Whether you like his music or not, it's clear that Marilyn Manson has a penchant for visually arresting, graphic imagery in his work. His music videos, paintings and his own unusual personal style are blatant reminders that behind some of Manson's more shocking antics is a highly creative, articulate and intelligent person (just listen to one of his interviews and you'll quickly learn he's no slouch). In 2004, Manson conceived his dream project -- a film based on the Alice in Wonderland penman, Lewis Carroll. Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll entered pre-production in 2005 and experienced considerable delays. Despite having an initial budget of $5-7 million, the film never made its 2006 lensing date and all went quiet for some time. Just a few days ago, a teaser trailer surfaced and it seems that Manson may return to the project after all this time. The film was being pre-sold by Wild Bunch at markets across the world but no information has come to light regarding a distributor. The trailer however should whet your appetite and get you anxious for more.
In Victorian England, a haunted writer (Lewis Carroll) lives in an isolated castle, where he is tormented by sleepless nights and visions of a girl named Alice. He finds himself becoming a symptom of his own invention and is terrified of what waits for him each night. The promo features Manson's former wife, burlesque star Dita Von Teese and the artist (figure in the medical mask) Gottfried Helnwein, whose work has inspired other musicians like Rammstein. English model Lily Cole plays Alice and it has been rumored that Manson's current fiancée, Evan Rachel Wood, will be starring as Alice's alter ego. Manson takes on the roles of the bird-face masked character and Lewis Carroll. I hope he fine tunes that bad English accent.
Manson's goal for the film was to create something that would "redefine the horror genre" and be "unconventional by being traditional." He has cited atmospheric classics like Rosemary's Baby and The Seventh Seal as his inspiration. The film's content is also unconventional -- Manson hired twin actresses to play Tweedledum and Tweedledee and they have "real, genuine sex with each other."
It was last reported that Manson will be doing the soundtrack for the film -- collaborating with other artists. There may be an unoriginal song on the soundtrack -- specifically Roxy Music's In Every Dream Home a Heartache, which Manson has cited as an influence on the movie's ending. Personally, this is one of my favorite tunes ever (I also adore Rozz Williams & Gitane Demone's version) and I'm actually hoping he doesn't use it. It seems odd that he would compose an entire soundtrack and not rework this song in his own way -- especially since it is distinctly 70's in some areas and the film has a whole Victorian thing going on. I guess the juxtaposition could be interesting but this is just one detail about the overall project that seems too self-indulgent. I'm hoping there's more to Phantasmagoria than just a parade of Manson's favorite things and he actually presents the author in a unique light. Check out the trailer for the film below and let us know what you think.