Somewhere between Neil Gaiman and Tommy Wiseau
September 9, 2020 4:29 PM   Subscribe

The Evil Within is a horror film about nightmares written, directed, and largely produced by Andrew Getty, of the fabulously wealthy oil family. He spent more than a decade on it and died before it was finished and released. It contains many rough yet spectacular special effects of Andrew's own design, as exemplified in this opening scene.
posted by es_de_bah (17 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
and I wrote directed twice. Mod help?
posted by es_de_bah at 4:30 PM on September 9, 2020

Disturbing. If a bit too dark to figure out what was happening when he arrives.
posted by Windopaene at 4:48 PM on September 9, 2020

The effects are indeed intriguing, but the whole thing made me think of Brock Landers.
posted by rhizome at 4:51 PM on September 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Having seen it, and while it definitely has an appeal for connoisseurs of amateur cinema with a distinctive vision, I think story of its creation is a bit more interesting.
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:53 PM on September 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

Those in-camera effects are amazing. There’s something of real value here.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:40 PM on September 9, 2020

Why am I getting flashbacks to early CD-ROM horror games? This has a very 7th Guest vibe.
posted by benzenedream at 6:09 PM on September 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

* It's Neil, not Niel.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:48 PM on September 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Are you there, Mod? It's me, another typo-ridden es_de_bah post.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:53 PM on September 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Mod note: Heh. Fixed and fixed!
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:17 PM on September 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Can see a lot of Michel Gondry in there, some David Lynch too. Very inventive.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:41 PM on September 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I sort of feel for Getty. I'm not good at design but I'm around good design and feel as if I can create the same diagrams with Massimo Vignelli perfection. But I always fall short and falling short seems somehow worse than if I hadn't tried at all and just did whatever was out of the box with Powerpoint.

Is there a term for falling amateurishly short? The uncanny valley? I wouldn't actually call his work amateur, he spent a non-amateur level of funding and time on it. I do feel the same weirdness of Wickerman, Lars von Trier or Lynch in there but somehow all those films and directors are polished. Like if you gave Lynch $5million, made him work under a pseudonym so no industry friends would be able to help him and somehow put him artificially under the same restraints as Getty his work would come out on top by far.
posted by geoff. at 12:24 AM on September 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Having seen it, and while it definitely has an appeal for connoisseurs of amateur cinema with a distinctive vision, I think story of its creation is a bit more interesting.

These are really good links, especially the third (birthmoviesdeath) link. They tended to confirm what the opening 7 minutes suggested to me - the lead character is a sort of weird Mary Sue for the writer/director (a failson meth addict with some pretty, er, troubling attitudes); the script uses a lot of long words in an attempt to sound erudite, but mostly comes across as pretentious and amateurish; the lead actor has been poorly directed and so he does his entire VO in a spooooooky campfire voice; almost every aspect seems weirdly dated thanks to the decade-and-a-half development process; but nevertheless the effects are pretty amazing and the opening is (perhaps unintentionally) unsettling. I may actually watch this, I think.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 3:45 AM on September 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

It's Neil, not Niel

Boy, it's a good thing his name isn't something like EATACHAIR
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 7:14 AM on September 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

> I sort of feel for Getty. [...] Is there a term for falling amateurishly short?

Watching the clip of the opening scene, my internal dialogue was something like, "Oh this looks like the kind of stuff I would pump out if I too were finanicially independent and fewer day to day responsibilities - but would I ever actually release it?" And when I say something I'd make, I don't mean 'a scary movie' so much as a bloated, overwrought project that's not quite all there. I hesitate to use the phrase half-assed, because there's clearly a lot of labor involved, and it's better than half-assed - but only by so much.

For example: an early COVID project of mine was to recreate a block and a half of my Philadelphia neighborhood, circa 1760, in Sketchup & Twinmotion, leaning heavily on contemporary documentation (insurance surveys, an early map that's accurate to the foot, land surveys that document land contour, two very early drawings of Philadelphia's skyline as seen from Camden, etc.). I was pretty meticulous about the research. I kind of petered out after playing with it for a month, but I feel like the result is simultaneously really good (possibly even to the point of being academically useful) and also comically bad, and that makes me sympathize with what I saw in that opening clip.

I learned a long time ago that good content is only ever part of the picture, and a marketing budget will get you much more attention than a quality piece of work floating in the wild (or sitting unlisted on YouTube, in my very deliberate case), in almost any field of practice. For me, this was a fun little side project that helped me take my mind off worldly chaos. For someone with more ambition and a publicist, it could probably be spun into a press cycle, occasionally revisited over the years by blogs looking for content.
posted by Leviathant at 8:29 AM on September 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

So, normally filmmakers, like artists of all kinds, have to make a bunch of small projects that they can suck at, in order to get better, so that by the time they make their big projects, the work isn't so amateur any more. It's why people go to film school, or art school. It's why novelists have a chest full of bad books they wrote first, before they write the one that gets them success. This film is what happens, much like The Room, when someone who doesn't know how to make movies, and hasn't had the chance to learn and make a bunch of short films that suck first, self finances with millions of dollars, the film that they are learning how to make movies on. When Robert Rodriguez directed El Mariachi, he'd already made over 20 short films, where he was able to hone his craft and get better. That didn't happen here. Or, put another way:
“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
― Ira Glass
Getty never made that big body of bad work in order to work his way up to good work.
posted by MythMaker at 2:10 PM on September 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

there's a not bad short form doc on it for the visual groovers among us.
posted by hilberseimer at 3:18 PM on September 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

hilberseimer, that's my second link and I regret not drawing more attention to it. That's absolutely where I found out about the project and the youtube channel (In Praise of Shadows) is top notch! All the more reason I probably should have drawn more attention to it/given more credit.
posted by es_de_bah at 5:58 PM on September 10, 2020

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