Q&A with Jonathan Hammond, Director of “Kathy”
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
I don’t think I relate to a horror character so much as the sense of anticipation and slow-burn revelation that so many masters utilize that excites me. That life is literally on the line and the thing we root for. Also, I love the how horror can discuss societal unease in a way standard conversation never really can.
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?
Well I feel that is the trick! You have a good idea you expand upon it. My writing is everything and the kitchen sink- for every ten pages you will have one good page there, so you carve it down to the one- and then you carve some more.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Absolutely. Some of my happiest memories were reading Stephen King as a child, watching what horror films I could (I wasn’t allowed to watch R-rated films with the exception, inexplicably of ALIEN or those that were censored for network television). Thank God Jaws and Poltergeist were rated PG. There is literally no greater joy than watching a well-made horror film- it’s pure cinema and a thrill.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
It totally depends on the story at hand. For Kathy, because the premise- which is stranger than fiction, I felt the only way to tell it was to be self-aware. Like, we know this is absurd and so we are going to embrace it and let the funny just be funny. Everything I do is tinged with absurdity anyway as it’s my sensibility. This was my first, “horror,” short and I just wanted to embrace all of the films and tropes that I love and pay them homage. I wanted it to feel slightly like a fever dream, that this was all happening in the boy’s house, so I the look is definitely a nod to Suspiria. There are also obvious nods to The Shining, Todd Hayne’s Safe, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Exorcist, Night of the Hunter, Carrie, Halloween and most definitely The 400 Blows- which isn’t a horror film, but it’s definitely horrifying.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
There are aspects of this I woke up every day to as an adolescence.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
I think the horror films I most admire play it close to reality, and I would not want any of those people hanging out, lol.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddie, because I love puns.
Stephen King because his output is so much more prolific- and you have some pretty Lovecraftian stories in the mix.
Practical- 100 percent.
Post-Apocalyptic film and literature has produced some of my favorites but I hope I don’t ever have to really choose.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
I am going to answer this question literally and that’s real life. Especially now. I feel like it’s one giant horror movie but not the kind you go to for escape or for fun. As I type this, my city is on fire with the Fed-Up Riots and I have no idea how any of this is going to end. But that is also the kind of ending I love- an ambiguous one- because that’s life, that’s reality.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
If I had to pick just one, I would have to say The Shining because I think it’s nearly perfect. Rosemary’s Baby is close behind. And the first two Alien films. I also really, really love 28 Days Later.