Shoot in Any Direction … / Fist of Guanto


(Guanto) #1

So I am deep in pre-pre-production for my independent film, and I suddenly realized I hadn’t thought about one aspect of the project as much as I should have.

Blood.

I initially just matter-of-factly started working with my guys to get the “squibs” (remotely detonated blood bags to simulate being shot) ready while I moved on to other things and then when I was scrubbing through my collection of films for some other research, I realized I couldn’t find a single instance where someone getting shot was denoted by a “burst” of blood. Not one. 75% of the gunshots end in a victim grabbing their side or spinning to the ground or both. The other 25% that include blood only show “static” blood, and always on a cut-away scene showing the victim after the scene where the gunman pulls the trigger.

Wow - these movies were always so violent and action-packed (aka awesome) in my mind - I can’t believe my brain ever grasped that I wasn’t seeing arterial spray. To the point that when I saw Django Unchained I didn’t even count the endless showers of red-mist among its “non” spaghetti western tropes.

So all this to say - Do you guys think it is OK to stay true to the genre and show homage by using no blood and just an actor grabbing his guts and hitting the ground - or will that be lost on a no-budget film audience and read as a cop-out or something?

I have the capability to go either way - but I’m on the fence. All I’ll add is sans shooting in Spain I am trying to follow every other letter of the genre to a T… a spag-eh-“T”

Thoughts?

p.s.

I should say that there might be “one” film out there (even though it’s not in my top 20), but I am trying to reflect the majority.


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(Asa) #2

OK, now this is just me and my worthless dribblings, but: If the movie you’re making is an homage to Spags then you have a DUTY sir, to go the bloodless route. BANG!, stuntman grabs chest, tumbles acrobatically forward over hitching post. Cut to close-up. Little daub of bright red poster paint on a different part of the body to where the guy was clutching: dead-centre of the forehead, maybe.

Tarantino missed a trick. Django Unchained should’ve been called something else but title-carded later as Django Unchained, a la Death Proof, and all instances of characters speaking Jamie Foxx’s character’s name should’ve been of them clearly saying a different name altogether(“Steve!” or something), with the word “Django” dubbed in.

If of course the movie you’re making is in no way a western then this little nod might be a bit too subtle, especially if you’re then going to have to be consistent throughout the rest of the picture. In that instance, might be best to go with squibs and spray; limit your Spag-nod to naming a character “Dr. Sartana” or something.

Good luck to you anyway. Save me two seats at the Premiere. :slight_smile:


(Bad Lieutenant) #3

Have the blood gush out. It’s more exciting!

There are plenty of spaghetti westerns where the blood does spray.


(Jonny Powers) #4

Well, if you can do the squibs, go for it, though I think in a mass-death scene you can leave them out. But in something more individual or personal, go ahead and use them!

Off of the dubbing idea, if you can have your actors speak different languages, do that, then dub them ;D


(ENNIOO) #5

Yes go the blood route, but not over the top like Django Unchained as you just loose the impact then in my view.


(Guanto) #6

Wowsers in such a niche forum I really didn’t expect so many to say go off the map and use blood. Perhaps a sign-o-the-times I have to consider.

But - last.caress - I have to say I am leaning your way just because I’ve put so much care into making sure everything else is at least “technically” Spag.

I’m thinking a happy medium that’s still “spaghetti regulation” on an individual/personal gunshot (as Jonny Powers defined) may be an air/smoke pop - like this: http://youtu.be/WOQxRVXMhjg?t=1h23m41s[/url] and this: [url=http://youtu.be/1PtrijqGwKc?t=28m27s]http://youtu.be/1PtrijqGwKc?t=28m27shttp://youtu.be/WOQxRVXMhjg?t=1h23m41s

Jury is still out though if anyone else wants to weigh in.


(Guanto) #7

[quote=“Bad Lieutenant, post:3, topic:3288”]Have the blood gush out. It’s more exciting!

There are plenty of spaghetti westerns where the blood does spray.[/quote]

Titles?


