Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll

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Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll
Ph poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Roger Avary
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Music by
Cinematography Benoît Debie
Edited by Steven Klein
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4.2 million

Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll was a planned fantasy-horror film by Marilyn Manson with Geoffrey Cox and Anthony Silva that had been in development hell since 2004. It would be directed by Marilyn Manson as part of his Celebritarian Corporation art movement, and it would be his directorial debut as a feature filmmaker. It was being produced by Blue Light for Wild Bunch and has estimated budget of $4,200,000. In the leading roles were Marilyn Manson as Lewis Carroll, English model Lily Cole as Alice, Evan Rachel Wood as Alice's alter ego and British actress Tilda Swinton as Lewis Carroll's dream wife.[1] According to press sources, the production of the film was discontinued.[2]

According to an interview with co-writer Anthony Silva, Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll was still on and the talk of it being shut down was just a myth.[3]

Anthony Silva, co-writer for Phantasmagoria, spoke about the film in a May 2010 interview with MansonWiki. Silva claimed his roles might have extended to direction and editing as well as screenwriting. He also spoke about the film's creation process, remembering how the writers studied Carroll's diaries, biographies and newspaper articles and surveys of the era, in addition to the very cameras and photography from that time period. Medical practices of the 1800s were also examined, "as Carroll experienced great bouts of sickness throughout his life." In an interview with Ora TV talk host, Larry King on June 3, 2013, Manson mentions 'But I just resurrected it again, (Phantasmagoria) and Roger Avary is going to direct it.'

In a Facebook status on 6 February 2014, Manson announced "My long-awaited portrayal of Lewis Carroll in the film, PHANTASMAGORIA is finally in production. I cannot give out the details of the other artists involved, or the director today...but this will be my dream within a dream role as an actor."[4]

In a reddit AMA with Billy Corgan on 4 April 2015, Marilyn Manson had the following to say about the film: "Well, a lot of people think that I made the film because there was a trailer for it. I made the trailer in order to get people to make the film. I've since decided, because while writing it, it was so... damaging to my psyche, I've decided I don't want to have anything to do with it. I've decided to work on other movie projects."[5] [6]





The script for the film has been completed as of December 2005. Benoît Debie (director of photography for several of Gaspar Noé's films, e.g. Irréversible, Enter the Void and Calvaire) is the director of photography.

As of December 2007, much of the design is finished and the film has a distributor.

According to Marilyn Manson:

The title is taken from a famous and hard to find collection of Lewis Carroll's poems originally published as "Rhyme? and Reason?" but titled "Phantasmagoria" in later editions. Twin Engine Publishing HB, Wildside Press Books and Prometheus Books are some of the few contemporary publishers of the book. Phantasmagoria is also the name for live horror shows involving projection onto smoke screens that were invented in the 18th century France.

Presentation of Lewis Carroll's character[edit]

Marilyn Manson:

Redefinition of horror genre[edit]

Manson has stated his aim for the project is to “redefine the horror genre” and bring it back to the days of Roman Polanski, Ingmar Bergman and Alfred Hitchcock. “It‘s kind of a return to Hitchcock-style psychological horror about letting your mind do the damage and sometimes what you don’t see is scarier." "I wouldn't say it will be like a modern horror film. It wouldn't be like what people are used to seeing today. But I think by being traditional, sometimes like a Hitchcock, it's almost modern, because people are so used to seeing special effects. I have a magician that I've hired to do my special effects. I don't want any CGI. I want only in-camera, so I have a magician who's my special-effects man. I just want to be unconventional by being traditional."[13]

Manson has stated that Phantasmagoria will be "something people haven't seen before[12] and will be filmed in a way no one has done yet. “I have a camera that I’ll be the first person to use in cinema, and I‘m very excited about it. It’s very unique."[12] Friend and fellow filmmaker James Cameron has supplied his Reality Camera System technology for Manson to film.

He has suggested the use of subliminal elements to enhance feeling, but also says he may go further. “I‘m going to do a lot of things that may end up being illegal. Until they are, I will do them. I think it will change people’s opinion about horror films and they will realize they’re not all about slasher”. “I might add that the girls playing Tweedledum and Tweedledee are twins who get to have real, genuine sex with each other. I like to make dreams come true”.[14]

The film has also been linked with other projects such as Alejandro Jodorowsky’s King Shot and an as yet untitled film with Tilda Swinton. The tagline is taken from The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (1799), from Caprichos, by Francisco Goya.


