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‘Bones' Director Reveals Influences on DVD

28 Feb, 2002 By: Fred Topel

Bones director Ernest Dickerson fought suggestions to create DVD extra features linking his film with 1970s blaxsploitation films, insisting instead that they draw on the film's connection with Italian gothic horror. A documentary on the DVD called Urban Gothic explains to viewers how Dickerson mimicked and adapted scenes and shots from famous Italian horror movies, not blaxploitation films.

“Even though [part of Bones] is set in the '70s and it [co-stars] Pam Grier [as Bones' wife], the film has more in common with gothic horror, especially Italian gothic horror,” Dickerson said. “All I did was nudge [the DVD producers] into the right direction and they took the ball and really ran with it. I gave them the influences, the films that I looked at when I was planning the production, but I think [documentary producer] Michelle [Palmierro] and her husband knew the genre pretty well. Once I told them that, I think they pretty much had a good idea where to go.”

The horror film stars rapper Snoop Dogg as the vengeful spirit of neighborhood leader Jimmy Bones, seeking revenge against the people who betrayed and murdered him in the 1970s.

As a collector of DVDs himself, Dickerson started thinking of extra features to include while he was still shooting the film.

“Even during the production, you know that ultimately it's going to go to video and DVD,” Dickerson said. “So, I was always thinking about what would go on it when the time came. I love to see the ‘making-of' stuff, so I'd always hoped they'd use the design materials that we accumulated to establish the look of the film. A lot of times we'd shoot [a scene] and say, ‘This won't make it to the final cut, so I'll put it in the DVD.’

The Bones DVD has deleted scenes available separately from the film, which was a compromise Dickerson had to make when he couldn't use branching technology to create a director's cut option. The cost of employing such a technique and the requirement to resubmit the film to the Motion Picture Association of America made a director's cut not feasible.

“The technology was available to have the option to play the film as it was in the theater or jump to a different layer sometimes to bring up material that was cut out,” Dickerson said. “I really lobbied hard to try and get that done but [this is] the next best thing. I'd rather they played in the context of the scene so people could see how they were supposed to connect dramatically, because there were important points to some of the scenes that the studio felt were just too disturbing.”

Dickerson got Snoop Dogg himself to join him and the writer on the audio commentary track. The recording session took place in the rapper's home. Dickerson recalled, “It was a very comfortable, very laid-back experience. Snoop is a very mellow guy. We had a good time. I like the commentaries that really give people an idea of what the movie was like during the production process, stories about scenes that didn't make it, some of the conflicts with the studio that always arise in productions like this, differences of opinion. [Snoop Dogg] wasn't as privy to some of that stuff as I was, but I don't know if too much ever surprises Snoop Dogg.”

Bones is available on DVD from New Line Home Entertainment.

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