The journey of a thousand miles begins with blah blah blah. I'm really excited. Today I officially announce my next film project, the feature documentary Annihilator: The Unsolved Mystery of the Austin Axe Murders.
Two things about this project have me super-excited. First of these is that I have always, up till now, pursued narrative filmmaking projects, and I never really thought of myself as a "documentary filmmaker." But then I realize that the distinction is meaningless. If you're a filmmaker, you're a filmmaker. Period. There's nothing carved in stone that says a director can only pursue one area of the filmmaking art. Orson Welles and Martin Scorsese made documentaries, and Scorsese has also made a concert film and (in one admitted lapse of judgment, though I imagine the check was wonderful) a Michael Jackson music video.
The other thing is that it's amazing to think that virtually no one in Austin today knows that this city had its very own Jack the Ripper, who went about his nasty business a full three years before Jack did. (Some armchair sleuths think that the murderer — murderers? — who came to be called the "Servant Girl Annihilator" fled justice overseas and picked up his old trade in Whitechapel, but I find that doubtful.) The more I've read about these killings, the more my filmmaker's bells have been going off. What a fan-fucking-tabulous subject for a documentary. There was simply no question — Holmes is on the case! I'm officially underway on my research, and as writing and shooting commences, I'll post updates here. This will be one kickass movie. If I do say so myself. I can't wait to get it made. I can't wait for you to see it.
Addendum: I admit there is something about the current working title that sounds a bit like a PS2 game or a Dolph Lundgren movie. "Servant Girl Annihilator" was, in fact, the name given the killer(s) by writer O. Henry, living in Austin at the time. As there is strong evidence that at least two killers were involved in some of the killings, I considered Annihilators plural, but thought that didn't sound quite right. The Servant Girl Annihilator just sounds like some bad imitation-Argento cheapass Italian horror movie, and The Austin Axe Murderer is too bland, like an episode of some History Channel show. Any readers with better suggestions will find me receptive.