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Q&A with Kate Tefry, Director of “How To Be Alone”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
Some would argue it’s more action than horror, but I love Ripley in ALIENS — she’s so rad and brave, and I like that because she went through the insane trauma of the first movie, she’s able to kick ass and go beast mode in the third act in a way that is VERY cathartic and satisfying.

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?
At one time I wanted to make a body-horror/zombie movie set at a music festival where people were taking bath salts that turned them into actual monsters. Something about underground subcultures mutating into corporate wastelands…whatever it was pretty dumb.
But I’m a slowish writer, and since it takes me a while to finish projects, usually along the way the worst ideas get weeded out and left behind.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Not particularly. I tend to use horror and sci-fi as a trojan horse for my weird little personal stories — a fun, sneaky way to get my emotional themes out there. So, I’m by no means a die hard gorehound.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Music is huge for me in nailing down overall tone. Also photography — I usually make a lookbook and playlist before I even start writing. Stuff like that can be helpful to come back to when you hit that second act wall and you can’t remember what the hell you’re talking about or why you started this in the first place.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
I mean, I kind of live inside my film as it is. So I guess if I woke up in there I would go about my day, and maybe see if I could get in to see my shrink at some point.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
All vampires from THE LOST BOYS. They have great style and I feel like I could party with them.

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Jason
Uncle Stevie
Practical Post

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
We wanted to create a world where the ordinary could feel menacing. The idea was that the apartment would reflect our protagonist and her identity crisis: the cool girl self on the surface, and the scared and scary inner self that she hides. So we built a kind of basic hipster apartment and then started adding all these little unsettling touches — the lighting on the cabinet is really weird, the walls of the kitchen are painted almost black, the photo studio is this random white void, and everywhere are little hidden vices, secrets buried under this boho exterior.
Because the film is inherently so surreal, we wanted to use practical effects as much as possible in order to ground it. Luckily our art department kicked ass, and totally brought it, from building the cabinet itself to creating a gross dead snake out of tofu and eggplant.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Ugh, this one is so tough. Right now I’m going to say…Jaws.