What have you done? Daniel is the official prequel to "American Guinea Pig 4: Sacrifice,", starring Roberto Scorza and a special cast that includes the iconic actress Lynn Lowry (Cronenberg's SHIVERS and Romero's THE CRAZIES) and the cult director Frank LaLoggia (Lady in White, Fear No Evil).
What have you done, Daniel? and the movie Sacrifice were both originally set to be released as part of an anthology, but Domziano Cristopharo later decided to sell the movie Sacrifice to Stephen Biro of Unearthed Films as the 4th entry into the American version of the Japanese Guinea Pig series!
Below, we talk about the film. What have you done, Daniel? As well as Q&As with Domiziano Cristopharo, so tune in and buckle up; it's going to be a fun ride!
synopsis: What Have You Done, Daniel presents itself as a psychosexual family drama, placing Daniel at the center of a conflict between his loving mother and an abusive father. The film grows steadily darker and more abrasive while also never losing sight of the characters that form the backbone of the film.
CAST & CREW Directed by: Domiziano Cristopharo screenplay: Andrea Cavaletto Cast Francesco Giannotti (father) Frank Laloggia (the mayor) Lynn Lowry (the mother) Roberto Scorza (Daniel) Produced by: Stefano Bastiani, Domiziano Cristopharo Music by Susan DiBona Salvatore Sangiovanni Cinematography by Daniele Trani
what have you done daniel movie review (spoiler-free)
"What Have You Done, Daniel?" is the prequel to the 2017 movie titled American Guinea pig sacrifice this compelling and disconcerting film delves deep into the intricate web of psychosexual family dynamics. With a skillful blend of psychological tension and emotional turmoil, it paints a haunting portrait of a young man caught between the love of his mother and the torment of his abusive father. As the narrative unfolds, the movie steadily descends into darker realms, captivating the audience while maintaining a strong focus on its well-developed characters.
At its core, "What Have You Done, Daniel?" is more of a dark and twisted family drama that fearlessly examines the complex relationships within a household. The protagonist, Daniel, becomes the central figure through whom these horrible tragedies are explored. The film adeptly portrays the fragile balance between love and pain as Daniel struggles to navigate the conflicting emotions that bind him to his family. The strength of the film lies in its unwavering commitment to its characters. Each role is meticulously crafted, allowing the audience to form a genuine connection with their experiences. Daniel's loving yet tormented mother evokes empathy, while his abusive father instills fear and repulsion. These well-rounded characters serve as the backbone of the narrative, driving the story forward with their emotional complexities. As "What Have You Done, Daniel?" progresses, it takes a progressively darker and more abrasive turn, mirroring the escalating tension within the family.
The film adroitly builds suspense and unease, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. The gradual descent into a chilling atmosphere is artfully executed, creating an unsettling aura that permeates each scene. The director's finesse in balancing the exploration of mental representation and how deep the story dives into cognitive psychology is very commendable. The film deftly handles delicate subject matter, ensuring that the narrative never veers into exploitation. Instead, it maintains a thought-provoking atmosphere, raising pertinent questions about the long-lasting effects of abuse and the resilience of the human spirit. The visual and auditory elements of "What Have You Done, Daniel?" work in tandem to enhance the overall horror experience. The cinematography cleverly employs shadows, claustrophobic framing, and disorienting camera angles, amplifying the sense of dread and entrapment. The haunting score further heightens the tension, leaving a lasting impact on the viewer. While "What Have You Done, Daniel?" is a remarkable film, it is not without its flaws. At times, the pacing feels slightly uneven, particularly during the transition from the initial family drama to the darker, more sinister themes. Additionally, some viewers might find certain scenes too intense or disturbing, requiring a strong stomach to endure them. In conclusion, "What Have You Done, Daniel?" is a compelling and thought-provoking exploration of psychosexual family dynamics. With its strong character development, skillful direction, and unflinching portrayal of darkness, the film manages to captivate and unsettle audiences. While it may not be suitable for everyone due to its intense content, those who appreciate psychological horror and profound storytelling will find it to be a deeply affecting and memorable experience.
Q&A" with Domiziano Christopharo
Okay, let's get up to speed on things, shall we?
#1: [dan] You retired from film and moved to Africa two years ago to change your lifestyle. Since then, you have started a brand new dance company and traveled and performed overseas. What type of dancing do you do? And what inspired you to start dancing?
[d.c] Gran Canaria is politically in Spain, but in fact we are in Africa! I was born as an actor and dancer; film was a parenthesis (not always pleasant, actually), so I went back to being even more "me" and following my true passions and roots. The company traces its roots and motivations back to the Ankoku-Butō movement active in Japan in the 1950s, mixing them with contemporary and experimental theater, resulting in performances with strong psychological and visual appeal: the performers' naked bodies, painted and covered with gold and mud, do not merely describe a state or an idea but create a veritable chain of metamorphosis.
#2: [dan] What is it like traveling around the world and performing under bright lights?
[dc] We actually perform almost entirely in the dark or by candlelight, which makes for very immersive performances for the audience. Audience contact is really something I've been missing, which making films doesn't give you, and by now indie fests have totally lost their way and are turning into just ego showcases.
#3: [dan] If you could collaborate with any dancer on the dance stage, who would it be and why?
[dc] Carolyn Carlson, Pina Baush and Kazuo Ohno my animal spiritual guide.
#4: [dan] You have a passion for art and photography; do you think these things help bring your visions to life while dancing on stage?