(autephex) #8

IMO, blood was probably not used most of the time due to keeping budget low, unless it was early enough to where it wasn’t really even thought about.

But I think in true spirit of spaghet, blood would be used if a feasible option.


(Farmer_J) #9

Yes, there have been a few Spaghetti’s with squibs, but they don’t spurt all over the screen. The Big Gundown for example, Van Cleef guns down a goon, execution style, and the squibs only have and little spit of blood.


(Reverend Danite) #10

karano started a thread about squibs…
http://forum.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/topic,1435.msg55267.html#msg55267

but even sticking the word “squib” in search should give you a few that I wouldn’t have thought of Brother Guanto … Run Man Run for instance?
Seems the later ones had 'em - Keoma…


(Bad Lieutenant) #11

@ Guanto, just watch the beginning of Four of the Apocalypse. But there are plenty of titles. Follow the rev’s suggestion.


(Guanto) #12

Noted. It’s worth mentioning that even throughout that movie as a whole - the squib ratio is very, very low to overall on screen deaths by gunshot. And this is with the master of horror directing and way down the line in 1975.

So having gone through my top 20 with zero squibs, and finally seeing some of the things (thanks to you guys) in late entries - I think I am starting to prove my own point in my own head anyway - I mean just the fact that there isn’t a single squib in almost 10 hours of Sergio footage should be my personal litmus (let alone Django '66).

but I definitely needed this forum to work it out in my head - AND I will be following the Reverend’s trail for sure!


(Guanto) #13

[quote=“autephex, post:8, topic:3288”]IMO, blood was probably not used most of the time due to keeping budget low, unless it was early enough to where it wasn’t really even thought about.

But I think in true spirit of spaghet, blood would be used if a feasible option.[/quote]

Interesting - so knowing there is zero to minimal blood baggery in the vast majority/most popular spaghetti westerns - it wouldn’t throw you off to suddenly see it every where in a little flick claiming to emulate spaghetti westerns.

This is the sorta feedback I was after - thanks.


(autephex) #14

Yeah I mean, IMO a “modern spaghet” should update a bit and bring some newness to the table, while maintaining that certain something which shows true love for the genre.

As long as you get the “certain something” right, then everything else is good. I don’t necessarily think totally emulating every last detail is required, its more about just staying true to the inspiration.

For me, really doing it right would be making something a bit more modern which would include more blood, more graphic violence, and other things which bring it up to a more modern take, but still paying close attention to all the elements that made spaghets so great. BUT avoiding coming across as tongue in cheek or intentionally bad, etc.

The originals weren’t trying to make “bad” films for a laugh… or at least the best ones weren’t. They were doing something original and new with the western genre.

Personally I’d take the same approach to the spaghetti western genre, try to bring something new to it while also retaining the favorite parts


(Guanto) #15

[quote=“Reverend Danite, post:10, topic:3288”]karano started a thread about squibs…
http://forum.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/topic,1435.msg55267.html#msg55267

but even sticking the word “squib” in search should give you a few that I wouldn’t have thought of Brother Guanto … Run Man Run for instance?
Seems the later ones had 'em - Keoma…[/quote]

I should have flipped through the forums better before posting - sorry/thanks.

So reading through I saw both sides again - even the OP’s “opposing” thoughts in his opening post ring true.

I think at the very least this is an excellent example of the ratio (kills/exploding squibs) we’re talking about: http://youtu.be/yTx_BxMJ6Rg?t=3m18s

Man it really is few and far between any way you squirt it. Time to think… hmmmm…

(thanks)


(Guanto) #16

Well said. So the issue is whether we consider lack of “bursting” blood one of the key endearing tropes that’s worthy of retention.

For me I haven’t seen any release during my lifetime that come close to a true Spaghetti Western - so I’m hoping something that strives to stay in canon, somewhat religiously, will in and of itself be what’s new to the table.

Such great insight all, this was a good move for me.

