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Q&A with Katia Mancuso, Director of “Feast on the Young”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen The Witch, and if you haven’t watched it please do, but I really felt and envied the liberation and freedom Thomasin felt at the end of the film. Even though she basically joined an evil cult of devil-worshipping witches, it was hard not to find her newfound freedom and power desirable in such an oppressive society.

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 can’t think of a past bad idea specifically because I usually cast them from my memory as soon as I think of them, but I find I have my worst ideas when I force myself to sit down and come up with ideas. I find I get my best ideas when I’m driving.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
I definitely feel part of a horror community when my film is a part of a horror film festival and I see all of the hardcore horror fans that attend. It makes me proud that I have contributed to horror in my filmmaking, especially when I love and admire so many horror films and filmmakers myself. I especially feel part of a horror community now that I am part of the ALTER filmmaker’s community!

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
For FOTY, apart from online browsing for fairytale/folklore stories and information, I really draw inspiration from visual stimuli. Looking at other people’s artwork, photography, paintings, drawings, and films of course, all help me visualize the world I am building. Video games are also great inspiration for world building and setting the right tone. A film that was a particular inspiration for this film was Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Well I would know not to step into a ring of mushrooms! And I would definitely know what to do if I somehow did. But then again, the fairies may be very convincing.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
I’m thinking of a horror version of Marvel’s Avengers: lead by Nosferatu and including Freddy Kreuger, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Pennywise, Samara, Carrie, Leatherface and the Alien Xenomorph. Hannibal Lecter would be the Nick Fury of the group. New franchise idea?

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy
Stephen King
A good combination of Practical and CGI
Pre Apocalypse

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I was lucky to have worked with a very talented Production Designer and Art Department team for my film. Our Art Director made the mushrooms out of resin, they looked so real! And our Props Master made the amazing illustrations in the fairy book that I had to use in the film’s end credits. I say the relatability of the props and sets is all in the details. The more the object blends into the world of the film, the more realistic it seems. If you want detail, get talented people to work in your Art Department, it’s so important.

What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
Cults freak me out, so any movie involving a cult will definitely scare me more than a ghost movie. There’s something so frightening and sinister about a group of people all wholeheartedly believing in something they believe is right when it is so, so wrong. There’s always that sense of real unease and eeriness in cult-centred horror films, which inspires me to try to bring that feeling into my horror storytelling and filmmaking.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
At the moment, it’s Hereditary. I am really loving the work of Ari Aster, and this film has such fantastic performances. It’s one of those films that’s scarier the more you watch it because you uncomfortably know and anticipate the disturbing horror that’s about to happen and notice scary new details in each frame.