AD 235 | Jay Cheel
“Cursed Films 2”
Jay Cheel’s career in non-fiction filmmaking has focused mostly on character-based portraits of quirky, passionate obsessives, realized in a highly cinematic style. His debut feature Beauty Day premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of their Canadian Front Programming Series. The film was also an official selection at the Hot Docs International Film Festival and was nominated for a Genie Award in 2012. His second feature How to Build a Time Machine premiered at Hot Docs and went on to screen at AFI Docs, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and DOC NYC. His latest is Cursed Films, a five-part documentary series produced for AMC Networks and Shudder. The show focuses on the legends surrounding some of Hollywood’s most troubled horror film productions and has gone on to become the highest-rated documentary series on the platform.
Topics Discussed In This Episode:
  • Jay’s short film Twisted
  • Him being exposed to horror films at a young age
  • Recognizing the importance of a director in a film production at a young age
  • What piqued Jay’s original interest in entering film as a career
  • His podcast Film Junk, which holds a Guinness World Records for the longest-running film podcast
  • His short film Beauty Day
  • Creating deep interpersonal connections with crew members on a film set
  • The need for control as it relates to artistic pursuits
  • How Jay’s perspective of curses has changed while working on the Cursed Films project
  • How the film, The Exorcist, negatively impacted the cultural lexicon by reinforcing the existence of the devil
  • Predatory capitalism
  • Personal tragedies that happened for Jay while filming Cursed Films
  • The importance of providing context in a documentary project
  • The Manson murders
  • The murders and tragedies that have occurred in Benedict Canyon in LA
  • Ethical decisions they had to make regarding what scenes to show in Cannibal Holocaust
  • Naive actors getting involved in Cannibal Holocaust, and Carl Gabriel Yorke signing on without reading the script

People / Artists Mentioned:
  1. John Carpenter (Filmmaker)
  2. Lidia Yuknavitch (Writer)
  3. Gary Oldman (Actor)
  4. Robert Deniro (Actor)
  5. Tim Burton (Director)
  6. Bill Pullman (Actor)
  7. Steve Rash (Director)
  8. Judy Garland (Actor)
  9. Lorna Luft (Actor)
  10. Roman Polanski (Director)
  11. Dianne Lake (Writer / Former Manson Family Member)
  12. Julian Wasser (Photographer)
  13. Ruggero Deodato (Director)
  14. Andrei Tarkovsky (Director)

Cursed Films Episodes Mentioned:
  1. Twilight Zone: The Movie
  2. The Exorcist
  3. The Wizard of Oz (S2 E1)
  4. Rosemary’s Baby (S2 E2)
  5. Stalker (S2 E3)
  6. The Serpent and the Rainbow (S2 E4)
  7. Cannibal Holocaust (S2 E5)

TV Shows + Films Mentioned:
  1. The Day After (1983)
  2. The Thing (1982)
  3. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
  4. They Live (1988)
  5. Prince of Darkness (1987)
  6. Be Kind Rewind (2008)
  7. American Movie (1999)
  8. Ed Wood (1994)
  9. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1977)
  10. Weekend (1967)
  11. Andrei Rublev (1966)

Posted 5.22.2022


"I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self, and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists.

This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists. It’s a series dedicated to breaking down the barriers we tend to set up in our own minds. I want to inspire future creatives to have the courage to explore and experiment. This is about making dreams a reality and not about letting our dreams fall to the wayside.

My intention is to give my audience a sense of real human connection, something that feels rich and organic.

When I was thinking of a title I thought of the word “movement”.

In relation to the Renaissance period in art, my goal for this program is to signify a rebirth of consciousness towards the way we look at contemporary art."

- Yoshino