The complications of imaginary filmmaking: Jamie Shovlin’s ROUGH CUT

How do you remake a film that never existed?

In 1973, Orson Welles gave the world F FOR FAKE; a strange amalgam of a film, one that intertwined fakery with real life but did so with upfront honesty. His blatant proclamations told the audience that the movie would lie to them, trick them, and occasionally reveal the truth. It’s a marvel to experience this masterful deconstruction of film where the unraveling of reality actually feels really…real. Forty years later, UK artist Jamie Shovlin’s continues Welles’ breakdown of narrative and influential imagery in cinematic form with his debut film ROUGH CUT. But while Welles provides a his disclaimer upfront, Shovlin’s magic relies on a back-story that has been a part of an art project for the past few years. What does that mean? Well, ROUGH CUT is a documentary about the re-making a film, HIKER MEAT, that never actually happened. And despite what you will see in ROUGH CUT, HIKER MEAT will never exist. Confused? You won’t be…

The basic premise is this: HIKER MEAT is an imaginary film by a fake Italian director named Jesus Rinzoli that artist Jamie Shovlin, writer Mike Hart (name is an anagram for Hiker Meat), and musician Euan Rodger created in order to give scoring credit to another fake project, the band Lustfaust. ROUGH CUT is the culmination of these projects, a documentary that shows how Shovlin and his crew re-constructed scenes from infamous horror films in order to “make” the new version of HIKER MEAT. As the titles, trailer and imagery suggest, Shovlin culls from horror and exploitation genre history to reconstruct films that are easily recognizable to any horror fan: EVIL DEAD, OPERA, TORSO and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET III (amongst many others).

RoughCut-02

Referenced and re-made as closely to the original as possible, using the English countryside as the stand-in landscape for mainly American films, Shovlin creates a metaphoric and literal combination of horror clichés. These individual scenes taken from different films share in specific genre tropes (for instance, there is the prominent fixture of the ‘Final Girl’) but they are, at their core, different stories. By showing the construction of attempting to recreate these scenes and suggesting that they will be cohesively pieced together, ROUGH CUT is more of a revelation of the mystery and magic of cinema rather than a simple montage. So while ROUGH CUT focuses on the attempt to remake parts of HIKER MEAT, HIKER MEAT is only a construct. The narrative lies in the making.

Existing only in trailer form, posters, artwork, and installation piece, HIKER MEAT is fascinating precisely because while it is present in the world, it’s not really there. As Shovlin says, “HIKER MEAT is effectively the false hand that allows ROUGH CUT to exist.” You’ll see glimpses of its potential life in ROUGH CUT, but the desire to see the outcome misses the point. Instead, we should revel in the mystery and take away what’s at the heart of the film: the joy, tribulations, complications, hilarity, and insanity that come with the territory of making a movie. The fact that they’re making something that’ll never exist in a traditional image form is what makes the film uniquely fantastic. That’s the touchstone of reality in ROUGH CUT.

This originally appeared on Fangoria in June 2014.

The Art of Fear: first program, Pieces

The Art of Fear begins in two days! To satiate your appetite in the meantime, here is the trailer to Jesus Rinzoli’s long forgotten slasher, Hiker Meat and the program for the first screening:

Horror cinema is ripe for the slaughter as Takeshi Murata (Chicago), Darren Banks (United Kingdom), and Jamie Shovlin (United Kingdom) cut, recompose, and manipulate scenes from classic horror films. These works are montages from classic (and not so classic) giallo, slasher, and B-movies from the 1960s-1980s. By re-arranging and manipulating the actions and contexts of films such as The BurningFriday the 13th, and Mask of Satan, these artists apply new meaning to what is familiar in horror. As the first program in The Art of FearPieces is an homage to and de-construction of this influential time period of horror.

PROGRAM

Takeshi Murata, Monster Movie
US, 2005, DVD, 3:55 minutes, Color, Sound

Darren Banks, I’m sure if there were a monster in the midlands we would have seen it on the telly
UK, 2011, Found video footage, 17 minutes, Color, Sound

Darren Banks, Interiors
UK, 2005, Found video footage, 10 minutes, Color, Sound

Takeshi Murata, Untitled (Silver)
US, 2006, DVD, 11 minutes, b&w, sound

Jamie Shovlin, Hiker Meat
UK, 2009-present, Digital Video, 77 minutes, Color Sound

Read previous GWKTM posts on Jamie Shovlin here and here | Darren Banks here and here.

The Art of Fear: artist films inspired by horror cinema

I’m so excited to announce The Art of Feara two-part artist film program I am curating at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn. Featuring moving image works influenced by horror cinema, it is the first manifestation of my research on horror film and contemporary art presented in New York (look out for a major upcoming exhibition in Los Angeles) and I’mthrilled to be working with such truly incredible artists. Please come support artist film, cinema, and horror this October!

The two-part screening features works by Takeshi MurataDarren BanksJaime Shovlin (October 5) and My BarbarianAida RuilovaMarnie Weber (October 19).

View complete program and artist information here. 

Jamie Shovlin – Pieces

Earlier I mentioned Jamie Shovlin’s Hiker Meat project. In the same slasher film vein, here is an image of Shovlin’s Index (Pieces A) that explicitly references that bloodiest movie about body parts, Pieces (Juan Piquer Simon, 1982). The image used is taken from the trailer.

Index (Pieces A), 2011
Gouache and Image Transfer on linen mounted on board
11×16″ / 28x40cm
Courtesy of Horton Gallery

In addition to Index (Pieces A) I’ve also included the classic and clever poster for the film.


A great synopsis on
Pieces can be found here.

‘Hiker Meat’ (Jamie Shovlin) at Milton Keynes Gallery

UK artist Jamie Shovlin ongoing installation on Jesus Rinzoli’s 1981 Hiker Meat is the best slasher film never made. Featuring scripts, posters, drawings, and thousands of culled horror clips, Hiker Meat is a celebration of a memory that didn’t happen except for in our generation’s joint enthusiasm for campy killer classics.

Hiker Meat has been shown in various incarnations recently in London at IBID Projects, New York at Horton Gallery, and will be at MACRO this fall. However this Thursday Milton Keynes Gallery will be showing the film’s ‘rough cut’, along with a live performance by Lustfaust, as part of their Scratch Nights series.