Posted by Barbanne on June 07, 2002 at 00:00:46:
SIX SHOOTERS, SEQUINS AND SEX.
So how does one make the old perennial favourite, the western shootout, fresh and exciting?
I am always keenly aware of stuff I see or read and its potential for use in devising scenarios for Playdead.
I saw this one on SBS. A feature about the Vietnam war era in the early seventies and entertainers who went away to put on shows for the troops. It was old black and white footage but what I saw that perked my interest was a chorus line of girls with big hair and heaps of makeup dressed as cowgirls and popping off their pop guns.
That's it, I thought.
I got the costumes from a costume supplier. Lined satin bras and briefs oversown with sequins and with fronded nylon tassels sewn to the waistband of the briefs and around the middle of the bras so that they hung down and swished. Sort of girlie stetsons and patent leather calf length boots. With this I got hold of gunbelts and holsters and shiny six shooting cap guns. The cossies came in white, green, red and blue colours and I lined up Jas and Anne and Judith and Laurise together with Lynette and Peta who were back in town for a week and we were ready to shoot the big shootout.
A Saturday had been set aside.
For this one I was going to do the photography.
Mandy was supplying the special effects and mostly that consisted of a smoke maker, a sort of smudge pot that released non toxic smoke on demand.
I got the girls organised, six cowgirls armed with six shooters.
I had them do a certain amount of chorus line numbers, arms around each others shoulders and lined out and doing high kicks and bum wiggles and stuff like that. Anne tripped over Jas's feet and Jas pushed her into Laurise and she cannoned into Judith and Lynette and Peta and they shoved back and soon we had pushing and shoving and slapping and clawing and punching and a good old free for all catfight.
Then the six guns came out and the girls popped off caps at each other, all six in a melee firing indiscriminately at each other.
I had Mandy start the smoke machine and wisps of smoke curled out and started to wreathe around the girls as they kept popping off caps at point blank range. As they blasted away the smoke thickened and thickened until at last all six of them disappeared into a dense cloud of smoke.
I photographed every part of this action until my shots were just recording a smoke filled set.
Mandy killed the smoke machine and I photographed the gradually clearing smoke.
As it thinned and swirled and finally faded away completely, the set revealed all six girls sprawled out on the floor, shot down dead and heaped and piled and tumbled together in a tangle of arms, long legs, fringed tassels, sequins and open mouthed, closed eyed, vacant and deceased faces.
Six lifeless and defunct cowgirl babes flaked out on the Playdead posing set.
I ducked in and out among them shooting close ups and low angle shots and pull backs and individuals and generally every shot I could think of that showed these sexy dead gunslinger show gals.
It was great.
Not realistic, very stagey and an absolute fantasy for lovers of dead girls.
As I took the camera up to Alex for downloading the girls came back to life and stood around chatting and giggling and saying stuff like, "Love your perfume Jas."
And, "Next time keep your boot out of my pussy."
And, Your underarm stubble scratched my nose."
And, "Hey Laurise are your knees ever boney."
Stuff like that.
It was Anne's turn to die!
She walked toward Alex's camera wearing a green velvet strapless evening gown and no bra. That was highly evident from the two little pointy tipped mounds prodding at the velvet bodice.
She had just stepped outside the prom for a breath of fresh air. (our studio with some dressing up)
Larry's gloved hand closed around her mouth and the long thin blade slipped into the flesh of her back, bared to the waist by her gown, and slid between her ribs and penetrated her vital organs.
Surprise and then shock, fear, and horror traversed her face and her mouth dropped open to voice a scream that never came and her eyes dilated and fixed on eternity and she slumped bloodlessly into Larry's arms, dead before she could begin to bleed.
He grasped her under the armpits and dragged her away. Her strappy high heeled shoes pulled away from her feet and lay discarded on the ground. Larry flopped her upright and jerked the dress up and off over her head.
She was his!!!!!!!!!!! His victim, his prize.
Stage two, the crime scene and in my role as investigator I squatted beside Anne's body, stretched out on her back.
Her stockings were wrinkled around her ankles like peeled skins, her tiny pantie thong was rolled down and encircled her thighs like an elastic band. Her killer's semen glistened in her pubic hair and mouth.
(actually condensed milk squirted from a tube)
Anne managed to look dead and humiliated and disgusted that a man had bested her and then penetrated her sex, all at the same time, it was quite an acting performance.
Gloved with surgically thin plastic gloves I carried out my inspection of Anne's corpse. Touching, turning, wiping away the evidence of sexual assault and bringing it to my nose, peering into her eyes, searching for signs of oral penetration and finding it.
I inserted my thermometer and wrote down my findings.
Anne lay nude on our stainless steel utility table and Mandy played the forensic mortician.
I watched on.
Larry had been left out of this scene. Knowing his love of feeling up the girls when they were spread out before him, helpless and naked, and Anne's total dislike of being touched intimately by men, I had sacked Larry and asked Mandy to substitute.
She did and the pics came out excellently.
Alex wrapped up while I helped Anne get dressed and chatted to her and Mandy and Larry sulked in the corner.
As I left I smiled at Larry and said, "Cheer up mate, this is one goil you just caint worship, she won't have it. Not altogether your fault sport."
As I watched Alex editing Anne's death at the hands of our serial killer I said, "Alex, I'm just a little po-ed at being left out of modelling altogether you know."
"Barb it's better this way."
"Is it? I was totally shat off that I didn't get to be in that western shootout thing with the tassels and sequins and stuff, that was just so ME!"
"You're better off this way Barb."
"SHIT!! Well, don't forget what I told you."
He had I think.
Later that evening he had occasion to remember it though when he came into the bedroom and found me laid out on the bed, mouth gaping, naked with my arms folded over my chest and each hand cupping the opposite breast and a hand lettered sign taped over the bed that said, "I AM DEAD (PLAYING) DO WHAT YOU LIKE TO ME."
He laughed and slipped alongide me and started touching, probing and playing our game.
One dead finger pointed at the sign.
He looked up and noticed the PTO.
He turned the sign over and read "TRY ORAL SEX WITH THIS CORPSE."