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The Making of Cannibal! The Musical, by Jason McHugh


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Chapter 18 - Spring Break in the Mountains

Frostbite, Cyclops, Sex and Star Wars

In our moments of frost bitten angst we almost turned on ourselves. Because we were shooting a low budget period piece, our costumes were all thrift store specials and our boots were far from modern technology. (In fact they were even shitty for the 1800's) So our attitudes dropped with the temperatures. My hands and feet were completely numb. The crewmembers were fortunate enough to be dressed with modern snow gear, but than all of the sudden they had to listen to us bitch. Which helped none. Our all-star youth crew came through in the clutch and the scene turned out to be a success. We finished the scene and even tacked on this wacky improv bit with Dian upset about never getting laid. We nailed it, the perfect deep snow scene, so we wrapped out and headed for another location.

In the later part of the afternoon, we shot the Cyclops scene, which was so damn funny to shoot that it got everybody's spirits up again. It was difficult to keep a straightface when we were getting covered with Cyclops eye pus and goo. We finished the Cyclops scene minutes before a booming thunderclap roared over us followed by a heavy hail and sleet down pour. People quickly found their rides and headed down the mountain. Producers Ian and Alex were the last to leave and nearly joined the group of heavenly snow plowers when a large avalanche spilled behind their little Honda. It just pushed them across the road and then stopped a few feet short of the cliff. They met us in the hot tub to retell their near death experience.

In Ouray things took shape socially. People meeting people for real. Living, working, traveling, drinking (our crew got a real dose of what it would be like to star in The Real World). On this trip people were stuck with roommates they won't forget. Everybody was bitchin about somebody. The mix of sensibilities it takes to make a movie is astounding and the fact that they had to live with each other for an extended period of time can be cruel and unusual.

We had one nutty head banging, horror film loving freaky dude who knew how to piss off just about everyone on the crew. He had made this hilarious horror sci-fi short about a futuristic Russian spy called "Man Intrepid" that we laughed about for weeks, some day I hope to see that film again. Intrepid Man probably got the most attention, but heads were turning as Mother Nature took its course.

On the course of the shoot I saw true love, lonely drunkenness, unrequited love, mass drunkenness and maximum stress. People let their true colors show when you're on road trip adventures. There were nightly debates about film music, politics etc. However (and especially if there was beer involved) things often disintegrated into personal arguments, drunken rhetoric and way too many discussions about Star Wars. At the end of the day for a crew like ours, it was simply about Sex, Star Wars, beer, beef and the various view points and combinations of the above. That's what decided friends and enemies. It was primal.

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