A Q&A with Albert Payano, Outfest Assistant Programmer, and Mark Pariselli, filmmaker of Monster Mash, playing in the Shorts program Friends & Lovers at the 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival
Albert Payano: The piece has some interesting interpretations of religious passages. What role does religion play in your life?
Mark Pariselli: My household wasn’t super religious while I was growing up, but I did attend Catholic school until grade 8. As a queer kid, being subjected to that dogma day in and day out definitely impacted my self-perception and delayed my self-acceptance. However, by the time I was in my final year of middle school, I was regularly getting into trouble for hiding in the bushes during recess to listen to Marilyn Manson on my discman, and constantly raising my hand during Religion class to question and criticize what we were being taught. Thankfully, I was able to go to a public high school. Prior to making ‘Monster Mash,’ retrospectives of my short films were presented in Toronto and Sicily. Frighteningly, it wasn’t until I saw my films programmed back-to-back on the big screen that I realized how much Catholic iconography and imagery has influenced my visual sensibility. Moments in ‘Monster Mash’ serve as a way to directly address and move through this.
Albert: Which character’s point of view mostly resembles your own when it comes to the horror genre? Was he easier to write and why?
Mark: I think both characters express my opinions on the horror genre, but I identify more with the Carrie character. Acknowledging the (homo)eroticism of boogeymen, drawing connections between horror and sexuality and openly identifying with the outcast/misfit (Carrie White) are things I share with him. He speaks more explicitly with my voice so he was easier to write.
Albert: What is one costume you wanted a party goer to wear but didn’t make the final cut? What happened?
Mark: The Halloween party scene is a dream come true. Everything I love comes together in a vibrant cult and horror mashup. Igby Lizzard (Divine) and Judy Virago (Connie) are two talented and creative performers in Toronto that had previously thrown a John Waters themed party and were able to bring their own costumes to set. I am lucky to have a supportive group of friends and family (that’s my mom making a cameo in the dumpster) that participated in the scene. It might have been nice to incorporate more classic horror icons like Dracula, Frankenstein or the Wolfman, but I think we did well covering our bases and featuring some of my favourite cult and horror heroes/heroines.
Monster Mash is playing in Friends & Lovers Sunday, July 12 at 2pm at DGA2.
About the Programmer: Albert Payano is an aspiring TV writer from Dominican Republic based in Los Angeles. As part of the Outfest Los Angeles Young Filmmakers Program, OutSet, he wrote and produced the dramedy short After Jake, which has screened in more than a dozen film festivals worldwide. This is his second year serving as Assistant Programmer for Outfest Los Angeles and his fifth as volunteer.