Q&A with Chris Jopp, Director of “Meow”
ALTER: Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
CHRIS JOPP: I guess I felt a lot like Gizmo from Gremlins while I was growing up, and sometimes still do. I like to think I’m a pretty good person, and I was a good kid who often did what he was told, and warned others when I thought they were crossing the moral line; yet I still often watch other seemingly “evil” members of my own species causing chaos and doing troubling things in the world.
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?
CJ: I mean, I still think some of my discarded ideas still could have been good if properly fleshed out. In an early version of MEOW, Samantha was bitten by the cat and started to develop a strange fever and feline-like abilities. I still think that could be a pretty cool movie!
A: Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
CJ: Definitely on a filmmaker level, but also on a societal level, especially during Halloween. Halloween is one of my favorite holiday’s because it becomes socially acceptable to have weird and grotesque thoughts. Fear and death are ever present, and I think people spend a lot of time thinking about them; but don’t necessarily externalize those thoughts. I think it’s healthy to get them out, so when halloween comes around, I think it’s awesome that everyone is united in a shared celebration of the fun and beauty found in the macabre.
A: When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
CJ: A combination of my childhood and the media I consume. I grew up in a safe suburb and had a very joyful childhood but even then, you can still sense some of the darkness that your parents shelter you from. That feeling combined with books I read: Roald Dahl, Stephen King, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and all of the 80s Fright Fests and Slasher Flicks I watched, were huge influences on what I like to make.
A: What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
CJ: Probably exactly what Samantha does, but I don’t know if I’d be as smart and brave as she is. I’d probably get killed off.
A: Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
CJ: Freddy Krueger, because the ability to infiltrate and manipulate people’s dreams is just so unbelievably cool. He probably doesn’t work well with others, but since he has the ability to manipulate space and time, he’s really his own squad.
A: Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
CJ: Freddy because of the above answer. Stephen King, I’m a sucker for childhood and nostalgia. Practical of course, real is almost always better. Pre Apocalypse, I’m more interested in how shit went wrong.
A: How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
CJ: I usually work with what I have, and alter what I have to make it fit the mood for what I need. For instance, I once created a space helmet out of a bike helmet, by spray-painting it and outfitting it with cardboard, knobs, hoses, and screws I bought from AxMan.
A: And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
CJ: Fright Night. I love the atmosphere and how it combines visceral thrills and scares with genuine humor.