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Tim Bradstreet

Dark Country on DVD

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This is my take on the whole thing now that I've had a day to mull it over.

 

The Stranger is some sort of supernatural entitiy, weather it be a ghost/demon/whatever. Between the "missing" rest stop and looking back at Allcock's story boards, the flower at the end of the road is the "ghost flower". I think that this time loop is some sort of game for him, think Groundhog's Day from Hell. But there's a catch, he's limited to his powers, and the "dead zone" Dick and Gina end up in is it.

 

The Sheriff, this is my take on his story. I think he was a victem to the Stranger about 30 years ago, the same time he's been patroling the area. Only in this case, he got free. Now he's trying to prevent others from getting caught in the same trap, but everynow and then they a few unfortunates slip through. Hence the missing posters.

 

These two know each other, and it's become a sick game. This is why a rest stop that has not been standing for 30 years is not much of a shock when it gets mentioned by Dick. I think the Sheriff was trying to keep Dick locked in the car to prevent what does end up happening at the end, and I think this is why the Staranger tells the Sheriff "I told them to stay on 95", gloating about his win.

 

When Dick meets the Stranger in the gas station, I think he was using reverse psychology on him, telling him to stay on 95, the getting really creepy, thus making Dick think "Why the fuck should I follow the creepy guy's directions", sealing his fate.

 

I like to think that Dick did not kill Gina. My guess is that maybe the Stranger possesed Bloodyface, cauing Gina to shoot at him. Bloodyface then kills her, and the body is dematerialized. That would explain why there is never a male body found.

 

As to why Dick freaks out when he switches places, I think it's the realization that causes him snap. This would lead him to make quick judgments, like killing the new Dick rather than explaining to him what is going on. Like he would believe the story anyway.

 

Also, the mentioning of Cheetas, not too sure. The only thing I can come up with, is that in every loop, the Stranger feeds diffrent information to Dick, causing the rift between him and Gina to grow. Like I said, all part of his sick game.

 

That's my initial thoughts on the film. If this ends up like Lost Highway, I'll form new ideas every year or two. I think that is great, because it makes each viewing a diffrent experience.

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JWeber, I quite like that idea a lot. There was something almost angelic about the sheriff's reveal.

 

I can equally see the Stranger trying to help Dick, and at the same time your idea about him tricking Dick into this mess. The character truly is what his name implies... a complete Stranger to Dick and audience.

 

Part of me wonders, if Dick and Gina are going to be repeating the same thing over and over, maybe the couples in the missing fliers are as well?

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It's almost as if Dick is trapped in some sort of Purgatory, whether on our plain of existence or in some Hellish backwater of his own mind.

Was he a serial killer? Is he a ghost that's been haunting this 'deadzone' for many years?

Was/is he schizophrenic? Or is he simply an innocent man that lost a bet with the Devil?

Have the Stranger and the Sheriff encountered him before? If so why don't they recognize him?

Maybe he takes a different shape every cycle.

Hmmmmm . . . .

 

Ya gotta love the questions you have to keep asking yourself ;)

 

 

- TB

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Hey! What about the moths? Aren't they a huge clue?

 

(BTW - some o' those suckers were HUGE! You coulda roasted a few fer dinner - yum!!)

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Tim - It sounds like you entered your own dark country to attain the goal of your quest. Very humorous. I've made it a point to avoid San Diego Wal-Mart at all costs.

 

JWeber - Interesting ideas about the characters. I hadn't looked at it that way, and your thoughts have made me think about some things differently as well.

 

I watched the movie with the commentary today and have to admit that I missed them driving through the tunnel on my first viewing, as well as the car (Mustang?) fading out and then back in again near the end. Also the flash of that dangling skull. I must have blinked the first time. It's stuff like that I have to catch on repeated viewings, especially in a film like this that is so dark most of the time.

 

I don't see how the Sheriff can be part of "reality" when he is part of the time loop. So JWeber has an intersting idea of how he might fit in there. The other cars parked in the rest area suggest to me that there are others trapped in the time loop as well. I don't see how to get to the idea that Dick is a serial killer from what I saw in the story, except maybe for the line about women all being the same. If that was it, that was super-subtle.

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I just finished the comentary as well. Tom and Tab talked about a lot of things that differ from what I have taken away, and it was nice to see another spin on it. I also like the fact that they don't out and out say "this is what is going on" they kind of hint and talk about diffrent options of what is going on.

