Spider One, long known for his musical ventures as the frontman for the metal band Powerman 5000, has also taken his creative talents on a path similar to his brother Rob Zombie behind the director's chair. After transitioning from Powerman 5000's music videos and shorts, Spider took his next major step with his theatrical debut in Allegoria for RLJE Films and Shudder. The film follows a group of artists whose lives become unwittingly entangled as their obsessions and insecurities manifest monsters, demons, and death.
Bleeding Cool: What's the inspiration behind Allegoria?
Spider One: The inspiration behind Allegoria was my own writer's block, which is the struggle of trying to live a creative life emotionally, financially, and otherwise. Art is a funny way of controlling the artist. In other words, you have no choice. You will create, and it will not allow you to become an accountant or a plumber. That, coupled with how we look at artists and how we describe them, is much in line with the vernacular of the horror genre. For me, the tortured artist and the suffering through your art concept made those two worlds a natural fit. We had artists like Van Gogh chopping his ear off or musicians overdosing and killing themselves. It wasn't far of a step taking it to monsters, possession, and demons, so it all made sense to me.
BC: Were there any particular artists in mind that inspired this anthology?
One: There's a little bit of a lot of people I know personally in these characters, myself included. We referenced a Van Gogh quote at the beginning of the film. He iconically represents what we all think of as the tortured artist. That was the heart of it all, but regardless if you're an artist, you can relate to this idea of feeling inadequate, ego issues, or insecurities. Knowing a lot of musicians, actors, and painters, they all share a lot of these similar traits. It wasn't hard to construct these characters.
BC: What were some of the most valuable lessons you picked from past experiences that helped you get through making this?
One:: Directing and writing a film are difficult processes no matter their scale. There are a million things that can go wrong you have to answer for. I remember watching an interview with Quentin Tarantino, and he said something that always stuck with me, "You might not be the most knowledgeable person on the set. You might not have the most experience of everybody on a set, but what you can do is you can know your material better than anybody else." That was very helpful for me because when you are directing a movie, you will inevitably be asked a million questions by the crew and actors. I even ask myself things like, "Why is this person wearing a red shirt? Why are we putting the camera here? Why are we using this light?" If you know your own material better than anybody, you should always have an answer for those questions. That's been a helpful mindset in tackling this kind of stuff.
BC: Speaking of Tarantino, were there other influences that helped develop your filmmaking that you want to bring up and what you incorporated into this?
One: Most of the movies I have the greatest affection for are from certain directors at the height of the 1970s. I grew up watching [Stanley] Kubrick and [Martin] Scorsese films, which reflect the time's simplicity. Kubrick was doing amazing things beyond anybody's ability at that time, but his work was simple. There were also limitations to what many of these guys could do, and that aesthetic connects most with me. I'm not compelled to try to do anything terribly tricky or fancy. I like composing a great shot, letting the scene take over, and letting the actors do their thing. I'm not relying on post-production with a million edits, throwing things in there digitally, or anything like that.
Allegoria, which also stars Adam Busch, Bryce Johnson, and Scout Compton, is available on demand and streaming on Shudder.