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The Making of Cannibal! The Musical, by Jason McHugh


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Chapter 17 - Spring Break in the Mountains


In Ouray the stakes and the drama increased. First of all, the span of warm weather was great, but we were in dire need of an afternoon snowstorm. Ouray is located just beneath a high mountain pass and is famous for its natural Hot Springs, which are great. We hoped to be shooting our deep winter scenes on the pass above. So each day of shooting was scheduled around the changing weather, which is a silly thing to have to do, especially in a sketchy mountain climate.

Our guerilla mode kicked into high gear, as make up and wardrobe would literally be racing the clouds. Each day in Ouray our location was way up this curvy mountain pass that coincidentally held the record for US Snowplow casualties. The cliff side memorials that lined the curvy black-ice infested road reminded us of this. The avalanche danger also happened to be particularly high at the time of our shoot, so we took the necessary precaution of looking up as much as possible. After a couple of days our storm arrived. So we rallied up to the highest location of our shoot (12,500-ft) and found a very deep snow valley surrounded by huge peaks. We stepped out of our cars and the wind and snow started to hit and shit got crazy fast.

Our crew went to work setting up the shot and protecting the equipment, but the temperatures were dropping and this caused consistent technical problems.

Meanwhile, Dian Bachar, one of our lead actors, was putting on his costume and makeup as he jammed out to Rage Against The Machine, which was blaring from the car stereo. He repeatedly screamed along with Zac dela Rocha, "Fuck You I won't do what you tell me...Fuck you I wont do....." Dian was getting deep. It was his big emotional Rocky Mountain Desperation moment of madness that was about to be filmed. So to help himself get into character he sang with Rage (lately he's been listening to this German techno-metal band Ramenstein) and he instructed me to torture him with detailed scenarios of his family being brutally murdered. This was to help him feel desperate pain and anger which was all quite unnecessary as our present situation had plenty to offer. The five remaining miners (Swan was only half a corpse in this scene) hiked out into the valley and stood there ready to go with the snow flowing down while the camera froze up on us.

Again it was a good thing we had cast ourselves in the masochistic roles, because that camera delay was super chilly.

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