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Q&A with Mark Mazur, Director of “Latency”

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ALTER: Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level. Who is your Horror spirit animal?
MARK MAZUR: Annie Wilkes from MISERY. I mean, the woman just loves art and characters. Sure, she MAYBE went a little bit too far, but, you have to love that passion.

A: You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
MM: This was actually a hard question for me. Not because I don’t have bad ideas, but I tend to move past them so quickly it’s difficult for me to remember them. The hardest part of being a filmmaker for me is when you spend months working on a project that doesn’t work out. I have a pile of scripts, sometimes that went ten drafts, that I simply couldn’t make work.

The most important thing is not to mistake inspiration for perspiration. You need to work every day and cultivate the ideas that ultimately end up becoming films. Finding inspiration is like digging up dinosaur bones in a sand storm. You sweep away the dust day after day and as soon as you stop working, your ideas will start to fade.

A: Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
MM: I’m grateful to be a part of any filmmaking community and I am fortunate enough to have been able to be surrounded by filmmakers that work in all sorts of genres. I don’t consider myself a purely horror filmmaker and instead like to find interesting ways into thrilling stories. But none the less, it’s always wonderful when your work is welcomed into and embraced by a community.

A: When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
MM: I tend to find lots of inspiration in images that come to me or moments form my real life. For instance, TWO DEVICES CONNECTED was inspired by the Bluetooth device in my car. I was cruising down the road alone when my speaker announced, “Two devices connected.” [I] freaked out a bit, I looked around and found that I had driven past my girlfriend who was riding her bike. Her phone had connected to my car.

That moment sat with me, and a few months later the idea of spinning it into a horror film came to me and that eventually turned into the film.

A: What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
MM: It depends on the film. For “Latency,” ignorance is bliss, right? At least I would be enjoying that video game. As for “Two Devices Connected” – I would definitely be dead in that trunk. Particularly if it was allergy season. My nose would be stuffed up and with the tape over my mouth, I would suffocate instantly. This is my ultimate fear.

A: Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
MM: We need to cover three pillars here to really terrify people. Smart, persistent and chaotic. So let’s go with the thing from “It Follows,” Hannibal Lector from “Silence of the Lambs,”and, of course, Pennywise from “It.”

A: Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre-Apocalypse?
MM: Jason. Stephen King. Practical. Post Apocalypse.

A: How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
MM: One of the more recent projects I worked on involved creating monster teeth. This was my first original monster and I wanted to make something that felt familiar, since we were only seeing the teeth. The rest of the beast was shrouded in darkness. I like to find pieces of older monsters or props and combine them to create something new.

We used the monster from “Attack the Block” and Cheshire Cat from “Alice in Wonderland” as inspiration. Our monster had green, wideset teeth that glow in the dark, but give an [uneasy] consciousness instead of simply a wild animal.

A: And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
MM: I think I have to go with “Alien.” It’s simply a masterclass in mood and atmosphere. Plus I have an affinity for space, so naturally when people [drift] through a vacuum in a tin can, I can’t help but enjoy it.