In the new horror movie Come Out and Play a holidaying couple, played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Lola Versus) and Vinessa Shaw (2006’s The Hills Have Eyes), visit an island off the coast of Mexico where they discover the local children have murdered the adults. But the most bizarre aspect of the film, which began its platform release on March 22 and is currently available on VOD, is the identity of its director, who goes by the mono-moniker of “Makinov” and refuses to reveal his face or real name.
Come out and Play debuted last September at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. The “Director biography” on the official TIFF website stated that Makinov was born in Belarus and began his career in Russia as a focus puller, the member of the camera team responsible for ensuring the shots are in focus. He later traveled to Mexico to study and shoot two documentary films on shamanism. After a near-death experience he adopted a new identity and began to refer to himself only as Makinov, believing that “by punishing the ego through anonymity, he can command the wisdom of being one with another.” The biography was accompanied by a photograph of Makinov in which his features were obscured by a mask and goggles. Meanwhile, the relevant TIFF “Programmer’s Note” compared Makinov to the similarly anonymous techno duo Daft Punk and claimed the filmmaker “wears a mask while working with his cast and crew, in an effort to enforce his personal vision of a cinema that detaches itself from the ego-driven model of the director.”
There was more. Prior to the actual TIFF screening of Come Out and Play, the festival audience was shown a short, subtitled film which was also uploaded to YouTube with the title Makinov Manifesto. In the clip a figure wearing a crude red hood smashed a cell phone and then proceeded to declaim in Russian. “I want to talk about my ideas,” the figure, who was standing in a wooded area, began. “For a time now I have been torn and disgusted of seeing stupid modern life. We grow confused at what really matters. That’s why I am devoted to make this horror stories [sic]. To remind us who we are without a cell phone. We must remember we are made of blood. An old proverb says that it is better to murder during time of plague. I would say the same when we talk about cinema. People watching stupid heroes saving the world, when the world is surrounded by pain. What a joke. Cinema should teach us about pain. That’s why I make these precious sad stories. To remind us that life is limited and that we are gonna die. I believe in the mystery of the spirit. That’s why I want to scream at the stupid person that keeps checking photos in facebook when you can go to the woods and get yourself a good f—. I wear my mask because through anonymity I can be all I want. As a beloved writer says, I believe in my mask, the man I made up is me. I believe in my dance, and my destiny. Cheers.”