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A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Buster Keaton |||
Buster Keaton

If you like Chaplin you will absolutely love Keaton, who is widely acknowledged for being one of the greatest directors of all time, a great screen legend and one of our finest actors, as well as one of the three top comedians in silent era Hollywood, and a true pioneer for the independent filmmaker; producing, controlling and owning his films.

Offered as one of three films in the Buster Keaton Collection, The Cameraman is Buster at his deadpan funniest. After becoming infatuated with a pretty office worker for a Newsreel company, Buster picks up a movie camera and sets out to impress the girl, which makes for some very interesting, visually groundbreaking and cleaver footage, capturing the essence of what it was like to be an innovative cameraman.

Based on a true incident, “The General” is a classic of silent screen comedy. Keaton is a Southern engineer whose train is hijacked by Union forces, which leads to a classic locomotive chase and some truly impressive and hilarious stunts, some of which could only be produced by CGI today.

Sherlock Jr is one of the comic's most inventive efforts (introducing a concept oft repeated) depicting a movie projectionist entering the film he's running in order to solve a jewelry theft. Known for doing his own stunts as well as filling in for his costars, Keaton actually fractures his neck on screen as the water from a basin flows from a tube and washes him onto the track.

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An Epic Interview with John Roecker

By KristopherTerrell

August 23rd, 2003

Live Freaky! Die Freaky! will be, without a shadow of a doubt, the single greatest film of all time about Charles Manson being the savior to all humanity in the year 3069. The official site describes it as being about a group of people in a future Earth that has been ravaged by pollution and war who are in need of food and a god to save them. The god that comes to their rescue is, predictably, Charles Manson. I recently talked with the film's director, John Roecker, about this "epic picture of puppet proportions." And, of course, by "talked with," I mean I typed some stuff up and sent it to him, then he typed some stuff up and sent it back. Enjoy.


Filmjerk.com: Can you give our readers who probably have never heard about “Live Freaky! Die Freaky!” an idea of what the film is about?
John Roecker: It really is a movie on how you can read anything and make it your own. Good or bad. Take for example the Bible. A book that was supposed to make people come closer together but more blood was shed from that book than anything else. This is what the movie is about: THINK FOR YOURSELF.

Filmjerk.com: I take it your not a religious man and you don't like people just following religion (or government or anything, I guess) blindly without questioning it at times. Do you think people will ever start thinking for themselves or will the majority continue to be lemmings? Seems to be a lot of that in the US today.
Roecker: I think anything is possible and I believe there is a huge majority of very intelligent people out there. I just think at times people feel beaten and tend to get scared or give up. I just don't think religion should be a money making organization. There is never a need to send churches or cults money for any reason. If you want to feel good about yourself or make your God happy, give your money directly to a charity or a homeless person. But once again this is my opinion, and I don't want to be in a position of also dictating.

Filmjerk.com: Where did the idea for the story come from? We don't really get totally original plots like this much anymore. Were drugs and/or alcohol used in any way to write it?
Roecker: Everything that is good in the arts is done by some sort of diversion. Mine was Sea Monkeys. They are very tasty. No, I was not on any illegal substance when this script was written. Just the legal drugs like caffeine and maybe a McDonald's hamburger (which is probably worse than PCP). But the idea was just an observation I had, and still do, on how you can twist any writing and make it some awful manifesto for control. I remember when I was in school and John Lennon was assassinated and his murderer said he was influenced by the book “The Catcher in the Rye." Then the book was banned from our library. Well, more people died because of the Bible so why not ban that book as well?

Filmjerk.com: What's the look of the film going to be like? Are the puppets going be anything like those weird Christmas specials we all loved and still love?
Roecker: Yes, that is the look. A Charles Manson Christmas Special. It is all stop action, a pain in the ass but worth it.

Filmjerk.com: Why puppets? Was it always going to be a puppet flick?
Roecker: Because puppets are creepy and don't mind working at 3 in the morning.

Filmjerk.com: So how did the film come to be produced by Tim Armstrong (of Rancid and Operation Ivy fame) and Hellcat?
Rocker: I have been friends with Tim for quite awhile and I was wasting time on helping bands that screwed me in the end and Tim said now it is your time. And for that I am eternally grateful. And Tim was the only one that had any balls to produce this film. He totally gets it and did not change a thing. He and the people involved in this movie are so fearless it is inspiring. Because I am such a chicken sh*t .