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New theories. I'm a tad scatterbrained right now, wish I had kept some notes just to be accurate.

 

Somehow on the first run through I missed the badge on the Stranger's belt. So he is a cop, but I still think he's supernatural, and that he remains in the Dark Country, unlike The Sheriff. Since Dick's car ghosts out after the chase, I'm lead to believe that he is entering the timeloop again, while The Sheriff escapes. Maybe the Sheriff continues to reappear in the time loops, but almost as a living ghost (or hell, maybe he died years ago). I'd really like to see the story through his eyes, maybe with the events reappearing in nightmares while he sleeps (that's another topic for another day).

 

Who killed Gina? Well, since I now have a new theory on Bloodyface, I have no fucking clue who she was shooting at (assuming it was her firing the gun). Dick never finds out who kills her, why should we?

 

First, Bloodyface tries to kill Dick. Why you ask? It didn't hit me until it was brought up in the commentary (I think I eventually would have guessed it) that Dick may have been reliving the event, and that this could have very well been the third time just as easily as the six hundredths time. How many times is irrelevant, Bloodyface, in his horribly insane and probably concussed brain, knows that this will repeat itself. So after some thought, the logical conclusion is that if he kills Dick (himself) that it would put an end to the timeloop, and will save Gina from whatever the hell kills her.

 

Now, why do I now think Bloodyface didn't kill Gina you ask?

 

I think he ceases to exist once Dick makes it back to the grave. Just vanishes like the wrecked car at the beginning. Right as Dick gets out of the car, he is dressed as Bloodyface (puts on the jacket), and it marks the first time he would have been alone with him. Now there is no more blood, even his trunks hood is missing the handprints (I don't remember them cleaning it off). For all intents and purposes, Dick is now Bloodyface, just waiting for the car crash to complete the transformation.

 

If this is pretty hairbrained, then I'll blame it on me being sleepy.

 

MORE NOTES:

 

Allcock and his girlfriend making it in the missing poster was a fun touch. And part of Tim's name and hairline even made it in!

 

Dick and Gina (both with obvious gender names) arguing in front of the rest stop on the accurate female/male bathrooms signs... That's just awesome!

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I only hope that the core gang gets back together (Tim, Tom, Geoff) for the next flick.

 

 

I'd love to work with the guys again, and don't forget Dave, a vital part of the look.

 

I still haven't seen the finished film, Amazon have posted it but I'm in the UK so it'll take a few days :-)

 

Geoff

 

www.gboyle.co.uk

 

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I don't know how I could forget, but that car. Whoever picked out that car, my hat's off to you. Every knob, gauge, dial, button just looked cool.

 

 

Toms choice totally.

 

We did a lot of colour tests to see which one would work best.

 

Geoff

www.gboyle.co.uk

 

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I think Dick kills her as Bloodyface. "I never wanted to hurt you".

 

I think he tries to kill "himself" in the car to prevent himself from killing Gina.

 

For more temporal looping fun and hijinks, check out the Spanish film "Intacto"

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I'd love to work with the guys again, and don't forget Dave, a vital part of the look.

 

I still haven't seen the finished film, Amazon have posted it but I'm in the UK so it'll take a few days :-)

 

Geoff

 

www.gboyle.co.uk

 

Doh! How could I forget Allcock! He's an amazing artist!

 

I take it you're importing the Region 1 dvd? I couldn't find a Region 2 (I think that covers the UK), kinda curious to see if the cover would be different.

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Somehow on the first run through I missed the badge on the Stranger's belt. So he is a cop, but I still think he's supernatural, and that he remains in the Dark Country, unlike The Sheriff. Since Dick's car ghosts out after the chase, I'm lead to believe that he is entering the timeloop again, while The Sheriff escapes. Maybe the Sheriff continues to reappear in the time loops, but almost as a living ghost (or hell, maybe he died years ago). I'd really like to see the story through his eyes, maybe with the events reappearing in nightmares while he sleeps (that's another topic for another day).

 

I missed the badge. Will have to look for that during my next viewing.

The only way I can see the Sheriff NOT being part of the time loop is if the loop plays itself out differently each time, and he happened to be in this go-round. This just happens to be the time loop we get to see. That idea is based on Bloodyface saying something to the effect of, "This is the only way I can end this." or "There's only one way to end this." I don't remember the exact quote. I'll have to listen for that on next viewing as well. Also, at one point Bloodyface wants to be let out of the car, then later changes his mind and begs them not to leave him behind. Like maybe he tried that scenerio in a past loop and it didn't work either. No matter what he does, Gina still dies and he still becomes Bloodyface.

