Vote Grefe: Contest (June 2020)

Please (and thank you, friends) CLICK HERE to cast your vote for my script, ANGELS, RISE IN ECSTASY, an original completion-of-sorts to Andy Milligan’s classic masterpiece, HOUSE OF SEVEN BELLES. Voting is easy-breezy. No sign-up required, no frills. Just click the link, click “Vote” and thank you, thank you, thank you.

Nicolas Winding Refn’s is a treasure of rare exploitation and oddball cinema, a trove of rare flicks presented with sublime beauty and grace. Having spent many hours holed up in the vaults, soaking up forgotten directors, looping the works of Dale Berry, cranking up the whip-smacks and wise-cracks of a bygone age, I felt obliged (compelled, driven by apocalyptic ghosts) to participate in the Andy Milligan “House of Thirteen Milligans” contest.

Screenwriting Methodology

I had seen some Milligan features, but had never spent time analyzing the splatter — notebook and pen, Notepad keywords, Gmail drafts as fragments of cinematic observations, dreams. But I wanted to understand this narrative wholly and clearly. I wanted to present byNWR with a rich compliment to the Milligan original. And this is where things turned messy.

Milligan’s meandering beauty, his sudden flashes of violence, his juxtaposed anti-linearity proved hard to map as an A->Z-shaped structure. I ended up trying to keep up with which “belle” was which and how I would spin their lives around the moments Milligan was presenting me with. But my mind went to witchcraft and occult violence, the dread of history. These were the great grandmothers of our world’s neon demons and night stalkers, murderers and goons. And yes, that house… the house itself was full of ghosts. There were secrets and revelations, frog legs, spider’s blood in the walls, and stained lace shreds in the hallway. I caught a sense of who these belles were and let my imagination go into their flow, their words. At the same time, I wanted the script itself to express a kind of Milligan-infused indulgence. So, in that way, I opted for verbosity and over-written descriptions as opposed to minimalism. This is usually not the way I craft a screenplay, but it made sense in this context. Plus, I wanted the script to feel more artfully presented (as an object of homage), especially since I wasn’t sure it would ever actually be produced.

Thank you, NWR

And Refn himself… I kept my interpretation of his cinematic aesthetic in my mind during the creation of this script. Flesh for Frankenstein kept coming to my mind. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre infiltrated my being. I took a stand, a point of view. And held it. Refn is one of my favorite writer/directors. I admire the alien pacing of Too Old to Die Young, the cold bloody beauty of The Neon Demon, Gosling’s severed hands, the angel of mercy in Bangkok, the Driver, Refn’s vision of L.A., of a mall cop caught in the throes of a nebulous conspiracy. And more. Always more… I think I’ll cue up some Cliff Martinez and sink into a new script, into a new series, an essay, and try and channel into the currents of Refn’s creative power.

I’m grateful to the byNWR team for being chosen to present my work in this contest. Even if I don’t win, I’ll always have this moment knowing that my work is appreciated by such a creative and inspiring movement. Thank you.

Please vote!

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