and god, just about everything made the job a..challenge, i guess you could call it. Matt's great, but that was not the funnest shoot to produce. I'm not surprised you were pissed. You weren't the only one.
Anyway, have NO recollection of the incident, but yeah...sorry.

blankfist said...


On any account, Harwell and Crane, you both can put your overworking paranoia to rest. I didn't call as Jim (doubt I could pull that one off, because my voice is too distinctive to disguise, I think), nor did I have him call you. It was, as you were mentioning earlier, irony. Sweet, sweet irony.

Now, admit defeat. Waterworld hat.

blankfist said...

Don't make the 'Irony Gods' any angrier. Stop now before it hurts.

Anonymous said...

Brian, loved the movie, loved everything about the movie, thinking about being the movie for Halloween.
It took me about 30 minutes to download the commentary, but it was worth it, but I don't scream like that at scary icans or whatever, jerkface.
The only thing I think it lacked was,
Love, your sister
Make another, make another!