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Q&A with Ben Steiner, Director of “The Stomach”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
I relate to Jack Torrance. I think every dad does!

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?
I’ve made a few shorts that didn’t turn out how I’d hoped. So, I suppose sometimes I get through bad ideas by making them! Having said that, my least successful short contained some of the ideas and atmosphere for one of my most successful, the comedy short CLANKER MAN from 2017. I think you’ve just got to take the mistakes in your stride, try not to let them dent your confidence too badly and just keep stepping over the bodies. But some ideas are just obviously bad from the outset and I just pretend they never happened!

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
I’ve made some great friends through my love of horror, both aficionados and filmmakers. But I don’t think I’ll ever get fully immersed in the horror community because… how shall I put this… I struggle to engage with a lot of horror. Most horror actually.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
I’m currently developing features of two of my shorts, so I suppose at the moment I look to my previous work for inspiration. But generally, things I’ve seen or read just sort of coalesce and suddenly an idea is happening. One of my weaknesses as an artist and one of my big regrets in life is that I don’t read enough, or in fact hardly at all. So, it’s weird that what very little I have read has exerted such a big influence over what I’ve made. BEYOND BLACK by Hilary Mantel and DEREK RAYMOND’s crime novels were huge influences on THE STOMACH. The other big influence was the 1964 movie SÉANCE ON A WET AFTERNOON. In general, aside from the few books I’ve read, my main inspirations are fine art (often Surrealist painting), TV and other films.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Kidnap Frank and plot world domination. He really can talk to the dead! Imagine what those powers could do in the right hands.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Leatherface’s family is hard to beat.

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy, Practical, Pre-Apocalypse. I haven’t read enough or King or Lovecraft to choose.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
The Shining. Every time. I literally ran out of the room when I first saw the twins. A friend described it as ‘holographic’ meaning totally immersive; a film you can step inside. I agree. There’s nothing like it. I LOVE that movie.