You may remember Per-Ingvar Tomren from the nasty ambitious B-movie slasher Christmas Cruelty (O’Hellige Jul).
Made with practical fx, and starring Per-Ingvar himself CC really went for the jugular. So much so, I let an old friend take my signed copy home to watch. He texts me 5-minutes into the film, saying ‘dude, wtf did you just give me to watch?’. He turned it off because… let’s face it, it starts off pretty dam hardcore and that nasty tone remains throughout the entirety of the movie. It was a B-movie horror done right. If someone in their 20s’ can’t get through the beginning of your movie due to the level of gruesomeness and cruelness then, as a horror filmmaker, you’ve done your job right, sir!.
What made CC even more special is when I actually got to know Per-Ingvar, I couldn’t have been more impressed with his enthusiasm, drive and overall passion as a filmmaker. Per-Ingvar is also wheelchair bound with brittle-bone disease (he’s like Mr. Glass). This still doesn’t stop Per-Ingvar involving himself with nearly every department during production…even doing his own stuntwork (which is a little silly…isn’t it, Per-Ingvar?).
Things have been quiet with their follow-up to Christmas Cruelty but that doesn’t mean Per-Ingvar, Raymond Volle and Co aren’t working their asses off to bring us their next installment of craziness. Well into production, Hodeløse Forviklinger (Headless Entanglement) looks like it’s setting out to offend absolutely everyone. A concept I can totally get behind.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Per-Ingvar Tomren
MH: What did Christmas Cruelty teach you in regards to becoming a better filmmaker?
PIT: I don’t know if I did become a better filmmaker… but I did learn some lessons from my Christmas Cruelty experience, like how important it is to have a good time while making a movie. It’s often very long and hard days, so if you don’t enjoy it, it will become insufferable.
Surround yourself with people you get along with and that wants to make the same movie you do, so you all pull in the same direction. If you have brittle bone disease, don’t do stunts. If you are going to spend thousands of hours making special effects using loads of dubious chemicals, invest in some protective gear and find a place with good ventilation to work in. If you make a bloody holiday movie with a chainsaw-wielding Santa, it will make one hell of a mess… my apartment is still not habitable for sentient beings. And if you want to reach a mainstream audience, don’t start your movie by killing a baby with a circular saw.
MH: So tell me about your new film!
After Christmas Cruelty co-director Magne Steinsvoll and I decided to part ways and make our own movies. I teamed up again with producers Raymond Volle and Kim Haldorsen and we started working on a ghost film called Angst. After a while, we realised that making a ghost movie would be too expensive.
We tried desperately to find a solution to finance this project, and we soon came to the conclusion that there was no legal way we could do this, so we started exploring not so legal options.
One of the ideas that came up was to kidnap the Norwegian minister of culture, at the time a stupid bitch that was filthy rich. So maybe we could get a large enough ransom for her to finance Angst.
However we agreed that this probably was a pretty bad idea to try in real life, but it might make a fun movie. We could use it as a plot for a cheap little black comedy, that we could make on a shoestring budget. We started writing the screenplay, and the first words we wrote were: “INT – SERBIAN AIRPORT – DAY”… OK, so we had to build a Serbian airport, but after that, we wouldn’t spend any more money… Well, we weren’t able to follow that plan either.
And ironically it turned out that our former collaborator, Magne Steinsvoll, managed to make a great ghost movie called Killungard, for way less than we spent on our cheap alternative movie.
We got permission to film the opening scene in our local mall one easter. So we had 50 hours to transform the mall into a Serbian airport, shoot the scene and remove all traces we had ever been there. One of the main reasons we were able to pull this off was the enormous contribution of Jan Rune Ødegård, who single-handedly built most of the airport, played a Serbian airport guard, then tore it down and removed it. Jan Rune, by himself, is like having a team of 30 skilled workers. He has saved us time and again performing inhuman tasks and execute to perfection all my crazy demands.
Raymond and I wanted to make this movie as challenging as possible for ourselves and set the project up to be almost guaranteed to fail. We wanted to try a new genre, and a very difficult one at that, comedy. We wanted to make it about things that aren’t really funny; politics, religion, and terrorism. We wanted to play the main characters ourselves, knowing full well that we are horrible actors. We wanted to have a subject matter that would make it difficult to get a distributor, set up screenings and that might even get us killed.
And we also decided to make the bulk of the movie all by ourselves, were the two of us were the entirety of the cast and crew. So when we wanted a camera move or focus change we had to come up with different tricks, like Raymond reaching over to pick up a beer bottle and using that move to conceal that he leaned over to change the focus on the camera.
On another instance, we actually had to make a fake Raymond that the real Raymond had to operate and move using strings like a huge marionette puppet while making focus changes. After a while, our lives began to parallel the lives of the characters we had invented. Just like them, we went through our own radicalization process, watching the gap between us and normal people keep growing.
