Danny Perez Talks Wombs, Angry Mamas, and the Philosophy Behind “ODDSAC”

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“To me, this was a normal movie, to me this is a movie I’d watch with someone,” says director Danny Perez of his first feature film, ODDSAC, a visual album co-created with Animal Collective. “I realize to the average person that it’s probably extreme.” One scene features a family camping in the woods. “Or out there.” The marshmallows expand, oozing viciously from their mouths. “Or weird.” A forlorn vampire, like a disfigured beauty-drained Edward Cullen, lurks behind the trees. “Or whatever.” He plunges his teeth first into the little boy, a curly-haired redhead.

All this is just five minutes of ODDSAC. But such is the madness that occurs when one is responsible for translating the brain-bursting, spitter spatter electronics of Animal Collective. Currently touring the country with his movie, Danny sat down with us to chat wombs, angry mamas, and cinematic philosophy.

Here he is in his own words:

That whole [camping] scene was my attempt to subvert the nuclear family and eating marshmallows gives it some humor as far as something sugary being something dangerous.

I think we just wanted a visual title, a title that would stand on its own and functions soundwise . . . [ODDSAC] comes off your mouth not super serious but it’s kind of ominous, something about that configuration of letters.

I would skip school and shoot the March for Life and make weird montages of bloody baby props and Christians marching in Washington.

I’m a firm believer in the sense that everything has been done before, especially in this medium. At this point, it’s a matter of reconfiguring the ingredients.

When a baby is being born, it develops, it goes through these stages and, for a lack of a better word, if you took it out, it would look like a mess. It would look, like, so fucked up. It’s design in its most biological means. I don’t know what I like about it, that’s for the critics to write about.

Something that draws me to those shapes and forms is it being amorphous, like no symmetry. I really dislike symmetry.

When people start talking and there are lines, you’re already entering a traditional movie shooting format. You’re already entering a means that’s not set up to go somewhere different.

A lot of these decisions are probably less impressive or interesting when I get down to it.

That whole scene with the kids, that was a disaster. It fell apart, it was a nightmare. One of the mothers pulled her kid out halfway through the shoot and accused me of being a satanist in front of all the other parents and threatened to sue us if we used any of the dialogue.

It was Dave in the room with all these kids and she was like, ‘You’re a satanist, this is ritualistic!’ I had to sit down with the other parents and explain to them, ‘listen here’s the deal, I know it seems weird, I’m a nice guy, I love kids.’

I think we generally wanted to exploit that weird gray area. Sometimes you’re so overwhelmed, you’re so sad that you laugh to become happy. When so you’re so happy, you can get depressed really suddenly, or at least I can. That was something I wanted to explore, those surges of emotions, as far as the contrast of something really happy with something really brutal and have them commingle and form something new.

Not the high, not the low, but the medium.

View the trailer below, and click here to find out when ODDSAC is coming to your town. Look for it on DVD on June 29.