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Justice Howard: Maverick Filmmaker! PDF Print E-mail
Written by by Wendell Redding   
Dec 30, 2004 at 07:00 PM
SubRosa Blue has recently unleashed the incredible, visually jarring, and erotic DVD called HELLCATS ON HIGH HEELS (Volume 1). The hard-hitting title speaks for itself and this masterpiece of female sexual imagery and fantasies was helmed by internationally renowned concept artist JUSTICE HOWARD, who prefers to use film and video to confine her visions.
In the lightning-fast span of a few years, Howard has encapsulated the imagination of millions of viewers and has made an incredible name for herself internationally. Her work has been featured in hundreds of magazines (including Playboy and Penthouse) and has been the focus of art gallery exhibits around the globe. She has also worked with celebrities like Marilyn Manson and Julie Strain.

As a teenager, Howard professes to have had ‘stimulating, erotic visions’ haunting her psyche and that she simply set out to visually confront these wild revelations using a simple camera and some willing models...
The results of her journey are some of the most eye-popping and erotic masterpieces that have ever been captured within film and video frames. Playboy magazine has hailed Howard’s work as being that of “a visionary provocateur” and even esteemed author and filmmaker Clive Barker has been quoted saying that Howard’s imagery “is a celebrant of all that is best in the sex life of our culture.” Howard’s work even appeared in the latest Hellraiser movie, The Inferno.
I caught up with the very genial Howard not too long ago and sat down to ask her 13 questions about her work and the HELLCATS ON HIGH HEELS DVD...

