As I’ve mentioned, I had a vision of the film and the scenes within it from the time I wrote the script. But, the way some scenes were directed and filmed so exceeded my vision and expectations. I was delighted, as if I were given a surprise gift. I would like to mention a few here and more later.
The script has it that Lehman, a villain, shaves his body to assure that he leaves no hair at the scene of his crimes. Now you can envision a man shaving his body in many ways, all with different lighting, angles, and atmosphere. Roger told me he was going to strive for “creepy” and I think he more than excelled at his objective. Roger had Lehman use a straight razor. And the dim lighting on his body as he drags it across his skin is an image that lingers with the viewer—just what you want.
The shaving scene was so well done that I assured that it played fairly long. Angel told me that I gave it too much time. But it is so full of evil, so ominous, that I really believed it could even have been made a bit longer. But it is an appropriate medium length.
I had some trouble placing the scene in the movie. Obviously, it had to be early, but where was unclear. Then, well into the middle of the editing process, I was talking to Johnny Marshall one day, telling him that I was not pleased with the way that the movie started. He suggested beginning with the shaving scene. It was a stroke of genius not only because it set the creepiness factor at the outset, but also because it allowed featuring the marionette as the opening frame.
Let me step back to a little history to comment on the marionettes. When Angel and I visited an Air BNB I’d found, we spoke to the lady who rented it out and told her we’d like to film at her place. (Immediately, she quadrupled the price, which made it out of our range.) The small bedroom had two marionettes in it. They were what made the place “Lehman’s lair” to me. His character is manipulative, crazy, and sees humans as not quite human, but some inanimate objects as anthropomorphic. I made her a written offer to buy or rent the two antique marionettes. She refused. So, it was one of the first requests I submitted to our Designer and Property Master: get marionettes for Lehman’s place.
Back to the extraordinary scenes. Another of Roger’s brilliant scenes was Coxon, the detective, at his favorite lake wharf. He is agonized and angry. Not one word is spoken in the scene. The acting and direction are superb, as is the filming. If it had been filmed even longer than it was, I would have included every second of it. To me, it is that powerful.