As the world outside screams for safe spaces, trigger warnings and trying to rid our society of offenses, we were trying to be as offensive as possible. It sure seems like we have some pretty strong masochistic and self-destructive tendencies, always choosing to do things that will end up harming us… I even came up with the brilliant idea of getting flogged for real in a shot for our title sequence. We contacted our regular enabler, Kay Olssen, who usually hooks us up with extraordinary services and people. I told him we needed someone to whip me in public and pour salt in my wounds, and as always he managed to get us the perfect person for the job. I received 40 lashes… a reference to Elmore Leonard’s novel and one more than Jesus received.
For a while, I became kind of popular in the S&M milieu in Oslo, and for my next few visits there I got approached by people who wanted to flog me. Considering all the pain and suffering my movies and I have been responsible for, I guess this could be karma.
Even though it can be both painful and dangerous working on our movies, we somehow got many of the actors from Christmas Cruelty to show up again in Headless Entanglement. Tormod Lien who played the killer in CC is the victim this time around. Eline Aasheim, Jan Rune Ødegård, Thomas Utgård, Frans Hulsker, and Cai-Thomas Gommesen all came back for our new movie, along with several actors we hadn’t worked with before, like Anita Nyhagen, Vidar Hoel, Aleksandar Todorovic, Marius Johansen, Einar Baltzersen and we were even fortunate enough to get a couple of national and international movie stars like Severin Eskeland, Sondre Krogtoft Larsen and Lynn Lowry
MH: Where did the idea and inspiration come from for the poster?
PIT: I am pretty old school. There is no CGI in our movie, so it wouldn’t feel right to make the poster on a computer either. And I have always loved those hand-painted film posters made by esteemed artist like Drew Struzan, Bob Peak, John Alvin, Steven Chorney, Tony Seiniger and Guy Peellaert. They have always been my favourite artists, surpassing Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Pablo Picasso by a landslide. And since we couldn’t afford to get Drew Struzan to paint our poster, unfortunately, I had to do it myself.
I wanted our poster to have humorous exploitation feel, with a naked girl and a big gun… an AK47 no less… accept no substitute. I wanted to bring as much of the theme from the movie into the poster as possible, so I chose to use cut out letters like in classic ransom letters for the names and title.
MH: If you had to compare HE to two movies which would they be?
PIT: I would probably say Chris Morris’ Four Lions (2010) and John Waters Cecil B. DeMented (2000). I actually hadn’t seen Cecil B. DeMented before we started on Headless Entanglement… I know this might sound like bullshit if you see both films, but I promise it is true… I was totally shocked when I saw Cecil B. DeMented, it had so many elements that we also have in our movie… and even more frightening it had loads of things from our real lives.
A lot of the dialogue in that film is almost verbatim conversations I have had with Raymond. Just like the characters in Cecil B. DeMented, I have the name of my favourite filmmaker tattooed on my arm. Cecil’s philosophy on making films is pretty much identical to mine… and so many other things… For fuck’s sake… I mean Stephen Dorff even ends up in a wheelchair in that film. After seeing Cecil B. DeMented I felt like I am only some fallout from the mind of John Waters. Even though I say our movie has a lot in common with Cecil B. DeMented, I am painfully aware we are nowhere near the gargantuan talent of John Waters.
MH: Where are you with production?
PIT: With the exception of the end credits, we are done filming… Yes, we are going to physically make the end credits and film them. But we have to wait for everything else to be finished, so we can be sure to get all the names that should be there. We are also done cutting the movie, and I have started color correcting it, while Raymond has started with the English subtitles. Fortunately, we have some very talented people to help us with sound and music. Ole Jørgen Vik is doing an amazing job with the sound design and the brilliant composer Morten Rognskog is making the music for us. The world premiere of Headless Entanglement will be on July 13th, 2019, so we have to be finished by then.
MH: I hear you have an Irish producer on this film, tell me about him, he sounds great
PIT: We have been extremely lucky and gotten a spectacular Irish producer, who I am sure will be able to make our movie a huge hit worldwide, make us a ton of money and open the doors for us to pursue a carrier in Hollywood. English is a foreign language for us, so it is very helpful to have a producer that speaks English… at least kind of. He actually came up with the English title of the movie for us. OK… I am going to let the cat out of the bag here… You are our Irish producer, and the reason why we asked you, is that you were very supportive of our last movie Christmas Cruelty. People like you, Drew Mead, Jeff Abbott, and several others have made that film a lot more popular abroad than it is here in Norway, and we sure do appreciate that. That along with you helping us with several other things is the reason why you ended up as a producer on this movie… Yeah, and we have a joke about Ireland and terrorism, so we needed an Irish producer as an alibi.
FIRST LOOK AT HEADLESS ENTANGLEMENT
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