I was first introduced to Shade Rupe when I picked up his book “Dark Stars Rising: Conversations from the Outer Realms” earlier this year. Everyone from Tura Satana to Alejandro Jodorowsky are interviewed by Shade in a collection that spans over 24 years (for exploitation and genre fans, this is a must-buy). It was only when I started working with Synapse Films (one of DG’s favorite labels) that I was able to speak with him directly and talk shop. Shade knows the score when it comes to the dark corners of cinema. He’s one of those guys you can talk to about film for hours and still not even crack the surface. He rocks years of knowledge from both interviewing filmmakers, managing film festivals, working on sets like URBAN LEGEND (short film) and  WHORE 2 (feature film), and now working to market feature films and home video titles for Synapse. Shade combined all of those experiences to make one of the toughest and visceral four minutes of film I have seen this year.

We have talked a lot on DG about Drafthouse Film’s THE ABC’S OF DEATH. It’s an anthology film featuring segments that are each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. Shade selected the letter “T” and created the short film T IS FOR TRICK. Out of 171 entries his flick is in 9th place and in this contest, it’s all about the Top Ten. At midnight on October 31st the Top Ten will be handed over to the 25 already chosen international filmmakers for judging. They will pick one of the Top Ten to join them in the feature film.


Shade has a legit shot at staying in the Top Ten. Clive Barker called the film “elegantly shot, sharply edited and strongly conceived.” We sat down with Shade to talk about the film and his influences. After you’re done reading the quick Q&A, head over to Drafthouse Films to watch the flick and vote to keep Shade in the Top Ten, check it out here.


DAILY GRINDHOUSE: First things last. What are some of your favorite, dirtiest, toughest films?

SHADE RUPE: The Devils, Perdita Durango, Get Carter, Southern Comfort, Cruising, Salo, Deliverance, Maniac, They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, Lenny, Jaws.

Who are the directors you dig most?

Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, Roman Polanski, Ben Wheatley, James Glickenhaus, Lars Von Trier, Helene Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Joe Gage, David Cronenberg, Gaspar Noe, Bob Fosse, Donald Cammell.

When did you first learn about THE ABC’S OF DEATH?

I forget. Most likely a Facebook link put up by the Alamo Drafthouse.

When did you decide to commit to a letter?

The three main organizers, Magnet Releasing, Drafthouse Films, and Timpson Films, decided they would hire 25 directors and leave one letter open for a contest. All 171 of the contestants created a short film beginning with the letter T. My film is T is for Trick.

How did you get the idea for the story?

Just came to mind, man! I actually read all of the T entries in two dictionaries, Oxford and New American. I also read a list of unusual words beginning with T. I came up with a few things, though as it unfolded in my brain I decided it would be done as a tone poem. I wanted strong images and a strong film throughout with up-and-down and side-to-side pulsations that would act as storytellers. I had a very simple idea that I wanted to treat as if we were painting on a canvas of motion.

It’s a pretty visceral 4min where nothing is safe, is this kind of your ode to 42nd St.?

I wouldn’t say ode so much. I definitely am not a fan of Newer York except for being able to go outside at 4 am in my shorts and sandals. I miss the excitement of New York when a hooker would open her trenchcoat at lunchtime and be totally nude with tourists walking all over everywhere. There was just something exciting about it. I wanted to make a film about two guys who are constantly excited and need to keep that up to feel alive.

Are there films that inspired T IS FOR TRICK?

It would be ridiculous of me not to mention William Friedkin’s Cruising, though, on set, I rattled off the usual scenes from films that no one on my crew had seen nor heard of. I had just seen two James Glickenhaus films projected with him in attendance and he’s a huge figure in my life. He and his films represented ‘masculinity’ to me as a teenager. James Glickenhaus is easily in the same timbre as Walter Hill, another very strong filmmaker. It would take too long to delve into my explanations of that adjective though I’m certain you can infer my intent. And very recently I was at a premiere screening of Nicolas Wending Refn’s Drive and he was there and I missed most of them but he said there are six ingredients you need for a film. I only caught ‘sex’ and ‘violence.’ I’m an enormous fan of Refn’s work. Films like Bronson, Valhalla Rising, and Drive are the reasons I go to movies.

If you were able to make this into a feature length film what would you do with these characters?

Oh man, that’s a great question. I would continue to tell their lives through their actions, environment, and presentation of self in everyday life. The things that interest us about cinema creations are not how cookie-cutter Hollywood they can be, but how full and four-dimensional they are. I like real people doing real things. For me it produces a greater visceral response.

What is the hardest part about working in the short film medium?

EDITING! We had a beautiful six-minute movie we had to lose two minutes from. We were literally chopping out one second here, two seconds there to make it work. Luckily I had a fantastic editor and filmmaker, Joe Wakeman, who created the pathway to this excellent film that was photographed by the amazing Vasilios Sfinarolakis. I am so thankful these men are in my life.

Where did you find Man 1 and Man 2?

I had met Bryin Dall years ago over the internet through his band Loretta’s Doll though we never met up. I went to a show they did with Gordon Sharp and Cindytalk but that was it. I think we reconnected through Facebook, most likely through Genesis Breyer P-Orridge of Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle, who Bryin performs with as Thee Majesty. I found Chris Bogia through Costello Tagliapietra, a clothing designer couple who design under one name. I think I clicked on their site, they have a heavy posse of artists in their brood, and Chris’ image and info on his art projects came up. I’m sooooo thankful both men showed up because I wanted nine actors and only two showed up! This film would not exist without Bryin and Chris’ participation.

Good luck to Shade and the crew of T IS FOR TRICK. Again, help keep Shade in the Top Ten: Jump over to watch and vote for the film here:







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