Q&A with Shant Hamassian, Director of “Night of the Slasher”
ALTER: Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
SHANT HAMASSIAN: Ash from Evil Dead 2. He’s been through many cycles of personality in sequels and tv series, but this version of him paints him as a regular guy who must persevere extraordinary circumstances. It’s the character growth that audiences want to root for and cheer for when he reaches it.
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?
SH: I don’t think ideas are good or bad, but it’s more about how it’s executed. I’ve seen movies with bad or dumb ideas that pleasantly surprise me. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge a perceived movie by it’s screenplay. Movies are about “how” the story is told, and “what” is being told is only secondary. My original short film was more gorey, but financial limitations inspired me to substitute gore for thrilling action. Thus, Night of the Slasher became a hit as a Horror-Action film.
A: Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
SH: Of course I do! The horror film community is the most open and accepting of all genre communities. Despite the violent and spooky nature of the content, the creators and fans are typically supportive to each other where they leave behind biases, grievances, and embrace each other’s love for horror. It might have something to do biologically; when humans are threatened by an outside force, they drop their issues with each other and become a one team unit. As Reagan once said, the only way we’ll achieve world peace is if we were all threatened by and alien race (he must have read Watchmen). A mutual love for horror brings humanity together.
A: When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
SH: Inspiration typically finds me. However, actively seeking ideas come to me faster when I share it with a friend and help articulate it until it presents itself. I watch movies and read for research depending on the subject matter. In the end, it all comes down to how important is the core of the story for the whole world to see? How will this make a difference in someone’s life? Movie can heal. Horror absolutely can heal– and those who are too easily scared should make an effort to sit through some of them. If you can survive watching a horror movie, you can survive the trivial things in your life that are bothering you. Call it a mental training ground.
A: What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
SH: I would not have sex with my main character.
A: Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
SH: This is way too cliche, but it would be the three main classics of the 70’s and 80’s, Jason, Michael, and Freddy. They have infinite lives. If they are killed off for good, they will be rebooted or they’ll come back in a sequel that ret-cons the previous sequels.
A: Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
SH: Jason. Stephen King. Practical. Post Ragnarok.
A: How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
SH: I rent props and/or make simple adjustments to ready-made props and masks that create the perception of hours of hard work. Just look at Spawn– he’s basically Venom with chains and a red cape. Suddenly, he appears original. I love Spawn. Mid-90s angst forever!
A: And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
SH: Evil Dead 2. When I saw that film when I was 16, it whispered to me “Be a filmmaker”. Your movie, Scream, was also very inspiring, Mr. Ghostface. So please don’t gut me. In fact… let me join you…