Best of the 2010s: Craig Wedren’s Favorite Film of the Decade is Mandy

The former Shudder To Think singer and current film composer wants to work with Panos Cosmatos.

Making a choice like this is painful, because you’re saying no to everything else! But I’m going to go with the movie Mandy. It made me feel excited and inspired and thrilled and turned on and hysterical, and like I was a teenager, which doesn’t happen that often these days. Not to say that I’m jaded or feel immune, but the older you get the more you’ve seen and heard, it gets harder to penetrate that little marshmallow core. Mandy fully did, and I was just so excited about it. I wanna work with that director, Panos Cosmatos. 

There’s a transcendence to Mandy that feels very real to me, and very spiritual but not in a precious way. It’s spiritual in the way that the first time I heard, like South of Heaven by Slayer or the band Sunn O))). It’s both sacred and profane at the same time, and really fun, and really kind of primal and primordial at the same time. That’s so rare, because usually if you’re getting a “spiritual” hit, especially in this day and age, there’s some sort of self-help aspect to it, like a yoga class or you’re in nature — which are wonderful and totally valid. It reminded me that growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, particularly going to shows then, there was this sort of communal — especially in DC — aspect to it that was both very teenaged and also transcendent. It informed the types of art and communities that I seek to build as a grown-up. I think you don’t get that a lot. I don’t think that’s a given anymore, and I want to say that Mandy reminded me of how that was in the water when I was growing up. 

On the one hand you have superhero movies that are super fun and awesome and muscular, literally and figuratively. They’re admirable in terms of craft, but they don’t really make me feel like I’m dreaming. They make me feel like I’m reading a comic book, right? Mandy made me feel both like I was dreaming and reading a comic book and having some weird Lovecraftian metal… I don’t know! It’s just all confusing and destabilizing in the right way.

 The music in the movie is so important. Especially the beginning of it, with the King Crimson song. From the very first frame, if you’re prone to certain types of things, like King Crimson and Motley Crue and Norwegian death metal and David Lynch, then literally just from that first frame, it’s like, “I’m all in.” Which allowed me to forgive anything that was too crazy or that didn’t quite hit the mark. Not to mention the Nic Cage aspect; there’s such a strange collage of things! Was that a dream? 

It’s exactly what I want to be doing that I’m not doing that much of right now. At the beginning of when I was scoring films, I was doing weirder, darker stuff. But as happens, the things that became most successful that I worked on were more comedy. So then that’s what you start getting calls about, which is great. I love doing comedy stuff, but I really need some of that darkness.

Craig Wedren is a solo artist, film composer, and the singer for Shudder to Think. Check out his latest release, On in Love, featuring Jefferson Friedman and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble here.  You can follow him on Twitter here.