From the archives - Paul Verherverint
"You see he didn't start out as a robot. He was a policeman who was gunned down so naturally they transplant his head onto a robot body to keep him alive and turn him into Cybocop. But the thing they forgot was his balls, isn't it? He thought with his balls. They controlled his instincts. "Do I shoot the criminals? What are my balls telling me?" That was how he operated. Without them he's just a big toaster with a gun, isn't he?"
Paul Verhervervint is Holland's biggest export since the tulip. His brash and trashy style of filmmaking, not to mention the often violent or otherwise controversial subject matter has made his films incredibly popular with moviegoers worldwide. Films such as ‘Crude Instinct', ‘Lapdancers', ‘Cybocop' and others have all been extremely successful at the box office - if not always with the critics.
AC: Paul, it's fair to say that you're something of a movie maverick aren't you?
PV: Well that's what they say about me, isn't it? But to me personally, I don't consider myself to be a maverick. What I am doing with the movies I make is just to try and to push things a little bit. Lets say that there are boundaries put up right? I'll try and move those boundaries a little. Just doing the same old stuff would bore me to tears wouldn't it?
AC: You grew up in Amsterdam in the Sixties. Would you say that has had much of an influence on your work?
PV: Well obviously there was a lot of stuff happening around that time. Hard sex and soft drugs, you know? Free love was all around. Unless you were really unlucky and had to pay for it. So I suppose that I probably have a more liberal outlook then say, George W Bush, isn't it? But then again so do most people.
AC: You made your first few films in Holland didn't you?
PV: That's right. Yeah, my first film was called ‘Graff van der Luunde und Wuunden Duulipen'.
AC: And what does that mean in English?
PV: ‘Angst'. That film caused a lot of fuss. Most cinemas were refusing to show it.
AC: Was that because it contained a lot of violence or nudity?
PV: No. The title was too long to fit on the billboards outside the cinema. The film that really made people sit up and take notice of me as a director was ‘Schleerm' which roughly translated means "Orgy of Blood, Violence and Just Life in General Really". It was banned in thirteen countries.
AC: Why was it banned?
PV: Well it was a zombie movie you see, isn't it? So there's Rutger Hauer and he's doing killing to all the zombies. Did I mention they were nude female zombies? From Mars? There was a good reason for them being nude but I can't remember what it was now.
AC: I believe it may have been because cosmic rays had dissolved the clothes of every woman on Earth.
PV: That's it. People criticise me for being gratuitous but it's all very carefully worked out, isn't it? In my movies everything happens for a reason.
AC: Which brings us neatly on to Sharon Stone's infamous scene in ‘Crude Instinct'...
PV: Exactly! Here again people get this wrong all the time. They say that I'm exploiting women with this scene. That's the load of a cock, ok?
AC: Just in case anybody is unfamiliar with the scene in question can you briefly describe what happens in it?
PV: Okay. So, Sharon Stone plays this writer of dirty books who is accused of murdering her lover with an ice pick. She is being interrogated by the cops, isn't it? So I needed a way to show that she is in control of the situation and that she is using her sexuality to her advantage.
AC: And how did you do that?
PV: Halfway through the interrogation she rubs ice cream over her naked breasts.
AC: And you don't find that at all exploitative?
AC: Even though ‘Feminist Monthly' that month carried a cover that consisted solely of a poster for ‘Crude Instinct' with the single word "Exploitative" underneath?
PV: Magazines are forgotten by next week, isn't it?
AC: And the Feminist Alliance of America picketed every cinema showing the film.
PV: I think that protest was about another movie. It was a coincidence.
AC: They were carrying placards which read, "Paul Verhervervint is a Git".
PV: Those feminist chicks! They crack me up!
AC: There's a story about you that every time you film a nude scene you insist on being nude yourself. Is that true?
PV: Sure it's true. If I'm making my actors take off their clothes then it's only fair that I should do it too. I would make the rest of the crew go naked as well but frankly most of them look bad enough with their clothes on. You really wouldn't want to see more then you absolutely have to.
AC: I want to turn now to ‘Cybocop'. Again that has been very heavily criticised for the amount of violence it contains. In fact, it can only be seen in this country in a severely edited form. I presume you still stand by that level of violence?
AC: I don't think there's any need for abuse, Paul.
PV: No. No. Balls. That's what the movie is about. Balls.
AC: How is a film about a six foot six robot policeman about balls?
PV: You see he didn't start out as a robot. He was a policeman who was gunned down so naturally they transplant his head onto a robot body to keep him alive and turn him into Cybocop. But the thing they forgot was his balls, isn't it? He thought with his balls. They controlled his instincts. "Do I shoot the criminals? What are my balls telling me?" That was how he operated. Without them he's just a big toaster with a gun, isn't he?
AC: That doesn't really answer my question about the level of violence though does it?
PV: You'd be being pretty pissed off without your balls, right? People question my work all the time. I don't make movies for other people. I don't think about the audience when I make a movie. I'm thinking about a much more important person then them.
AC: And who is that?
PV: My bank manager.
AC: Paul Verhervervint, Thank you.