First, there was the Comic Con tease, during which Francis Ford Coppola laid out how he would unconventionally screen his upcoming gothic horror film Twixt by re-editing it, via an iPad-controlled system, live during a 30-city tour. How it turns out will depend on the audience’s reaction to the film each night.
Then, there is the highly curated assortment of collaborators: Tom Waits, who narrates; Dan Deacon, who scored the film and will provide the live music during the 30-city tour of remixed versions; Romanian cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr., who Coppola plucked out of obscurity in 2005 to shoot Youth Without Youth on the Sony F900; Val Kilmer, as a hack horror writer, back from the twilight of his own career; Elle Fanning, as a ghost or vampire but certainly one from the other side of the living world; and Bruce Dern, as a kooky small-town sheriff, with a head full of white hair but still trailing that signature off-kilter spark through every scene. Edgar Allan Poe, played by Ben Chaplin, figures prominently and Joanne Whalley, Kilmer’s ex in real life, plays opposite him.
Twixt is also, in somewhat of a footnote, a 3D film. Coppola admitted during Comic Con that he was not a fan of 3D glasses and that only some scenes in his film, but not all, would require wearing them. The programs during his Comic Con panel, in fact, were black and white and eyeless, in the shape of Edgar Allan Poe masks. (The programs, he said, were a reference to his credit-less initial screenings of Apocalypse Now during which programs were handed out to the audience.)
Now, the first official trailer has emerged. How much more does it tell us about Coppola’s grand experiment?
In many ways, the film is a return to Coppola’s roots. He got a running start in the film business working for Roger Corman and one of his earliest films, made during his days at UCLA, was The Two Christophers, a horror flick inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe short story. This film evolved from a short story Coppola wrote himself called “Twixt Now and Sunrise,” another homage to Poe. He also shot the film in his backyard, so to speak, on the grounds of his Napa estate last fall.
So how much can one trailer convey of the film’s layered storyline or its ultimate success at the box office? A single, fixed trailer doesn’t seem to do Coppola’s concept justice. Why not release multiple trailers that keep the alternate narratives in play? Coppola did a remix of scenes from the film as his Comic Con audience looked on. Maybe more are on the way.
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