Released exclusively on the long since discontinued and deleted formats of VHS and LaserDisc, the following has NEVER been released on DVD until NOW!
Remastering Background: This concert was first released on VHS in US 1992 with an eventual release on LaserDisc later the same year. Even now both the VHS and LaserDisc of this performance are only available used but MVR retrieved a sealed (never been opened) LaserDisc specifically for this rare remastering. This REMASTERED DVD is sourced directly from the original high quality LaserDisc to DVD for the first time ever! Quality is unmatched as it transferred from the long since deleted LaserDisc format from THIRTY years ago and far outmatches any quality VHS that was originally released of this monologue performance.
Film Background: Spalding Gray debuted the stage version of his monologue, Monster in a Box, on 27 Sep 1990 at the Satirical Subversives Festival, hosted by his alma mater, Emerson College. At the time, the 22 Aug 1990 Var referred to the show as Monster in a Box: Footnotes to “Impossible Vacation.” The show was scheduled for a 2 Nov—31 Dec 1990 run at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York City; however, the 11 Nov 1991 Var stated that opening night at Lincoln Center took place on 14 Nov 1990.
Gray addresses the critical success of his 1987 film, Swimming to Cambodia (see entry), in Monster in a Box, and stated in the 11 Nov 1990 LAT that the monologue was primarily about his “‘resisting and grappling’ with the growing encroachment of fame.”
English documentarian Nick Broomfield agreed to direct the film version of Monster in a Box, shot at Riverside Studios in London, England, beginning on 5 Mar 1991, according to an 11 Mar 1991 Var production chart.
The picture was theatrically released in London in late Oct 1991, as noted in the 1 Nov 1991 Screen International and 11 Nov 1991 Var. The U.S. premiere followed on 26 Jan 1992, as the closing night attraction of the Sundance Film Festival, according to an item in the 16 Jan 1992 LAT. The film also played at the 1992 WorldFest/Houston International Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival, as noted in the 11 May 1992 Var and 31 Aug 1992 Var.
Critical reception was largely positive. The 15 May 1992 LAT review praised Nick Broomfield’s direction for keeping Gray’s monologue “visually interesting,” while the 5 Jun 1992 NYT acknowledged that some edits between close-ups and medium shots were jarring but broke up the “otherwise static nature” of Gray’s mostly seated performance. The 1 Jul 1992 Box review stated that Gray carried the film with “masterful timing and aplomb.”
The 10 Aug 1992 Var praised Fine Line Features’ quick rise to the top of American art-house film distribution in less than two years of existence, but noted that Monster in a Box was one of Fine Line’s few commercial disappointments. Two weeks later, the 24 Aug 1992 Var “Weekly Box Office Report” cited a cumulative domestic gross of $311,245 after fourteen weeks in release.
The title of the film appears onscreen as Spalding Gray’s Monster in a Box. However, Monster in a Box appears as separate from the introductory statement, and in larger font, and the film is generally referred to as Monster in a Box in reviews and other contemporary sources. End credits note that filming took place in Riverside Studios, London, and offer “Special Thanks” to: Seamus Cassidy; The Lincoln Center Theater; Bernard Gersten; Gregory Mosher; River Arts Repertory Theater; and Larry Sacharow. The 10 Aug 1992 Var praised Fine Line Features’ quick rise to the top of American art-house film distribution in l
Film Description: Filmed at London, England’s Riverside Studios before 250 invited guests beginning on the 5th of March 1991, according to an 11th of March 1991 Var production chart. This is the story of Spalding Gray and his attempt to write a novel. It is a first person account about writing and living, and dealing with success while trying to be successful. Spalding Gray sits behind a desk throughout the entire film and recounts his exploits and chance encounters while playing a minor role in the film ‘The Killing Fields’. At the same time, he gives a background to the events occurring in Cambodia at the time the film was set.
Monster in a Box is a monologue originally performed live on stage by the writer Spalding Gray then subsequently made into a 1992 film starring Gray and directed by Nick Broomfield. A follow-up to Gray’s earlier work, Swimming to Cambodia, the work consists of a long-form monologue by Gray detailing the trials and tribulations he encountered while writing his first novel, Impossible Vacation (the titular “monster”). He also relates the sudden fame afforded him after the release of Swimming to Cambodia. An extended version of the monologue was published in book form prior to the release of the film.
Parody: This monologue – or at least its title – was parodied on Sesame Street in an installment of “Monsterpiece Theater.” The main actor (and writer) for the parody was a monster aptly called Spalding Monster in homage to Gray.
Still to this day, this vintage concert has NEVER been officially released on DVD until NOW! So here it is for the first time ever on DVD for every fan of the late Spalding Gray this is for you!
Another original offer from your team at MVR!
1) Side 1 Duration: 54 Minutes 45 Seconds
2) Side 1 Duration: 35 Minutes 50 Seconds
3) Official Theatrical Trailer Duration: 2 Minutes 30 Seconds
Total DVD Running Time 1 Hour 30 Minutes 35 Seconds
Written by Spalding Gray
Starring Spalding Gray
Music Composed for the soundtrack by Laurie Anderson
Produced by Jon Blair, Norman I. Cohen & Renée Shafransky
Directed by Nick Broomfield
Cinematography Michael Coulter