“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”
― Federico Fellini
Mr. Ric’s Cinema evolution began when my friend screenwriter and TV producer/writer Will Rokos asked if I had any television show ideas in development. I never really had ventured into television writing but I did have several interesting ideas that were perfect if developed correctly. Will helped me shape several ideas into workable concepts. One idea was about a bright young dreamer who desperately wants to create a Cinematheque in New York as a place where “people come as they are and then leave different,” a phrase that defined the work of the late Henri Langlois and his influential Cinematheque Francais. It would essentially be a story of a man struggling to achieve his dream but set in a world of magical realism where the possibly ghosts and spirits of famous actors and directors could glide through the narrative at any moment and become integral parts of an episode.
“Danzig’s Mother was about silent films and horror movies-Fritz Lang, Nosferatu. Hot girls, shot in black and white.”
– Ric Menello
“Mother” wasn’t that the one with the chicken in it? That was a good one. We definitely wanted it to look like we killed the chicken, as you would in a horror movie. It worked a little too well – it didn’t get much play.”
• Rick Rubin
Ric wrote this to me, in some saved notes that were to form part of his bio, “My work usually eschews the typical music video techniques and fads in favor of images inspired by the classic films of the past. Whether it’s the 1960s “foreign movie” look of “Going Back to Cali”, the dark, sinister images of “Mother”, fueled by the classic horror movies of the 20s, 30s and 40s, and the film noirs of the 40s, or the silent comedies of Chaplin and Keaton for “Children’s Story. Each tries to echo and acknowledge their cinematic past.” Mother was a wonderful opportunity to explore a world of violent contrast while burrowing through a litany of interesting filmic references.
“LL Cool J’s “Going Back to Cali” is one of the best hip-hop videos. It was cinematic, and it felt like the song.”
• Fab 5 Freddy
The music video for Going Back to Cali marked a pivotal moment in Ric’s music video directorial career. Of all the videos, it evoked probably what you would have seen from him if he were able to do a feature film of his own. He wrote over seven personal feature length screenplays for his directorial debut but none unfortunately ever made it to the screen.