Dark Gallery: HELLCATS ON HIGH HEELS has just been released on DVD by Sub Rosa Blue. The quality is excellent. Are you happy with the end results as an artist?
Justice Howard: Oh yes, of course, if I wasn’t happy with it, it wouldn’t have made it to duplication! One of the problems, however, was the same problem that most independent filmmakers have and that was that I really didn’t have a budget to do this series with. The tapes got started because I had seen this really shitty video on Playboy Channel and I just thought, "damn I can do better than that" (well at least more interesting anyway!!), so I got some of my girlfriends (most all the girls in the film were close friends of mine at the time or girls who were modeling for me at the time) and we just did some wild, fun shit and put it on film. That’s kind of how it all came about, I guess.
DG: How did you get started in the business of photographing models and celebrities?
JH: I just "followed my dream," I guess, and stuck with it, you know. So many people never stick with anything and then they wonder why they don’t excel. I’ve been doing this for 5 years now and because my imagery is good and also very cutting edge, I’ve prospered in my chosen career field. I’d say that "tenacity" seems to have been a factor in my success as an artist...
DG: You've worked with rock star Marilyn Manson before. What is he like to work with and where can fans see the work that you did with him?
JH: Basically, he came over to my studio when I was in LA and I shot a few photos of him, nothing major, pretty casual shots actually, they’re on my site under CELEBRITIES gallery at justicehoward.com. WE spoke about getting together and doing something really wild but then I moved out of LA not long after that so we never hooked up. He’s actually quite shy in person but very articulate and well spoken.
DG: On the HELLCATS DVD, you're credited with "Artistic Concepts" as opposed to being the director. Any reason for that, or does that title cover more than the scope of directing---perhaps like the prestigious "written and directed by" credit?
JH: Well, I think the title DIRECTOR is just so vain, you know, like these assholes sit in their little chairs and say "YEAH, I’M THE DIRECTOR," like they’re the boss of the world or something. I didn’t set out to be a "director," I just set out to make some wild art, some erotic eye candy. I’m already the best female photographer in the world, and I’m very happy with that.... so I have no dreams of becoming a 'director,’ you know. I’m really jazzed that you caught that---I thought no one was going to "get it," you know.
DG: The actress/models in your work are all very attractive. Where do you find such lovely and talented performers?
JH: In HELLCATS #1, that was the first tape I made so all of those girls were friends of mine at the time, close friends. I just asked them all to be in the movie. A lot of them were trying to build their careers as professional models so they wanted the promotion. A few, but not many, were XXX girls.
DG: You're obviously well-connected in the music industry. The soundtrack to HELLCATS IN HIGH HEELS is fabulous. Some of the bands on the disc sound as good as Rob Zombie or Nine Inch Nails. Tell us about working with the bands and some of your favorite songs---and where interested fans might purchase their music.
JH: Thanks, I’m really glad you liked the music. The way I got the music is kinda tricky. I actually just asked BANDS THAT I LIKED to participate. Some of the bands weren’t even big name bands but I just dug their music. Then CLEOPATRA and XXX records heard that I was doing the video and they sent me some music and I got releases for some of that and used some of their bands. It was kind of just a conglomeration of music that I really liked a lot. On HELLCATS #3 I have Exene CERVENKA ( I just shot her CD cover and some glamour shots of her ....she’s in my CELEBRITIES gallery on my site too!), so I was able to grab some name bands too ...but the common thread running through all the music was that it was some rockin’ sound. I also asked CANDYE KANE for music, as she’s a pal of mine. So its a conglomeration of people I knew and just asked ...... and then bands I didn’t know but just liked. If anyone’s interested in their music, all the pertinent info is in the credits on the HELLCATS tapes.
DG: Do you have a favorite vignette segment from the first disc?
JH: Well, one of my favorites is actually on HELLCATS #2 which SUB ROSA hasn’t released yet. Its kind of like the LORD OF THE RINGS, we’re releasing one at a time, where you have to wait for the next one!!!! (hee, hee!) But #2 has this scene in it where there’s this nun and a priest . A dominatrix friend of mine played the nun and its pretty wild. Since it’s pretty shocking it would be one of my favorites, I think. It’s DEFINITELY one of the scenes people don’t forget. Also everyone liked the latex scene so much in HELLCATS #1 that I did another shoot with it in HELLCATS #2, only with 2 girls ripping it off of each other. Kerine Elkins, who was the star of SORE LOSERS, is in that scene. Kerine is a Goddess!
DG: I have to ask this one...even though the actress was smiling in the "liquid latex applied and stripped-off-her-nude-body" segment, how painful really was it when that stuff was pulled off???
JH: It’s painful, because if you’re not shaved when you rip it off it rips off all the little hairs on your body . If you really watch her you can tell it’s no fun. That was ANNE MARIE, one of my favorite models of all time, and she’s a real trouper. I remember one night we shot her nude atop this huge rock and it was winter in LA and I know she was damn cold, you could just tell by looking at her nipples...but being the trouper she is, she never uttered a peep.
DG: Where did you get the wild cars that you used as setpieces during the "catfight" sequence?
JH: I tracked down that kid who owned the ‘49 Merc because I heard it blew flames out the traps and I just had to have that car. The other car, the ‘59 Thunderbird was my car, I owned that one. I bought it for $500 from a guy who was taking it to the wrecker, I bought it right off his tow truck hook and rebuilt the entire car myself. I got the engine rebuilt, got the paint done by the guy who painted all the Lowriders, etc. etc. and it turned out so badass. I drove that car for like 4 years when I lived in LA. The music to that sequence was by Davie Allen & The Arrows and Davie Allen even makes a guest appearance in that scene . When I made the tape I was really tired of videos that would run like 60 minutes and it would be like 60 minutes of the same thing. That’s why I broke these tapes up into fast-moving segments. I wanted the segments to be punchy and fast-paced so you’d never want to fast-forward. I think I achieved that, too. One review said, "Put away your remote for this one, you won’t need your fast forward button.” HELLCATS #1 won “Best Alternative Video” at the AVN awards and HELLCATS #2 won “Best Artistic Concepts.” So two of them have won awards already.
DG: How many days did it take to shoot HELLCATS IN HIGH HEELS and what format(s) did you use to shoot and edit everything?
JH: That first one was shot entirely on BETA, something I’D NEVER EVER DO AGAIN. The next two HELLCATS (where #3 is Julie Strain in 2/3 of the entire tape) were shot on DV with those little SONY dv1000's and I think #2 and #3 are actually sharper than the one shot on BETA. Also, those damn Beta cameras are alike 60 pounds or so. Horrible! HELLCATS #1 was shot over a 5 month period, I think.
DG: Any wild on-the-set shooting stories you can give the fans? Some of the talent looked like they REALLY enjoyed their scenes!
JH: In the scene we shot outside where 5 or 6 girls are kind of like 'grinding' on each other, one of the girls was a dominatrix . If you look in that scene one of the girls grabs another chick by the hair and like, starts to manhandle her, and she really gets kind of into it and kind of serious about it. The other chick I don’t think was ready for that but starts to get into it, too! You can see it on film, its rad!
DG: When can we look forward to subsequent volumes of HELLCATS ON HIGH HEELS? The dvd has trailers for parts 2 and 3! JH: Well, yes, all 3 of them are done and shot. SUB ROSA will be putting them on DVD, I think one at a time, and we will be promoting them one at a time. I’ve kind of labeled them as to their content: HELLCATS #1 I call the "fetishy" one cuz I was doing a lot of fetish photography back then, something I don’t do anymore at all now. HELLCATS #2 is called the "pretty one," because I have a few Playboy Playmates and some really pretty girls in it. HELLCATS #3 would be the "artsy" one. That’s the one that Julie Strain is in like 2/3 of the entire tape.
DG: Thanks a million for your time and anything you'd care to add?
JH: Just that people should take a trip to my site at www.justicehoward.com. I’ve had half a million hits in just 8 months and that’s with no advertising. Its a pretty badass site!

So what are you waiting for? Purchase a copy of ‘Hellcats On High Heels’ TODAY!

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