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Those who’ve tuned in to the last two episodes of Reservation Dogs have seen a master at work. Standing behind the camera and lending his vision to the Taika Waititi and Sterlin Harjo co-created series is Blackhorse Lowe. Having worked on earlier seasons of the production, Lowe was back in action yet again for the psychedelic and out-of-this-world episode “House Made of Bongs” and the touching and heartfelt “Frankfurter Sandwich.” In an interview with Collider’s Chase Hutchinson, the filmmaker revealed what projects inspired him throughout his time on the series.
“Definitely The Holy Mountain,” Lowe says of the number one film that’s rubbed off onto his work. “I put a lot in [for] a lot of each of those episodes; a lot of [John] Carpenter, The Thing, as much as possible; Two-Lane Blacktop, and then a couple of [John] Cassavetes references that plopped in there, especially with the men going out into the woods a lot” – referring to the scenes featuring Cheese (Lane Factor) and the elders taking some time in nature. Specifically, Lowe says that he watched the director’s 1970 film Husbands for these explorations into masculinity.
As for “House Made of Bongs,” Lowe says that he leaned in hard on “the sci-fi stuff,” pouring over titles featuring “the earliest vampires from outer space”. There were also ideas pulled from 1972’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie with Lowe commenting that there were, “Bits and pieces here where I want the camera to move like this one scene Luis Buñuel shot.”
A Field Trip to the Movies
In what sounds like the absolute dream, Lowe revealed that he would take cast and crew members to Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Circle Cinema, where he screened his inspirations for the group to better understand the assignment. “Before my episodes, I always try to make it a thing where we would watch a movie from that era or something that thematically fit into what we’d be making.” Pointing back to the second season episode which heavily featured Zahn McClarnon’s Big, the filmmaker says that the group gathered to watch The Holy Mountain and the 1970’s Western flick, El Topo to prepare for “that type of psychedelic experience that I want.” For his Season 3 episodes, the gang watched Two-Lane Blacktop and 1971’s Vanishing Point with a side showing of Husbands specifically for Factor. Using these favorite titles as his building blocks, Lowe says, “It was just like all these different film references, but they all kind of find a way to – We Native the f*** out of it just to really kind of give it its own voice.”
Season 3 of Reservation Dogs is now streaming on Hulu with new episodes arriving on Wednesdays. Check out a trailer for the season below.