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Q&A with Jerónimo Rocha, Director of “Arcana”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Harry from “Deconstructing Harry”.

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 don’t fight off the bad ideas, I let them sit for a while on the back of my mind and see how much they can withstand the test of time. Then I test them.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
I created several of the visual/narrative concepts for Motelx – Lisbon’s International Horror Film Festival – past editions. I believe that’s the closest I have to a Horror family, which is a great household to be a part of. I love the devotion and intelligence of a good horror film crowd; and I love to experience horror films in such company.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Lots of things… history, my own past experiences, travelling, art exhibitions, the theatre, they are great sources of inspiration for me. Most of the times, when I fall in love with a particular fragment of a concept, I have no idea what to do with it, and it usually takes time for it to grow into place.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
I’d probably close the circle of salt and return to my corner.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
The XENOMORPH from ALIEN would be the point man, with creature from IT FOLLOWS as backup. PAZUZU would coordinate from down there and, of course, HANNIBAL LECTER would provide the catering.

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

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
It depends on the project, but the props usually begin as thumbnails, art boards or concept boards that I or someone from the development team draws. Conceptually, I see them more as uncanny than unfamiliar, or “unheimliche” – as Freud christened it – something that you might recognise from deep within yourself despite being repulsed by it.

What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
I’ll never tell, and yes it does.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Alien.