Afterthought: It also occurred to me that a big part of what I am going to try and imitate, or emulate, is the time period from which the film was made. I’m going to go to great lengths with the ADR, the Foley and the color grading and film stock scans to create that 1968ish vibe… I think I have an underlying fear that big squib action will pull me (and my perceived audience) right out of that time-capsule I’m trying so hard to create… but then again maybe not. Ugh.


(Asa) #17

Guanto, don’t listen to these bumfunners, they’re all trying to torpedo your movie with their squib ravings! ;D

You KNOW what to do.

(BANG!)
“UUUUuurghhh!” (operatic stumbling around)
(BANG!)
(Falls to floor, dead. And not a drop of blood was spilleth’d on that day. Amen)

Spag 101.

:slight_smile:


(Reverend Danite) #18

Well, I never gave my own thoughts on this matter…

After being submerged in a great vengeance tale or two, soaked in the sweat and tears of spaghettiness , I’ve been somewhat disappointed to see a distinct lack of blood come the finale. I wanna see those bullets hit the mark and spoil the bugger (or indeed, the protagonist - no matter how pretty his blouse is).

But, less of the Tarantino-esque… “I will drench the land with your flowing blood all the way to the mountains, and the ravines will be filled with your flesh.” [Habakkuk 32:6] … and a bit more of “Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee…” [Ezekiel 35:6]

… more L’arena in The Mercenary than Django Unchained - … so much more poetic than squibs!

The Lord hath spoken :wink:


(Guanto) #19
Guanto, don't listen to these bumfunners, they're all trying to torpedo your movie with their squib ravings!
"I will drench the land with your flowing blood all the way to the mountains, and the ravines will be filled with your flesh." [Habakkuk 32:6]

Wah ha ha!!

Honestly I love all the input - forces me to think and make informed decisions - plus I love the topic.

I’d say for posterity sake my “personal” conclusion on the genre proper is:

49% of the time there is no blood and a fast spin to the dirt.

49% of the time there is a gunshot and then a smash cut (or swish pan) to a target who had been pre-painted with the technicolor crimson.

1% of the time there is a squib without blood.

1% of the time there is a squib with blood.

And these percentages are 100% an integral part of what “makes” a Spaghetti Western for me - now that I’ve been forced to soul search. I never realized implied violence could be so cool, or that my imagination was excitedly painting far more blood than was actually there. There is a strong chance that this realization is adding to the bizarro surrealism that is Spaghetti just as much as the ADR, belt-loops and lack of dramatic southern accents. I mean it’s doing something to my experience for sure. When the unholy fourth bare/barrel-chested Woody Strode is shot 100 times while pulling off one of the best Frankenstein’s Monsters of all time - and then the camera FINALLY reveals he’s been hit by 3 paintballs and a cigarette burn - there is something psychotically awesome about that, and I do not mean comedic or amateur. No. It’s more like a baked-in symbiotic part of the fantasy or something. If those we’re fully realized gaping prosthetic wounds a la The Walking Dead it just wouldn’t be a Spaghetti Western filmed in 1970 for me. I don’t know how else to explain it. (Says the guy claiming to be filming a “true” Spaghetti Western on a shoe-string budget in Las Vegas in 2013)

Some additional findings on the matter…

#1) Best I can tell there are no squibs in Companeros… all frantic cut-aways to already bloodied up extras.

#2) I find it interesting that Sergio had ample squib technology, a bevy of bullets hitting desert dirt and adobe walls, but actively chose not to use them on an actor to generate a “hit”.

#3) Sound is also a huge factor in selling the gunshot. Watch the squibless final duel in A Fistful of Dollars on mute sometime.

As far as my own direction - I want to be clear I’m all for blood - and I see blood everywhere in the main films I am so inebriated with - but I recognize when and how it’s being used - the majority of the time. I’m leaning towards nothing for the far-away minion kills and this http://youtu.be/WOQxRVXMhjg?t=1h23m41s for the close up and personal. All pending some in the field screen tests over the holidays.

BTW it was pretty cool to bring my producer in and show him my posting here and be able to finally use the quote “The angry mob is clamoring for blood!”


(Stanton) #20

There are a few squibs in Companeros, but generally it is a squibless film like most Spagies.