Film Review and Retrospective of the Pittsburgh premiere of “THE FINAL INTERVIEW (2017)” at The Hollywood Theater
By: Ryan Logsdon
After a near seven-hour journey from North-Eastern Pennsylvania, me and one of my best friends arrived in Pittsburgh and slowly made it through heavy rush hour traffic. After quickly checking in to a seedy motel, we drove a short distance to get to the beautiful Hollywood Theater – after having navigated through a jigsaw of brick-covered roads due to the closing of the main route where the theater is located.
Entering the red-carpeted entrance to the theater, being greeted by director Fred Vogel and a few familiar smiling faces, we received our specially-made tickets to the screenings. The consumption of an adult beverage began calming the slight jitters that accompanied me into the entranceway. The first screening was about an hour away and shortly after meeting up with friends and cohorts an ongoing flood of people began to arrive. As bodies filled the spaces that were seeminly empty just a few moments prior, it promptly generated a tangible atmosphere of excitement driven by a frenzied anticipation for the Pittsburgh premier of Fred Vogel’s eight feature film. The near seven year wait for Volgel’s next directorial endeavor was about to become a reality along with his increasingly maturing artistic undertakings.
Near the red-carpeted access point, a huge banner was unveiled for the cast and crew to take photos and commemorate this event. After the arrival of stars Grainger Hines (a seasoned television and film actor), Damien Maruscak (a regular performer in Vogel’s past offerings) and the lovely Diane Franklin (who made her welcomed comeback to the world of film making after a twenty-year absence from acting – yet not missing a cue or beat in her delivery with a graceful style that has defined her career), flashes of cameras began to dominate the atmosphere which manifested itself firmly among the witnesses to the passion-fueled buzz that took hold of the gathering of the hundred-plus attendees.
Exclusive merchandise, designed and crafted by Fred and Shelby, was sold at a small table beside the snack bar, and both guests and attendees began to purchase the T-Shirts, Posters and Lobby Cards sold to commemorate this special evening.
After claiming our respective seats among the fans, cast, crew and curious individuals, Vogel briefly introduced his film and the room darkened as a silence manifested itself.
My brief and unbiased thoughts on the ninety-minute movie, while watching among a crowd that laughed, cheered and sat in a stunned embrace would be that the work plays out like a longer version of Tales from the Crypt or an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents with touches and influences from all genres of film. As an afterthought on watching The Final Interview, the dire words of The Nine Inch Nails continually echoed in my ears as a definition of my perceptions on the film: “Bow down before the one you serve, you’re going to get what you deserve.”
After the credits rolled and the lights were raised, dominated by accolades and ovations from an audience that seemed to ride the tale of a has-been news reporter interviewing a soon to be executed mass-murderer, Vogel and the key players within the film entertained a q&a filled with inquiries and praised shout outs for all involved in the making of the film.
I won’t write anything more on my feelings or thoughts on the project since I took part in the production and have a small cameo in some scenes. Respectfully I acknowlede my close friendship with Fred, his amazingly talented wife Shelby, and most of the crew who worked tirelessly on the heated, challenging and difficult yet smoothly run shoot that took place exactly one year prior to the Pittsburgh premiere. My personal adoration for the previous cinematic offerings of Toetag – Vogel’s legendary underground production and distribution company has left a deep impact upon my views on what confrontational art can be. Achieving a cult following of devout onlookers who’ve grown addicted to Toetag and their impact on the world of horror – and on a personal note: I’m beyond proud to have been given the opportunity to become a small part of the overall efforts that went into the film’s creation.
After director Fred Vogel thanked the crowd, as well as his family and friends, for making the trip to watch his most recent venture of thought-provoking storytelling, most of the crowd thinned out to confer among each other as a scattering of folks who couldn’t make it to the 8:00pm premiere began to take their places in the theater for an encore screening of The Final Interview, including a slew of fans who couldn’t resist revisiting the narrative fashioned by Vogel and his artistic contributors.
Once the final sounds of applause died down following the second screening the evening eventually faded into the night, a storm of smiling faces began exiting The Hollywood Theater like the passing of a cloud shrouded by the radiance shining from the warm glow of the moon, with emotional goodbyes and sincere kudos being again given to the cast and crew before the doors were locked and another chapter in Vogel’s diverse history was lovingly closed and sealed in the memories of the minds and hearts of those who were lucky enough to be able to glimpse the strange chronicle of the personalities portrayed in the movie and the complex revelations found within the film’s run-time.
After falling dead asleep in our stained motel room, me and my wingman awoke early to escape the morning traffic of the almost still-sleeping city en route to our homes and loved ones, traveling east, with conversations continuing to be had about our shared experience of the previous evening, laced with stark but respectful opinions on our personal perceptions on Fred Vogel’s The Final Interview and the aftermath of the unveiling.
What does the future hold for the film? The film will be offered to various film festivals around the country with a momentum of enthusiasm hopefully continuing a progressive and positive response for The Final Interview.
Until we meet again, thanks for reading this article and I hope you’re all okay – RVL
Watch “The Final Interview – Teaser Trailer” on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/205159633?ref=em-v-share