That’s the beauty of writing. You get to meet fun and interesting people you’d not have met otherwise. That’s how I met fellow author, Bryn Tilly. When our two imprints mingled for the sake of a good book loaded with enticing stories, magic happened, and a book was born bearing the best writing a person could sink their teeth into.
They say that it’s every writer’s dream to see their book made into a movie, and yes, I fantasize too. Bryn , one of the authors of The Animal, just happens to dabble in film, cinematography, and screenplays. His blog focuses on the avant garde, those films that are not necessarily mainstream, but leave a viewer enthralled long after the movie is over. His curated gallery features vivid plotlines of different genres, and I was more than pleased to learn that he has a soft spot for erotica.
His portrayal of erotic films go beyond mere lust and romp, but dig deeply into the human psyche, honoring the base animal nature within ourselves to the beautifully perverse. His choices in erotic films stimulates the brain and leaves you wanting more. Without further ado, let’s learn what Bryn thinks of erotic themes in cinema:
Scarlet Darkwood puts Bryn Tilly on the spot.
SD: Since your background is cinema, your website features movies of all kinds. They say an author’s biggest dream is to see their book made into a movie. What type of books absolutely DO NOT translate well into movies?
BT: There are no definitive rules as to what works and what doesn’t. There are novels with narratives that feature an ongoing internal monologue, or predominantly deal with intellectual ideas and abstractions, rather than conversational dialogue and action, that don’t translate to cinema well at all. Occasionally there are surprises, like director and co-screenwriter Mary Harron managing to wrestle Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho into an even sharper satire than the novel. But in terms of novels that haven’t worked, I single out Perfume by Patrick Suskind. His novel should never have been attempted. The intense descriptive passages of the olfactory sense at work could never translate to the screen, and that elaborate orgy, and a very disturbing act of cannibalism, just did not make for mainstream movie appeal. While we’re on the subject, at this stage they are safe, but I hope no one ever attempts to adapt Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude or Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves.
SD: It’s clear you are open to erotic themes. Your “Deep Trash” section on your blog is highly erotic and leaves little to the imagination. Many of the movies you highlight feature erotic themes. What is it about the erotic element that fascinates you?
BT: To use a distracting and amusing analogy; it’s like the difference between the pictorials in Hustler magazine and the ones in Penthouse, back in the day. Hustler always shot in cheap studios, were garishly over-lit, and had average-looking girls with too much makeup (or none at all), whereas Penthouse was shot in lush locations, with atmospheric lighting, and featured very foxy, voluptuous women, as opposed to Playboy’s innocent girl-next-door.
Erotic is not just about the sex act, it’s about the surrounds, and the mind-set. It’s about the exotic allure, the naughty tease, the provocative suggestion, the wicked promise, and then the delivery done with a charged sensuality, a slap of mischief, perhaps a bruise of perversity … and, in my books, not a Brazilian in sight!
SD: If you were to create an erotic movie, what would be some of your plot lines that would give Walerian Borowczyk’s The Beast a run for its money?
BT: Untamed, about a widowed man who has temporarily gone off-grid and encounters an attractive, but feral woman in the mountains and finds himself in a very primal relationship with her, no dialogue, just body language and wild, animalistic sex. He tries to introduce her to his civilised world, but she panics and escapes. The man abandons his commitments, and searches for the woman. Eventually he finds her, and chooses to give up his former life to live with her in the wild.
SD: Is there a close link between horror and eroticism? What are those elements and why?
BT: Sex and death. As the French call the orgasm, la petite morte, “little death”. In fiction and in cinema a heightened sensuality and threat of the dark nightmarish unknown provoke a similar genuine excitement, think Anne Rice’s novel The Vampire Lestat, or Paul Schrader’s remake of Cat People.
SD: In your opinion why do many men include raping a woman as part of their crime? Why not just take her purse or her jewelry and be gone?
