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An Interview with the Director and Producer of ‘The Red Man’ – EDM Horror Film

There have been many attempts at weaving the dance music culture into the big screen. While we will not mention any names, I am sure those currently reading this have a few examples come to mind. So when I first heard about the next dance music film I was understandably a little worried. Then I heard it was a psychological thriller/horror film, and was then intrigued. I am of course speaking of ‘The Red Man', the art house film that centers around a DJ slowly losing his mind while falling deeper into addiction and a possible dark conspiracy located right in his condo. If you haven't heard of it then watch the trailer below.

Yeah, a little different from your happy go lucky EDM film huh? Well it is. I can say from first hand experience that it is actually good and trust me, I do not say that lightly either. ‘The Red Man' will make you think about the industry, and contemplate your own decisions all while sitting on the edge of your seat as the story develops. So when writer and director, Jimmie Gonzalez and executive producer, John Acquaviva were available for an interview I had to jump on the opportunity. The Red Man focuses on some heavy themes but most notably the stress of past events and party culture which take a notable toll on the main character, Evan. In recent years many artists have spoken out about their struggles with substance misuse, mental health and fatigue being a problem in the DJ world. Naturally I was curious if the transparency of artists helped inspire the film.

Jimmie“Honestly I haven't heard of any of this until after the film was completed. When writing I was merely coming from my own personal analysis of the scene at the time, along with stories I've heard in passing with other traveling DJ's eager to share. But without a doubt most of it came from personal stories from former partner and lead in the film, Dan Diamond. His open and honest struggles dealing with his own demons were truly the metaphor that created The Red Man. Several of our past projects foreshadowed what was to come. Tracks and videos like “Therapy”, “Bad Habits” and “I Wanna Go Down” were obvious tells of what was brewing in my head and ironically in the scene.”

Writer and Director Jimmie

Writer and Director Jimmie Gonzalez

Since Jimmie declared that he was in fact swayed by personal accounts of friends and families in shaping pertinent themes and scenes throughout the film, I was curious about the inspiration for another piece of the movie. Without giving much away, a main plot point of the movie is a sinister secret society. Music and entertainment has always been a hot bed for conspiracy theories. Most notable is that of the Illuminati secretly controlling well…pretty much everything. The idea of an all powerful secret order is terrifying, it makes the public feel out of control and deep down all we really want as humans is a sense of control. Jimmie has some interesting elaboration on how he put together and created the evil order in the movie.

Jimmie“Most definitely. When deciding to make a film in the horror/mystery genre I knew I wanted to go deeper than your average “Who Done It”. Today's campfire stories are not monsters or ghosts anymore, it's the establishment, Government and Corporations. An evil incarnate known commercially now more then ever; The Illuminati. Going down this rabbit hole consumed me. I was discovering Books like “The 27 Club” and “Secret Societies & Psychological Warfare”” (which we actually got licensed to use in the film). These books both fascinated and scared me. Stories connecting the occult, mind control, psychedelic drugs and spirituality were the fuel I needed to shape my first script into a modern Faustian tale about a celebrity DJ on a soul searching journey. It felt perfect.”

As the main character, Evan seems to get more wrapped up in the abnormal on goings around him, the film starts to take a more mind bending turn. Cinematography gets a bit more psychedelic in a way, as Evan grows more paranoid. Some scenes are downright terrifying in nature but the surreal lens the viewer watches the film through becomes a complicated one. You start to question what is actually happening or if Evan has lost it entirely. I ask if the film itself was created to almost mimic the long term effects of club drugs. The answer I received pushed me to actually go back and watch ‘The Red Man' again. The result came with a new perspective on certain plot points – mainly how the human psyche is so complex that with each layer we discover within ourselves comes a whole new set issues.

John“The story and film has many layers, so yes, it was intentional. With each new layer and level of enlightenment comes a new struggle and balance with all going on- be it drugs [legal and or illegal] as well as reality versus non-reality. Art is open on interpretation and is often personal as well, so that it is not supposed to be the same experience for each individual watching it.”

Executive Prodcer Jimmie Aquaviva

Executive Prodcer Jimmie Aquaviva

The name of the film comes from a dark entity of sorts [which you can see in the picture below]. Evan throws away his sobriety at a point in the film, and that is ultimately just one of the many steps which add to his mental destruction. It seems the red man is almost a personification of the demon's Evan carries. Relapsing from a period of sobriety is a tricky process, one that seems entirely illogical to people who are not afflicted with addiction, but this films demonstrates it perfectly. I was curious how both John and Jimmie were able to create such a convincing relapse pattern.

JimmieYou have to immerse yourself into the world your writing about. Not only did I have to remember that I was making a film ultimately to entertain, but be authentic to the illness of addiction and psychosis.

Fortunately, in that area, I wasn't writing from my own experiences as I've never had an issue with drugs, simply because most of them scare the shit out of me. I guess my consumption of horror films for over 35 years are the main culprits that's made me interpret my version of somebody else's paranoia.

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Again, as the good listener I am, I never shied away from real human stories. If I wasn't an artist I'm sure I would have been a psychologist.

John“We all live it and luckily have not fallen off, though unfortunately a few have.
We are happy to explore some of these darker avenues and even bring the discussion into the open a bit more. Thanks for the time and request!”

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We want to thank both Jimmie and John for taking time from their very busy schedules to help us all gain a better understanding of the ideas in ‘The Red Man'. The movie is complex, frightening and authentic. It is an absolute must see for anyone who is involved in the dance music community. It comes both as entertainment and as a very stern warning against what a lack of balance can result in. Check out the film's official Facebook page here.

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