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As if there was not enough to mull over, I wonder what happened to the truck driver while he was in the Dark Contry? When the go into the tunnel, a truck passes them, laying on the horn.

 

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I take it you're importing the Region 1 dvd?

 

 

Yeah,

 

It's strange, in Europe we don't really think about the different zones, all machines are hacked to run all regions.

 

It's only when I need to send a DVD to a US contact that I need to think about regions.

 

Geoff

 

www.gboyle.co.uk

 

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I'd love to work with the guys again, and don't forget Dave, a vital part of the look.

 

I still haven't seen the finished film, Amazon have posted it but I'm in the UK so it'll take a few days :-)

 

Geoff

 

www.gboyle.co.uk

 

i too would love to work together again. it was a very rewarding experience. Thanks for the mention Geoff.

 

I just got myself a R1 dvd (god bless you cinema store covent garden, i couldn't wait for the amazon order). finally got to see the bastard....and what a magnificent bastard it is!

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It is everything I hoped it would be and exactly the movie it should be. Undiluted, pure pulpy creepy oddball noir goodness. Fantastic performances, masterful direction and it looked stunning. A brilliant interpretation of tab's script all round. I bloody storyboarded the whole thing with tom (damn he was faithful to those fuckin boards!) and even I was sucked in waiting for what would happen next.

 

I love the 'out of time' design and all the little nuggets you boys dropped in there - creating this whole neo-noir slightly retro feel. Its almost as if the whole thing was made exactly like it would have been back in the day. Sure its a little rough around the edges in parts but having said that - it just adds to its pulp charm. The score is also very cool.

 

The wrap up at the end works a treat and lauren german is spot on. What a dame! I like the fact it raises so many questions and doesn't spoon feed you exposition and answers. you can make your own conclusions. Its the dark country - its limbo, its purgatory, its the twilight zone. Its an old EC shock suspenstory come to life.

 

Tom, I know you have worked incredibly hard on this project, wearing many hats and taking on many roles and responsibilities but it was all totally worth it. Your passion and dedication shines through and you have proven yourself as a talented first time director. Its exactly the movie you set out to make. Through all the bullshit, technical battles, glitches and constraints, it shines through.

 

The film is unique. I hope to god I get to see it in 3D one day.

 

Well done. I am proud to be associated with this and you fine creative people. I mean it.

 

Best,

Davey.

 

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Yeah,

 

It's strange, in Europe we don't really think about the different zones, all machines are hacked to run all regions.

 

It's only when I need to send a DVD to a US contact that I need to think about regions.

 

Geoff

 

www.gboyle.co.uk

 

That's pretty neat. Over here in the States, anyone who imports either will spend a load of money on an all region player, or just buy a really cheap crappy brand to hack.

 

Geoff, I know you've heard it before, but your lighting on both Dark Country and Mutant Chronicles is excellent. How different was it to light something knowing it was being filmed for 3D?

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I thought it was fantastic and when they picked bloodyface up, I thought he looked like TJ a few times but thought "he can't be"! WRONG!

I hate movies that end with ya guessing what happened though, I needed more explanation on this. But everyone's nailed it, its like Twighlight Zone.

Would LOVE to see this at a theater or drive in. This film took me back to the 60's and I liked that.........back to a simpler time. My dad had a car with push buttons. I WANT ONE NOW!! Where did ya find it TJ?

All in all, great job guys!! Must be good, I watched it twice!

 

 

This is one of the best examples of a movie telling you to come up with your own idea I've seen in a long time.

 

I'm interested to read what everyone else's takes on who the Stranger was. He obviously knows what's going on, but I'm not sure on who he is supposed to be. I'm going to have to give this another watch tonight, just to come up with some more hair brained theories.

 

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This film took me back to the 60's and I liked that.........back to a simpler time. My dad had a car with push buttons. I WANT ONE NOW!! Where did ya find it TJ?

 

 

We got the cars from Picture Car Warehouse in LA. The baddest ass bunch of grease and chrome jockeys in the biz.

 

- tb

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I've been thinking about the car in the film. How it is a "fourth character." How bad things happen when the lights get shut off while Dick's driving and then turned back on again. And those creepy sounds and moans coming over the radio when they're driving in the Dark Country. I'm wondering if the map came with the car and the car is posessed or something.

