Statement of Alexia Crawley, regarding her time working as a cinematographer on Dexter Banks' final film.
Alexia Crawley is a cinematographer. She describes how important the job is to making movies, and that she is very good at it. She has worked with Dexter Banks many times, despite feeling no small amount of hatred for him, for she knows they are dependent on each other. Since she was outed as trans, she had few other options but to work with him. Both were aware she was the reason his movies received any acclaim.
For a long time, Dexter had talked about "his spider film", but Alexia says it did not become an obsession until two years before her statement was given. During these points, he would become quiet and ask her if she had ever seen Kumo Ga Tabeteiru. According to Dexter, it was a tokusatsu film from the 60s, about a giant spider that terrorized a small island.
When described, the most striking aspect was that it did not have a protagonist. Nobody fought the monster. The movie followed the lives of a few individuals on the island, but each vignette ended with the character simply feeding themselves to the creature. The one problem with this entire story is that neither could find any evidence of the movie's existence. While it was odd, this never really bothered Alexia, at least compared to Dexter's less pleasant quirks.
Then one day, he called her. He described his next film as his masterpiece and proceeded to lay out a plot identical to that of Kumo. She asked if he'd found a copy of a film or script, and his answer was "Better. I found the book it was based on." This disturbed Alexia, since he was not the type of person to ever describe a book as better than a movie.
The film went into production. It was titled "Widow's Weave", based off this mysterious book and the movie shots he could remember. Of course, Alexia was going to be working on it as the Director of Photography. Although the crew was nothing special, Alexia was struck by how little care was put into the casting. The exception to this was that Dexter claimed to have hired Neil Lagorio, an extremely successful creator of practical effects for film monsters.
However, once production was underway, Dexter became secretive, setting up a workshop for Lagorio and telling the other crew that they were to have no contact with the practical effects department. Alexia takes offence to this and tells Dexter she wants to visit Lagorio since she has worked with him in the past and wants to catch up. Dexter claims that Lagorio has become reclusive in his retirement and will only work on the project on the condition of absolute privacy.
Alexia relents, saying there were other issues to focus on, such as the difficulty of recreating shots only from Dexter's vague memory, Dexter's outbursts over the smallest infractions, or the fact Dexter would disregard entire days worth of shooting due to it "not feeling right."
One aspect of production that impressed Alexia was the cast. Most were young who had only worked a few advertisements or older faces that had a hard time breaking into the scene. Most impressive was Brandon Omar, who was playing the closest thing the movie had to a protagonist. He took to the role with gravity, and a weariness that did not seem entirely fake. He was the only one who did not seem excited by the movie but also the only one Dexter actually listened to.
Alexia has little time to wonder about it as the first few weeks of shooting are gruelling. Dexter is clearly not sleeping and constantly demands massive changes for no reason. He also insists on using older equipment, almost entirely avoiding digital, causing a lot of extra work as people have to work with unfamiliar equipment. He won’t let anyone else prepare the day’s footage, which should not need any editing to begin with, and spends hours in the editing room once the days shooting is finished.
Alexia only interrupts him once when he is preparing the footage. An actress had fallen ill and he needs to sign-off on some schedule changes.
The editing room is dark and she can hear the sound of an old film reel turning. She is unable to step inside as the space has been threaded all over with raw film reel. As she touches the reel, Dexter emerges from the editing room. He seems taller and she realises he is suspended a few inches off the ground by strips of film. He calmly tells her to make any necessary changes and heads back. Alexia tries very hard to convince herself that he only had two arms.
Shooting continues and there is a growing awareness that no one has seen anything from Neil Lagorio yet. Neither he or anyone from his team have been on set and there has been no apparent activity in the workshop where the spider is supposedly being built.
Eventually, all non-spider scenes have been shot and Dexter announces that they will unveil Lagorio’s spider. Dexter has decided that the actors will be the first to see it and everyone gathers outside the workshop. With Brandon leading them, they head inside. The rest wait. There are no so sounds from inside and the minutes pass, soon they’ve been waiting for half an hour.
It is one of the crew, idly checking his phone, who stumbles across the news article. Neil Lagorio is dead, he has been bedridden in his home in Connecticut for the last year. All eyes turn to Alexia and she hesitantly enters the workshop.
There was nothing there, the place was entirely empty. Alexia is not sure she really saw anything but, when she first entered, she glanced up. For a moment it was there, perfectly interwoven with a hundred cocoons, writhing and dangling, stretching out far above her. In its center, black and shining eyes focused on her, it had legs that worked so fast as to be a blur and fangs that dripped their poison onto Dexter Banks. Then, in a moment, it was all gone, scuttling up and into nowhere, pulling its impossible web behind it.
She still does not know how to describe her relationship with Dexter. She does not know how complicit he was, or if he was simply caught up in his own neuroses and fears. She just knows what he did not deserve what happened to him.
In the end, she found the book, and burned it. If she ever finds the man who used to own it, she might burn him too.
Martin figures this is another Leitner.
Dexter Banks disappeared in 2012 along with almost 100 cast members. When the Institute was not able to help her, Alexia Crawley told her full story to the press. She was not treated kindly in response and refuses to discuss the event any further.
Basira was able to glean some extra information from recent LAPD files. Every February over the last five years, a corpse is found washed up on Redondo Beach. It is always a shrivelled husk, with all moisture and internal organs removed. They are usually unidentifiable but last year one of the bodies was identified as Chadwick Frazier, an aspiring actor who went missing in 2012, and whose IMDB page lists Widow’s Weave as his final movie.
Later, Basira tells Martin of Elias' power to insert unpleasant knowledge directly into your brain and Martin is appalled at what he did to Melanie. Basira wants to take action but they do not know what they can do, particularly as Elias might be watching. Martin suggests they talk in the tunnels as they might offer some protection according to John.
Basira realises Elias is not omniscient. She recalls an incident where some paperwork got messed up by Martin and later Elias had to ask her why the pages were in the wrong order, meaning he did not see Martin knock them off a desk. It is a start and they head to the tunnels to talk further.
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This section contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot. Continue at your own risk.
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