The Great God Pan
Richard Stanley is a horror director of visionary conviction and mad ideas. He is primarily known for Hardware (1989), an android-on-the-rampage-in-a-house flick, and Dust Devil (1991), a visionary serial killer arthouse flick that combined magic, murder and South African politics in the Namibian desert. Even the badly-recut version of the film released on video in the US could not suppress the sheer sense of madness and Tarkovski-esque grandeur of Dust Devil.
In the summer of 1996, Richard Stanley had returned from the debacle of the production of The Island of Doctor Moreau (I won't go into that story here, as it's been discussed in so many places already) and was hanging out with me in London's Soho at a loose end. He was being offered loads of terrible scripts which he didn't want to touch. He would even be offered the Spice Girls Movie, which he would turn down.
Richard and I were sat outside Bar Italia. Sometimes we alternated with Café Boheme on Greek Street. He in his black suit and cowboy boots, black cowboy hat and long black hair that made him look like Trent Reznor's long-lost brother. He consumed much coffee, sugar and cigarettes as we talked about Horror, his fantasy of one day making a proper sequel to The Wicker Man, our admiration for the novels of Arthur Machen, and we got to talking about Machen's The Great God Pan. We noted that it was in public domain. We talked about the misoygny and sexual hysteria of the book, which were part of its time, and how one might try to adapt it for today. We joked about how we might update it to the present day, and incorporate some of Richard's ideas for his Wicker Man sequel. Richard talked about his preference for pessimistic, downbeat -- and preferably apocalyptic -- endings, they were in his bones. We laughed and laughed. But we were also taking notes. I went away and typed it all up.
The result is an outline for a complete movie that never got made, never even got scripted because we both moved on to do something else, the outpouring of two film nutters drinking Capucinnos and laughing at each other's jokes in Soho during the leisurely British summer of 1996, where strippers and fabulous young things and cocaine-encrusted media- types ambled up and down Frith Street.
Richard has since completed an epic documentary, The Secret Glory, about Otto Rahn, the Nazis' Medieval History expert who led their unsuccessful search for the Holy Grail. He also directed an episode of a BBC documentary segment about Voodoo. He recently acted in an independent horror film shot last December in London, where he played a raving maniac who gets bloodily massacred and dumped in the Thames. He is doing very well. He is currently finishing several scripting assignments for a strange and minor horror boom in British film, and there's a strong possibility that Richard will be making another horror film soon.
He still consumes massive amounts of coffee, sugar and cigarettes.
New York City, Spring 2002