BT: That’s a tough question to try and answer! Rape is more about power than sex. But it is the power to humiliate, and to recklessly harness what they think is masculinity. It must be a testosterone aberration; otherwise more women would rape men.
SD: Some of the movies you showcase mention rape. Why do you think women have rape fantasies, and do men have them?
BT: There is rough consensual sex, and there is BDSM, but if there is no safe word, and the word “No” or “Stop” is not adhered to, then it becomes rape. Crossing this line presents itself as a kind of fantasy danger realm. Within the safe confines of the fantasy no one gets hurt, but there is the thrill of that ever-present danger, the lack of control, the lack of defence. To be honest I don’t know if other men have rape fantasies, as I’ve never discussed it, and whether women discuss them with other women, I’m none the wiser. I’ve included rape in some of my fiction, but I don’t perceive it as a personal fantasy.
SD: I had the experience of witnessing a man who had some mental issues, and when he became overwhelmingly angry and began expressing this, part of his behavior included masturbatory acts. Does intense fear or anger arouse men sexually? (This isn’t an issue of a man using power, but reacting to a situation that didn’t go his way or finding himself in an unpleasant situation).
BT: I’m sure it arouses some men. But I have no idea what percentage. I enjoy watching horror movies, but they don’t arouse me. I find watching the good ones in the cinema can be thrilling and exhilarating, but there’s a distinct difference. And as a contrast, witnessing violence and rage in reality is very confronting for me.
SD: You’re considering creating a novel from a screenplay you’ve written—about a succubus. Many erotic authors feature these mythological and folkloric creatures. What is it about them that allures you or inspires you to use them as characters in your work?
BT: I’m fascinated by the concept of a sex demon, a powerful nightmare creature like a vampire that sucks the life force from people through the act of sex, but rather than tackle the male version – an incubus – I wanted to tell a story about a female one. I’m also interested in fusing the succubus element with the mythology of Lilith, the woman who preceded Eve in the Garden of Eden, but was cast out by Adam, because she refused to lie under him during intercourse.
SD: How does American cinema and European differ, and why did some or many of the movies you feature on your blog not make it into mainstream?
BT: I’ve always got my eyes peeled for something with a transgressive edge, something that pushes boundaries. Arguably, Euro cinema has been more adventurous than American cinema, frequently more risqué, and often plain darker. That’s not to say there aren’t great American films that push the envelope, in fact many of my favourites were American movies from the 70s, arguably the most interesting and adventurous decade in the history of cinema. The movies that interest me are those of a darker hue, especially noir and horror, but actually, in the last decade horror movies have become part of mainstream cinema, especially with Hollywood’s focus on PG-13.
SD: What is your ultimate dream?
BT: I intend to become a successful screenwriter of genre movies, and perhaps an occasional novelist and director.
Thank you, Bryn! What a wonderful interview. Definitely insightful. You can visit Bryn’s blog and learn more about his interests and what makes him tick. Definitely check out his Deep Trash section and learn about some of the most unique erotic movies around.
Bryn was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. He began writing creatively at an early age, mostly science fiction and fantasy. During puberty and into his early adolescence he penned dozens of cartoon strips, mostly sci-fi, horror, and violent adventure stories. In his late teens and early twenties he began dabbling in long form prose and short film screenplays. In 1993 he joined a local newspaper as the resident film reviewer and has been a published film critic ever since, currently with his site cultprojections.com. Apart from working as a writer, Bryn has also been a professional DJ since 1993. He has been based in Sydney, Australia in 1997. A few years ago he returned to prose and wrote a gruesome haunted house story. In the last year he has written two more short stories and directed a short film, all of them pushing the fabric of nightmares, real and supernatural. All three short stories are to be published by Booktrope. Bryn is feeling a novel brewing. But for the immediate future he is off to Spain to support a short horror film he made, which is in competition at the Sitges Film Festival. Bryn may be a little longer in the tooth but he has found his calling.