Hmmmm.....

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Loved the movie, as did the wife! Looking to replace the lame cover with the customs done by TB and friends. Just wondered, what paper would you fine folks recommend to print on? I hate using plain paper, just looks weird afterward.

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Guest AdminGuyX

OK. Just watched it.

 

I don't know if it was just from the exposure here at RAW, or because I'm a movie junkie, but I had a feeling I knew what the film was going to be when I sat down, and as the scenes rolled out events happened just as I expected every time. The end was what I figured it would be, and as the credits started to role I just kind of shook my head. Yeah. OK. So THAT was Dark Country.

 

Great fucking movie guys. The fact that I felt I knew the film already didn't diminish my enjoyment of it at all. Not a bit. I did get distracted by the green screen work a little, but at the same time I'm not a person who needs a film to be seamless and perfect to enjoy it. I got really solid performances, some cool camera work, and a fearlessly noir storyline that I have a lot of respect for. It's not the kind of movie that gets made anymore. And TJ mentioned grindhouse in an interview recently and this flick stomps all over those because it doesn't force it. They tried way too hard, and for me, felt unnatural.

 

What really clicked for me was that this is a film all about Dick's state of mind. Be it in the back seat, or the front seat, you're watching a story driven by a man's state of mind. I love that. Just love it.

 

This isn't a film for everyone. It's not cookie cutter, and it ain't for the masses. Good. It wears it's flaws on it's sleeve, and says "take me or leave me, this is what I am".

 

I'm really sad I didn't get to see this in 3D. But, hopefully one day I will remedy that.

 

As for the questions in the film, I have to admit that when the film closed it didn't really matter to me who killed Gina. Though part of me wonders, given how blue she looked if she was ever even in the car with Dick. I have to wonder if she wasn't killed in the hotel room, and brought out to the desert to be buried, and Dick just fabricated all the conversations in his head. He probably had that argument with her corpse.

 

Tim, dude, your story about getting a copy of this sounds harrowing. Mine is close, but Akron doesn't have the same element as LA, so I didn't have to weave through toothless and legless mutants missing their noses. That sounds like an adventure. I did have to go to three places to get it. Target, Borders, then Best Buy. I found it at Best Buy. I picked up 1 of 2 copies on the shelf, grabbed the directors cut of Dark City, and a copy of Killshot too.

 

 

 

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As for the questions in the film, I have to admit that when the film closed it didn't really matter to me who killed Gina. Though part of me wonders, given how blue she looked if she was ever even in the car with Dick. I have to wonder if she wasn't killed in the hotel room, and brought out to the desert to be buried, and Dick just fabricated all the conversations in his head. He probably had that argument with her corpse.

 

Dang, Noeland, I've been hashing all kinds of theories about the story in my mind, and that particular one never occurred to me. But after hearing Thomas say in the commentary that he had originally wanted Gina to have white hair, I started to wonder if maybe she had been a ghost all along. I don't know; maybe they both were. The time loop seems to start at the very beginning of the movie. Dick wakes up and can't remember much of anything from the day before. There's Gina and the wedding receipt in his pocket. There's been some discussion about what the portal is to the Dark Country time loop, but the fog of that night before may have been it.

 

Another thought I had is that Gina is the key to ending the time loop. She needs to trust Dick to make it all stop. They made a point of showing us the Chinese trust tattoo Dick has on his arm, which Gina had not noticed before. (Whick makes me think they've spent MOST of their time together so far in the dark.) She makes light of the whole ''trust" thing and blows it off. She didn't tell him about the gun in her purse or about the creepy guy in her past. And she refuses to go back to the burial place to retrieve the lost watch. I think she already had the watch, which probably fell off while they were cleaning each other up in the car before going into the restrooms. She had stolen his watch, and was not happy that he had engraved his name in it. At first it seemed like that was because the authorities would know who buried the dead guy. But I think it was because Gina had planned to fence it later. She didn't trust him, or love him, enough to just hand the watch back to him. That would explain the watch being with Gina's body. Dick told Gina he loved her, but I don't remember her ever saying that to him.

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Guest AdminGuyX

Maybe Dick is the creepy guy who was fixated on Gina and he killed her and buried her, and not even the hotel room sequence was real. or maybe she was dead in the bed already when he brought her the breakfast.

 

Maybe that all happened in his mind, and he feeds this whole line of bull to the cop he finds in the desert, and then he wakes up after the car crash inside his own lie.

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