So How Come She Doesn't Kill Anyone?
In Seattle in 1990, Microsoft, computers, and poetry slams seemed hip. So it only seemed natural to want to mock them all:
You are there
But you are not
You give me what I need
Give me… what I need!
Joanie loves Chachi
But nobody loves me
There’s more, but that’s the Beat Poetry gist of it.
So when I made my first short, I recorded Cathy reciting the entire poem, which I used as a voiceover to video footage of her looking in my freezer at empty ice cube trays, contemplating herself in my bathroom mirror, and playing a ukulele at night. She sat expressionless, creating a haunting melody with harsh plucks of the ukulele strings, evoking the weird dude next to the window in Eraserhead.
So when I decided to make my first feature length project, Trish Must Kill!, I used this short piece as a prologue. And to snap the audience out of the hypnotic state we’d created, I inserted road kill footage I’d shot on a bicycle trip--a bloody dead raccoon splattered in the middle of the highway. Then I cut to the opening credits, set to the bouncy beat of Stop (Boy), the B-side of Sylvia Robinson’s 12” single Lay It On Me (on Vibration Records). I wanted to foreshadow all the death that was to follow. After all, the movie was called Trish Must Kill! Yet I still wanted it to be fun and lighthearted.
Ironically, the bloodbath doesn’t happen until about ten minutes before the end of the movie. And even then, Trish only kills one, maybe two people. And I don’t even think there was any blood.
But, in the spirit of use-what-you-have filmmaking, we got footage in and around the University of Washington. I videotaped Cathy/Trish:
Kicking a mailbox;
Glaring at a fire hydrant;
Chasing a squirrel around the Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture.
Unfortunately, the culture didn’t rub off on us (although we probably riled up some Native American spirits), and the squirrel didn’t become road kill. I also took footage of Cathy running down the steps of Denny Hall, where, several years before, I’d taken a Comparative Literature class, and was forced to read Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (and even wrote a paper about it.) So maybe that’s why I used that footage in slow motion set to imposing classical music to show Trish’s demonic possession. Or maybe I just needed to fill up ninety minutes of screen time. Or maybe I just wanted to make Cathy run until she was out of breath.
I contemplated a sequel, but never made it. Although I did write a theme song for it (set to a rousing military march):
For the sake of mankind
Trish Must Die
The girlie wants blood
But her name is mud
Trish is a dangerous dish
[from the upcoming Videoteur.]
 And this was more than a decade before Tarantino made Kill Bill. So putting Kill (plus a character’s name) in the title wasn’t yet in vogue. And although the title Kill Bill gets points for brevity and rhyme, Trish Must Kill! creates more of a knuckle biting sense of urgency. (Although I was probably inspired by Die! Die! My Darling! Which ripped off Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte. Which was inspired by Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? Blah blah blah… (ripped off from Ke$ha, the reincarnation of Cookie Mueller, blah blah blah…)