Playing and Praying for Life: A Conversation with Nicholas Bushman
On this edition of the Cinephellas Podcast I’m chatting with director Nicholas Bushman about the DVD and Blu Ray releases of his movie Union Furnace, both out on August 15th. Union Furnace tells the story of Cody, a small-town criminal, played by Mike Dwyer, with little going for him. After crashing a stolen car, the mysterious Lion, played by the brilliantly sadistically Seth Hammond, offers Cody the chance for financial security and a way out of their small Ohio town. The only condition is that Cody must win an 8 round life or death competition against other town misfits. Only by avoiding death can he begin living.
Bushman also co-wrote the movie with Mike Dwyer. The team even started a production company called Metropol Pictures in order to release the DVD and Blu Ray packages of Union Furnace on their own terms. The reissues include a MAKING-OF, behind-the-scenes look at the production of Union Furnace, featuring interviews with the cast and crew of the film.
My conversation with Nicholas was enthralling on many levels. We started by discussing the logistical aspects of taking Union Furnace from screen to disc. But that quickly evolved into a discussion about the film’s topical content. Rarely does a movie or any piece of art become more expressive of current events as it ages, but Union Furnace is an exception. The economic insecurity facing Americans in the midwest was even more prescient during the 2016 presidential election than when the film was released a year earlier. The small Ohio town in which the story is set is a manifestation of unfulfilled promise left by Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” campaign. The economic anxieties expressed in the film are not new, instead they are the result of factors mounting since the 1980s. We finished talking with a transition into the politics of the horror film genre and the influence Italian filmmaker Dario Argento had on Nicholas’s stylistic approach.
Union Furnace is an Eyes Wide Shut-meets-Saw odyssey in which torture becomes alluring. There is a romance in the pain. It deserves 4.5 out of 5 hairpieces for its blistering social commentary and unrelenting psychological drama. Even if you saw the film in theaters, the deluxe releases promise to breath new life into your appreciation. You can visit the official Union Furnace Facebook page for updates.