Filmjerk.com: Did Tim play a part in the casting of the flick? How did it come to be full of punks?
Roecker: Tim let me cast whoever but it was easy because everyone in the film is a friend of his and mine.

Filmjerk.com: How the f*ck did you get big time box office hunk Viggo Mortensen and Italian cult actress turned American action film sidekick Asia Argento to voice characters?
Roecker: Viggo I have known for a thousand years and I am the godfather of his child. He was supposed to be Charlie in the beginning but got really busy with the Hobbit movie so had to take a lesser role. But Billie Joe did him proud. And as for Ms. Argento that was complete kismet. Tim and I have been such huge fans of her it is insane. And when we approached her she immediately said yes. Tim is now working with her on her new movie and they are now great friends but I am still just a stalker.

Filmjerk.com: Did Asia let you see that angel tattoo?
Roecker: The only time I can see her tattoo is on a magazine cover.

Filmjerk.com: Sometimes twisted films have messages and hidden subtext. “A Clockwork Orange,” “Dawn of the Dead” and even “The Care Bears Movie” all had social commentary. Will “Live Freaky! Die Freaky!” have any hidden meanings? Should the viewer take something away from the film?
Roecker: Like I said before, don't believe anything you read. Especially this interview it is packed with lies. I am actually a chicken that is typing these answers and someone just sprinkled chicken feed on the keypads. I am just a cock.

Filmjerk.com: A cock, huh? The place mats at the Chinese restaurant I go to say I was born in the year of the cock. Should I worship you? Anyway, exactly how hard was it to get the film made? It seems a lot of people want to make movies and have screenplays. What makes you so special, huh?
Rocker: I am special in the retarded special way. People let me do it because they felt sorry for me. I have an enlarged head and size 12 feet.

Filmjerk.com: What do you think of the new Rancid record?
Roeker: The new Rancid record is so amazing it is unbelievable. After all the things they went through and then used their pain and making it into art, my hat goes off to those boys. It is a beautiful album about death, divorce, rejection and then it has hope in the end. My final thought is if you don't get this record your an idiot.

Filmjerk.com: What do you think of the new breed of punk, this "mall punk" crap that's all over the radio and MTV these days?
Roecker: I have been in the punk scene since the Seventies. I saw the Germs, The Ramones, etc. And what I loved about punk then, and still do, is that it is so diverse. In Los Angeles we had so many different types of punk bands, the Go-Go's, Blasters, Gun Club, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, etc. They all were different but they all had one thing in common. They were all misfits, society's outcast and that made them punk. So I don't lay judgment on the new breed except for that chick with flat hair that wears ties and cannot pronounce David Bowie. She blows.

Filmjerk.com: I wish she'd blow me. I don't know, it seems today all you need to be “punk rock” are some Dickies and some hair dye. Oh well, I guess. To steal a line from those Miller Genuine Draft commercials (and I think Hitler may have said this, too), “filter out what you don't need and keep what's pure.” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake is going to totally suck and the filmmakers and producers should totally get butt-raped, right?
Roecker: They should only be butt-raped if they are hot. That is only fair.

Filmjerk.com: If you were running for governor in our f***ed up state of California, what would be your main talking points?
Roecker: I would say that Fletcher from Pennywise should be elected king of America. Zima's for all!

Filmjerk.com: What's a DVD that everyone should have in their collection but have probably never heard of?
Roecker: John Water's “Female Trouble.” He’s still the master. But everyone has heard of him.

Filmjerk.com: Is this going straight to DVD or will there be any theatrical screenings? Like maybe a premiere or a film festival run?
Roecker: Yes, it will be on DVD so all of America can use it as a coaster for the beverage of their choice. And we are still waiting for theater screenings, there is not a hot demand for puppet movies only animated fish stories.

Filmjerk.com: Can you think of anything scarier than a zombie shark? I can't. 'Cuz I mean, sh*t, sharks are scary enough as is then someone goes out and make them a f'n zombie...
Roecker: Hmm, Fletcher from Pennywise drunk can be kinda scary.

”Live Freaky! Die Freaky!” is scheduled for a February DVD release from Hellcat Films. For more info on the film, head on over to the official site at LiveFreakyDieFreaky.com.