Here we are, after many weeks and days of preparation, here we are. Danny Steinmann week is starting and what better way to commence this journey through the filmography, life, work and reflections on the works of Mr. Steinmann than with a brief announcement about what we’re going to do this week, as well as some surprises and help that I’ve been receiving from certain people.
So, without further ado, here is a brief introduction to our subject of this week of posts: December 16th until December 22nd. Hope you enjoy!
Danny Steinmann, film director, came into this world in the year 1942. This American filmmaker dedicated most of the time of his life to the movie business, and even if he died recently (December 2012, he was 70 years old), he was only able to write and direct 4 features, and the last one was released in 1985. Many things happened in Danny Steinmann’s life, enough to write a book about it, a book that no one will be able to write.
All the interviews that he did during his lifetime (very few actually, there are more fan accounts of meetings and conversations that he had in conventions and other events) tell an important, brave and sad story, but there’s so much that was left in the shadows that maybe no one will ever come close to now tell about his life, and that is a dent in the viewpoint on the history of film, it may impede the full appreciation of the great career that he had as a filmmaker.
So, as a tribute to this overlooked figure in the filmmaking world, and as an answer to my questions regarding his value and the future appreciation of his ouvre, I decided to do what you’ll be reading during the upcoming days. I’ll dedicate one week to the work and life of Danny Steinmann, and I hope that it will be a moment and place for all of us to take a deep look at the movies in which he was involved.
The goal of this week is not only to shine a light on this obscure director of one of the most maligned genres when it comes to critical reception (horror), but also to assess some kind of thesis regarding his cinema, to be able to find his true filmmaking power, his tropes, his framing, what were his interests and what he was doing with the movies that he did. In a way, I want this to be a definitive guide and a source for the future Steinmann fans.
I want to show the world the genius within the realms of the craziness that seemed to fill the frame in each and every one of his movies.
Every post will be headed by a screencap from the film, as I usually do, but this time it’s different, and very special. This time we have a guest, the screencaps will be carefuly selected from the tumblr webpage Shots of Anarchy, where Steve Carlson usually posts screencaps of films of dubious quality in which he finds the value of anarchy, but let’s read from his own words, about what he seeks on this particular project:
“Shots of Anarchy, honestly, started as a goof – a light-hearted rejoinder to the Vulgar Auteurism back-and-forth. But as I started screencapping, I saw an opportunity to turn it into more than a lark, to point out the things that for me make these less-than-stellar films worth watching: namely, the point where the illusion breaks down. That’s where the ‘anarchy’ lies – in the small moments where the wheels threaten to come off, where a flubbed take is left in, where an odd accident of timing or spasm of directorial incompetence leads to bizarre and interesting framing. That’s why I often use close-ups, reaction shots and other such fleeting bits of business; while egregious acts of misdirection are amusing, I find bits like the Death Kick lead briefly and accidentally staring into the camera while staggering away from a body blow or a bikini-clad
woman squinting through her scenes because the sun is in her eyes to be more telling and honest.”
To those of you who are interested in reading a bit more on the life and work of Danny Steinmann, as well as a complementing the posts that I’ll be making, and as well as part of my investigation I found two great pieces of writing regarding the life and films of Steinmann. These helped me understand his point of view towards the world as well as bring me hopes and bravery towards the concept of ‘working’ inside of any type of film industry, he surely knew how to inspire you, but at the same time he didn’t hide how complicated it was, he knew how the deal was dealt.
The first and most important finding is a long interview that stars with his personal and family life and ends with his failed attempts to direct another film after 1985, as well as the reasons that kept him from doing so. You can find that and much much more in ‘A Very Candid Conversation with Danny Steinmann‘ a deep and long interview (Seven Chapters and One Epilogue) about each and everyone of the moments of his life, either be personal or film-related.
The other piece is ‘Remembering Danny Steinmann‘ a memorial piece uploaded on Dread Central, and it’s an interesting look at what was the life and activities of Steinmann in the past few years before his death. It chronicles a craze and a search, as he was off the map for the longest time before the writer of this article found him, bringing him into the light so he could talk and reminisce about the movies he made. There are some funny insights about his taste, his view on his own films, and it’s written by one of the guys who was closest to him in the last years, booking him for conventions and doing the commentaries for his films.
That’s all for now, tomorrow we shall start with a very particular view on his film debut.