[dc] No, are 2 different form of expression, in my case not related together
#5: [dan] Speaking of photography, your book, Erotik Dark Circus, is finally on sale exclusively at Barnes & Noble. It contains over 300 photos in light painting. How awesome does it feel to have your hard work recognized and published in a book store?
[dc] It took many years to complete the book and the "journey," but finally seeing the end results always finds me in the right place of satisfaction. There is always the right place at the right time for everyone. The secret is to learn to wait.
#6: [dan] Any thoughts on writing or creating another book in the near future?
[dc] I'm preparing a few exhibitions and a new photobook dedicated to the iconic horror characters, but in a very erotic light!
Let's discuss what emotional and physical abuse can do to the human mind and body!
#1: [dan] What was it like working with the cast and crew to create such a chilling atmosphere on set, and what is your process when casting a role for your film?
[dc] In my sets outside the actual take of a scene, there is a lot of laughter and a lot of harmony. Terrible things happen only in fiction, and I don't surround myself, fortunately, with those people who make emotional personal dramas about everything or "get into a character." For those kinds of people, I always recommend acting, which is easier.If you watch the extras of "dark" movies like Sacrifice, Doll Syndrome, or Torment, you will see how we are always smiling and ready to laugh.
#2: [dan] What inspired you to create What have you done, Daniel, and what have you sacrificed? And were there any specific real-life events or stories that influenced the storyline or atmosphere of this film?
[dc] No, these two are just fictional; normally I am inspired by crime stories, but this was not the case: Sacrifice is a kind of dark reboot of He Never Dies, while Daniel was born from the idea of deepening the characters and their lives.
#3: [dan] Extreme horror films often push boundaries and explore taboo subjects. What draws you to this genre, and why do you believe it is important to delve into such disturbing and unsettling themes?
[dc] I'm not interested in doing what everybody else does or can do—that's all. There's no point in adding to everything that exists yet another repetition. And maybe that's also why, at the moment, I decided to stop. When I started making films, I saw that there were specific territories and taboo subjects even for those who called themselves free and open-minded "filmmakers," and it's into those territories that I liked to venture, especially because I saw that male nudity for many in 2023 still bothers a lot.
#4: [dan] The psychological aspects of extreme horror can be just as disturbing as the physical violence. How do you create an atmosphere that immerses viewers in the psychological terror of the story?
[dc] It is safe to say that films that have entered as "instant cults" in the history of modern extreme cinema (HOUSE OF FLESH MANNEQUINS, SACRIFICE, DOLL SYNDROME, TORMENT) are, in terms of FX, body count, and gore, really not very bloody. What made them stronger to digest is undoubtedly the psychological and realistic depth brought to the script.
#5: [dan] How do you ensure that your films have a compelling story and well-developed characters that go beyond surface-level violence?
[dc] I read a lot, and I study a lot. I don't fall in love with the first draft or a specific idea. I give myself time to ask me questions and make the right changes. When the answers are trustworthy to all questions, then I feel I'm ready to close the script.
#6: [dan] Horror films can provoke strong reactions from viewers, ranging from fascination to disgust. How do you navigate the balance between pushing boundaries and maintaining artistic integrity?
[dc] I just don't care. I did pure exploitation like Hyde's Secret Nightmare, which is a porn/horror for sample... I just try to do everything funny for me and good for the audience. Of course, not everyone could enjoy a movie of mine, but at the same time, those movies are not meant to be for everyone.
#7: [dan] How do you approach handling sensitive topics in your films, ensuring they are treated with respect and not merely exploited for shock value?
[dc] When you go extreme, for sure, you exploit things only for shock value. Is that wrong? This is what the audience wants from this kind of film.
#8: [dan] Extreme horror films frequently explore the darkest aspects of human nature. What do you think it is about the genre that allows for such a deep examination of human depravity and the extremes of the human psyche?
[dc] I don't really think about that!
#9: [dan] How do you respond to those who argue that these films perpetuate violence and have a negative impact on society?
[dc] As a character in my first movie said, "Movies are inspired by life, while life is inspired by TV."
#10: [dan] If there is one thing that you would like the viewers to take away from what you have done with Daniel and the sequel's sacrifice, what would that message be?
[dc] Oh, well, I don't do movies for leaving messages... I just do horror. I try to have a good script, good cinematography, good acting, and good FX.But I don't want to be an author. I don't want to use horror to leave a message... I actually hate all this new wave of psychological horror that is just a test for people who don't dare to try to do a drama for important film festivals because of the large and easy audience that the horror genre has.Horror must be shocking and astonishing. That's why I love the 80's horror, where all was still possible without finding the "online experts" of nowadays that criticize everything as not "logic" or realistic.Yes, please, teach me how to be realistic in a movie that talks about resurrected dead bodies.
[dan] Last but not least, I want to thank you for such a wonderful interview. I am sad to see you leave the film community, but I am happy to see you move on to things that bring you joy! Cheers to the future! and thanks for supporting and being a part of Horrorscope Magazine!
[dc] Was a plasure for me, really! I'm retired for now, but still many movies are planned for the release... my very latest works (beside DANIEL) are hitting the distro before end of the year: LA PERDICION and ELDORADO that are a very different movies from what I did till now... and a trash B-Movie hommage 4 HALLOWEN that is a horror comedy!
you can keep up with domiziano cristopharo @ https://www.facebook.com/domizianocristopharo.official