Review Fix chats with director Vincent Turturro, who discusses his new film, “Victor Goodview.” Breaking down his creative process and what it’s like to be a part of Troma, Turturro Let’s us know why this film is a special one for him.
In the Yonkers ghetto – on the outskirts of New York City – aimless white-boy-millennial Victor finds himself without a job and short on the utility bill. To make matters more… uncomfortable, he hasn’t had a bowel movement in longer than he can remember.
Victor seeks solace by making friends of dubious character, smoking crack of dubious quality, and pursuing women of dubious intent. As Victor readies himself for his desperately needed dead-end job interview, the consequences of his lifestyle catch up with him.
Review Fix: How was this film born?
Vincent Turturro: Victor Goodview was born, literally – and I try not to use that word lightly or figuratively – in the basement apartment we used as our primary set for the film; yes we hired a talented art director to beshit the place a bit but you can’t dream up a space more finite than that.
I lived there for a time, beginning in 2007, and though I was rarely lucid during that period, I was blessed with the friendship of my eventual partner on the film, Jerome Raim. Jerome, always a heartening force, helped realize the very tactile source material we had our fingertips. Victor, titular face of our story, was invented initially as a mere excuse to use the space and to explore the South Yonkers terrain, untapped save for being faked for Brooklyn in Law & Order or numerous other “NYC” based productions; we wanted to tell a contemporary Yonkers-specific story; plunking a character like Victor (whom we lovingly refer to as a tofu) at the hub of it all enabled us to then dream up a whole body of whimsical characters who came bearing baggage, thus a story emerged, a story without a plot, but a story nevertheless
Review Fix: What inspires you to create?
Turturro: What inspires me to create is an absolute dearth of know-how in any other field.
Review Fix: Why do you think horror films are still so beloved?
Turturro: Horror films will always be beloved because they constitute the most unpretentious genre; unless we all turn into prudish priggish hard-ons overnight, horror movies are here to stay; even bad horror movies are better than your average bad movie that’s not a horror movie because they are true to themselves, they SELDOM pretend to be something they are not.
That’s not to say some of the best films of all time are not horror films and incredibly intellectual, sophisticated, poetic (the Exorcist, Don’t Look Now, Jacob’s Ladder, more recently Martyrs); but they are no bullshit, tooth-n-nail depictions of whatever universal themes make them classics.
Now, I don’t consider Victor a horror film, but perhaps in some unconscious emulation of certain films, that are not horror per se but which are downright uncanny and creepy, unnerving (Cronenberg, Lynch, Gilliam), we availed ourselves of an esthetic that certainly did favor distortion, claustrophobia, shock at times, guts, grimaces, a pervading feeling of inherent apprehension, dread, defeat (at least I hope we accomplished some of those things).
Review Fix: What makes Troma special to you?
Turturro: I’ve been watching Troma movies since I was a little snot-nosed kid in Brooklyn, wailing on the sidewalk for Haagen Dazs; Monster in the Closet was the one; then amid my pot-smoke choked adolescence in Upstate New York, my friends and I discovered the Toxic Avenger in which we reveled more times than would be believable should I hazard a number
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this film?
Turturro: That I want to make a Victor Goodview sequel, for which I’ve just recently completed a first draft, 227 page-fold, no shit.
Review Fix: How did you feel the first time you saw it post editing?
Turturro: I was proud of Victor from the first; it’s not perfect, I’m partial to the pacing we achieved with the second half, but I sincerely like the film and I’m damn proud of Jerome and the entire cast and crew.
Review Fix: You need a special cast to pull this off. How did they?
Turturro: Special indeed; Winston doesn’t have to do much more than stand still and his talent scintillates; he’s wonderful on stage and in front of the camera; all we had to do was bottle his vivaciousness into the very taciturn Victor which I can imagine was occasionally painful for Winston.
Review Fix: What was the feeling like on-set?
Turturro: It was a dogged crew; we did most everything by the books but often had to assume a guerrilla resourcefulness because of time constraints, extreme heat, the unpredictability of location shooting.
Review Fix: Bottom line-why must someone see this film?
Turturro: To either reconcile the most squalid, abject, insignificant time in their life (past or present); or to rise to the occasion and empathize with somebody that much worse off than they are (which even without the empathy will provide a healthy dose of perspective – so, Rise to the Occasion and Behold! the Suffering!);
Review Fix: How do you want this film to ultimately be remembered?
Turturro: Do I want this film to be remembered as featuring the most impressive bowel movement (outside of South Park)? Well, it’s definitely a possibility but ultimately I’d be happy if Victor elicits a feeling like a coat of filth that might not be so easy to shake, again, depending on either past personal experience of the viewer or their willingness to step into the friendless microcosm of another lost soul (their soul not necessarily having come to terms with being lost, making their transport that much more challenging).
Review Fix: What’s next?
Turturro: Larkin-Stanhope has begun early pre-production on its next feature Arbor Day; a dynamite core cast & crew have already been assembled and have met regularly to produce self-contained offshoots of the script to stay sharp before we begin production in earnest.