Confession time: Alice in Wonderland was one of my favorite childhood films. In fact, I had an Alice in Wonderland tea set with cracked cups picturing the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter. Don't judge me, but it's one of the one things I've managed to keep over the years in an old storage bin, alongside my Polaroid camera and and a Guns N' Roses mix tape. As an adult, I even dabbled in a creepy, bloody wonderful Alice in Wonderland photo shoot.
As I got older and read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking Glass (gifted to me by a friend who boasted a sexy pin-up Alice tattoo), you realize just how sick and twisted author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, really was.
Even though he passed away in 1898, Carroll's tale has influenced millions of writers, children, drug trips, and film directors. His logic, fantasy and word play can drive one crazy...and Marilyn Manson is a prime example. Although, I'm sure that the absinthe doesn't help much, either. From what I've heard from some tour manager buddies, he can often be found sitting in the dark, drinking the Green Fairy, and throwing around furniture.
If you hadn't heard, Manson -- much like tour buddy Rob Zombie -- decided to branch from the studio to a directors chair years ago. Manson has a background in surrealism film and back in 2010 he had an idea for a movie called Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll.
Co-written with Anthony Silva, the plot follows Carroll as the main character, witnessing events that are dictated in poetry from Carroll's actual 13 diaries and the poem Phantasmagoria, which is a long discussion between a ghost and presumably Carroll. It gives an inside look at Carroll's mental state where such ideas as Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass emerged from. The cast at the time included Manson himself as the main character, Lily Cole, Tilda Swinton and the beautiful disaster Evan Rachel Wood.
Imagine: it's Victorian England. A haunted writer in an isolated castle is tormented by sleepless nights and visions of a girl named Alice. He finds himself becoming a symptom of his own invention. Now all his nightmares know his name. He is Lewis Carroll and he is terrified of what waits for him each night.
You can imagine that Manson would give it an even deeper, darker, erotic, disturbing, bondage-like twist. I mean, Carroll's work of Alice in Wonderland was considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, and its narrative structure and imagery have been quite influential in pop culture -- particularly in the fantasy arena. And Marilyn Manson's music has been the exact same in heavy metal. He's got the dark, dirty, fantasy thing down pat when it comes to his lyrics, projected image and music videos.
Unfortunately, the trailer at the time caused a lot of back lash, and production hit a wall. To be exact, it "was unlikely it will ever see the light of day."
Then -- ta-da! -- on February 6, Manson took to his Twitter account with the following news.. Happy that my PHANTASMAGORIA screenplay, with me portraying Lewis Carroll, is in production. His diaries inspired the best horror film ever.
Check out the trailer here:
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