Currently the production on Phantasmagoria is postponed and has no start date.[15] Screenwriter Anthony Silva is quoted in May 2010:

On February 6, 2014, Marilyn Manson wrote on his Facebook page:


It was originally believed that Manson was filming in Ireland and Sintra in Portugal as a possible location. Marilyn Manson explains that it "is a very powerfully magical, strange place. It was my first choice for location to shoot my film Phantasmagoria...". On the January 14, 2008 radio show of Loveline with Dr. Drew and Stryker, Manson {pola} states that although unsure of where he will be filming, it will more than likely be Romania.[18]


Manson has mentioned that so far the music has been based on some of the score Chris Vrenna originally created for American McGee's Alice incidentally, Manson himself was originally supposed to work on the "McGee" soundtrack[19] He intends to be working with Twiggy Ramirez, Tim Skold, Rob Holliday and Ginger Fish on the original soundtrack and previously unreleased Marilyn Manson's songs but has added that he doesn't want to over extend himself as he has other responsibilities, i.e. acting and directing. Madonna Wayne Gacy possibly contributed prior to leaving Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson does mention the possibility of there being at least one unoriginal song used in one of his films: "There's a song that's a huge influence on the way the movie ends called 'In Every Dream Home a Heartache' by Roxy Music, and it very well might make its way into a film, which would be very odd because it's a '70s song in a 19th century film".[19]


At a press conference for the film at Berlinale 2006, Marilyn Manson and Lily Cole showed a five-minute trailer, poster and still photos by Steven Klein to around sixty journalists which was generally well received.[20] However, when the trailer was uploaded to the internet, it was panned by viewers who were left shocked by the disturbing images presented. It has led to the delay of the movie and is officially on 'indefinite production hold'.[21]


The film will reportedly be made available through Marilyn Manson's official website though he has also stated that the film's first release will be "very unconventional".[citation needed]

Marilyn Manson has also made many references to how his website will change in the future, stating that the website is very video-extensive and "has been created to be a place where you can see even more than what is in the film, whether it will be viewed as trailers or teasers, or further elements that aren't necessary to support the film. If you enjoy the film, there's a wealth of knowledge there to dig deeper".[citation needed]


  1. ^ After Years of Anticipation – Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll Teaser Trailer
  2. ^ Nicholl, Katie (September 11, 2010). "Rocker Rod comes home . . . to do the school run". Daily Mail. Mail Online. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ Anthony Silva talks to about Phantasmagoria and more
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Phantasmagoria section on Official Wild Bunch Website; last accessed February 3, 2008.
  8. ^ (Spanish) Saavedra, David. Marilyn Manson: "Puedo vivir como quiera en mi mundo de vanidad", El Mundo, 16 November 2007 at; last accessed February 3, 2008.
  9. ^ Everyone Will Suffer Now, The Heirophant, 12 January 2008, archived at; last accessed May 9, 2010.
  10. ^ Wax, Alyse. Marilyn Manson Freaks Us Out at the Scream Awards, FEARnet, 20 October 2008 at; last accessed 22 October 2008.
  11. ^ Harris, Chris. Marilyn Manson Won't Let Scary Michael Chiklis Stop His Scary Films, MTV, 04 November 2005 at; last accessed February 3, 2008.
  12. ^ a b c d Harris, Chris. Marilyn Manson Finds Creepy Soul Mate In "Wonderland" Author, MTV, 15 February 2006 at; last accessed February 3, 2008.
  13. ^ Carroll, Larry. Marilyn Manson's Film: Who Needs Special Effects When You Can Hire A Magician?, MTV, 30 June 2006 at; last accessed February 3, 2008.
  14. ^ Scaggs, Austin. Manson Making Movies, Rolling Stone, 15 July 2005 at; last accessed February 3, 2008.
  15. ^ McCabe, Joseph. Lily Cole on Marilyn Manson's "Phantasmagoria", FEARnet, 05 November 2009 at; last accessed November 7, 2009.
  16. ^ Anthony Silva. Anthony Silva talks to about Phantasmagoria and more, MansonWiki, 13 May 2010 at
  17. ^
  18. ^ Official Wild Bunch Website
  19. ^ a b "Dramatic New Scenes for Celebritarian Needs (archived by". MansonUSA (now defunct). 2005-11-03. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  20. ^ Watch the Promo Trailer for Marilyn Manson's 'Phantasmagoria'
  21. ^ Cole's Violent Film Put On Indefinite Hold.