Q&A with Brock Bodell & Daniel R. Perry, Directors of “Grief”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Dan: Jack Torrance

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?
Dan: One of my bad ideas was a vampire movie about these hillbilly vampires that live in a coal mine and are covered in soot, making them resistant to sunlight. For this particular bad one, I had to write 102 pages to realize it was bad. Now, I sleep on ideas and float them among friends before committing to write.
Brock: I considered making a ten minute film with a little girl running around her chaotic house with a pair of really sharp scissors. While I think the narrative and execution of this would have been kinda meh, it did speak to what I wanted to do with GRIEF. I wanted to evoke a feeling. And the girl running with the scissors was just a vehicle to do that. So it did kind of inspire GRIEF.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Dan: Yes, though I feel like somewhat of an outsider, I can still hang.
Brock: Well I’m on a couple horror message boards, I talk about horror regularly, and we’ve now played around at some of the top horror film festivals in the country – so at this point, I think we could claim that without anyone calling us imposters!

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Dan: I would like to say the answer to that question is my nightmares, but the truth is I find the most inspiration in just watching other horror movies.
Brock: I think atmosphere and tone are the first things that come to mind when I consider a world. What do you feel like when you’re in the world. So when I consider building a space for an audience/reader to live in, I tend to get inspiration from stuff that makes me feel a particular way. Whether that’s listening to “Grease” by Future Islands or watching the diner scene from Mulholland Drive (a large inspiration for this film) – I think the tone and atmosphere of both of those things create this kind of space in my mind that I try to mimic through some sort of vision. So a short version would be, I take inspiration from other pieces of art that make me truly feel something. The narrative, characters, and what’s actually being said are secondary to the feeling, maybe to a fault?

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Dan: I guess I would run, but because I know the ending I would probably give up on that pretty fast since there is no escape.
Brock: I’d be fucking terrified! That’s why we made it! But seriously, when I watch movies or listen to music, I get sucked in immediately (if it’s good). So when I make music or movies I try and make it something a viewer/listener can see themselves in. I mean that’s how you make people feel uneasy right? Them thinking about themselves in that scenario?

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Dan: I would recruit Freddy and Jason of course, then join them with a Xenomorph, Pennywise, The Thing and a Critter just for fun.
Brock: It all starts with Leatherface. Jesus christ what a terrifying behemoth. If I had a squad of five, it’d start with Leatherface busting down the door with brute force creating a pants-shitting atmosphere, follow up with Jason and Michael Meyers cleaning up the old-fashioned way. Then, just in case the victims are clever, I’d send in Freddy to handle clean up. Now, the most important part – Pinhead to come in and drop the final one-liner, “YOUR SUFFERING WILL BE LEGENDARY, EVEN IN HELL!”

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Dan: Freddy, SK, Practical, Pre-Apocalypse
Brock: Freddy, King by a millimeter, Practical (duh), Pre-Apocalypse, right before the shit hits the fan.

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
Dan: That’s a tough question since it could apply to production design as well as writing. I’ll just say that I try to imagine the world and focus on whatever fits into making that world work, to a minimal degree.

What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
Dan: What scares me most is the future in general. Since I don’t know what that is ultimately, I can’t say that it inspires me so much as fills me with a certain dread, that is arguably useful.
Brock: The dark. Home invasion. Home invasion in the dark. Absolutely. The feel of walking through even a familiar place, like your own home, but feeling like you’re in a strange place and someone is watching you. That was basically the impetus of GRIEF. Sure it’s about suffering, forgiving, guilt, resentment, acceptance, etc. But we put them in a glass house because of the vulnerability of going through that while someone watches on.
The thought of walking through a room or whatever while someone watches on, their eyes adjusted, while yours scramble to assimilate. Being that vulnerable in a place you’re supposed to feel safe. That’s what nightmares are made of.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Dan: I have many favorites, but from childhood A Nightmare On Elm Street still reigns supreme. It’s kind of like how these days I’m all about eating tacos, but pizza will always be my favorite.
Brock: The Sam Neill Trilogy™. In the Mouth of Madness, Possession (1981), Event Horizon