Q&A with Yoni Weisberg, Director of “The Third Hand”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
There are an absolute ton, relatable characters in horror are what always make films absolutely sing for me. I guess I’ll go with TWO answers…
One – Amelia, the mother in The Babadook. Jennifer Kent’s film is amazing, and I personally find children both terrifying and stressful. So, I could immediately relate to all the anxiety in that film.
Two – Sam from Trick r’ Treat. The way he moves from story to story in that movie I always felt like in some ways he represented the horror fanbase and I really connected to that.

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?
Oh, wow. That is a tricky question. I think even the bad ideas sometimes spark something which can become great. No matter how BAD an idea is its always worth interrogating because I think it could still have some nuggets in there that you can take into the next idea you make. I have notebooks full of all the ideas I’ve had over the years and I think if I went through them, I’d laugh out loud at some of the ideas I thought were good, but might see something in the ideas I dismissed at the time. Side note – always have a notebook and pen in your pocket.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Absolutely. I think I’ll always be a fan first. The first film I ever picked out from the Blockbuster, at the age of 7, was Nightmare on Elm Street and since then I’ve been a big horror fan. I always look out for the next big thing that the community online is buzzing about. An important thing for me about that is that I’m always focused on making the kind of films I would want to see myself.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Dreams, good or bad, are often a great place to start. The best horror always takes reality and distorts it to the point where it feels absolutely familiar but there’s something not quite right and I think that is exactly what our dreams do.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Probably admire the glorious production design. Ha!
I am presuming I wake up alone, in place of the main character. I don’t think I would do well waking up in any horror film really. I have always thought of myself as a big scaredy-cat. And I think I would just immediately curl up in a ball and wait for it all to blow over.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
So I guess the aim of this is to build the most evil team, the Legion of Doom for monsters, right?
Freddy Kruger – I think he still might be the scariest guy out there. (Strictly NOES 1-7)
Hannibal Lector – he is the brains, the Lex Luthor of the group to continue my Legion of Doom analogy.
Xenomorph – simply unstoppable.
Catherine Keener’s character, Missy, from Get Out, she was so nice and then so terrifying.
I’ve done it like a 5-a-side team because that’s just immediately where my brain went.

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Practical – but good invisible CGI is a close second.
If pre-apocalypse means just set in the real world, or a version of our world, then I’d go for that. I always love Horror where you can easily slip into the shoes of the characters, and I think that’s best done in a reflection of our world.

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I’m not really the hands-on crafts man, it’s outside of my skillset – sadly. But I always look to work with people I trust to bring my vision to life, and also build on it – bringing their own ideas and making things grow beyond my own inspiration. For The Third Hand we worked with the amazing Shaune Harrison who has been involved in some huge film and it was a privilege to have him overseeing our prosthetics work.
Me and my cinematographer, James Watson, designed the set together and that was a really important part of the film. We had originally thought about shooting on location, but I really wanted to the location to feel like a character within the film and I think had I played it as straight down the line reality that would never have been possible.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
I can’t believe you are making me answer this…
So, I’m going to say The Thing. Because I think it is John Carpenter at his absolute best, some of the greatest practical effects of all time and everything else in the film is basically perfect.
But I could have listed at least 20 films here and felt pretty good about it.