Richard Stanley: An Interview by Kent Hill

I first contacted Richard in 2015 with regard to the Straight to Video trilogy of anthologies I was putting together. He responded promptly and was very enthusiastic, saying he would work something up. Then he disappeared. I thought I had lucked out, when out of the blue he contacted me again; he had indeed been working on a piece and that he had not forgotten me. When what he had written arrived it was more than I dared hope for. Richard had crafted a heartfelt reminiscence of his youth, his early VHS adventures and then his first steps along the path which would eventually see he become the incredible journeyman filmmaker that has refused to let the creative fire within him subside.

So can lightning strike twice? Poised by my recent successes in securing audiences with filmmakers I ardently admire for interviews on this site, I thought I’d reach out once again, to that man who delivered more than I’d asked for. Greedy? Sure. Yet I am as fascinated by Richard Stanley as I am with his cinema. In David Gregory’s thrilling documentary, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau, I was, as I often am, intrigued with the journey storytellers take on the way to finally realising their ultimate pinnacle.

I was determined however, not to walk the road much travelled with Richard. I would keep it all as informal as possible, and along the way I found myself at times simply sitting back, letting this natural raconteur do his thing. We went back to the Island, because I admit I wanted to know a little more; we touched on Richard’s collaboration with the late Michael Herr; talked about the current state of cinema; being trapped in the transit lounge on 12 Monkeys. There was Judge Dredd, Ron Perlman, H.P. Lovecraft, Jodorowsky, and even the promise of a future autobiography which I will happily put down the cash for right now.

Again Richard Stanley offered up more than I could have hoped for, and I come away from the experience with even greater respect for this extraordinary gentleman and a hope – hope that there might come a day when the uncompromised vision of this richly unique artist can at long last see the light of day – finding it’s way to a cinema near us all.

To Richard my profound thanks. To the rest of you . . . enjoy.

(Disclaimer: – Our connection was hampered by a storm raging outside Richard’s house so I ask for your forgiveness. I had to edit around some spots where the audio and visual dropped out momentarily. Aside for some sound sync issues, the awesomeness of this conversation I believed has been preserved.)

 

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