Q&A with Nicolas Hugon, Director of “Atomic Ed”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
The character who impressed me the most in horror cinema is Regan in “The Exorcist”.
Like many people, I was traumatized by the vision of this film whose nightmarish vision pursued me for a good part of my life. Probably because I discovered the film a little too young, at the age of 12, which was perhaps not a very good idea.
I had already seen horror films at this age but in this film, unlike the others, the character was anchored in the real world in a much more realistic style than the other horror films that I had already seen. So it’s my big trauma which, I think has influenced a lot of things in my life.

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 may be wrong, but I think that any idea even if it seems bad at the start can be interesting afterwards.
Besides, I don’t know if telling the story of a guy who fights against a creature with tennis rackets on which he added ice skate blades is a brilliant idea. In any case, it amused me to show it!

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
For the moment, I consider that I am just part of the community of fans of horror film although I am not very active on the various forums and pages of social networks

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
This is one of my favorite aspects: creating a universe that looks like me. For Atomic Ed, I went to draw on my memories of my youth, besides the film was shot in the neighborhood where I lived and where I was hanging out with my friends. I remixed this with the memories of the horror films we watched at the time: the Freddy, the Evil dead, the slashers …. And I wanted to put elements of arcade games to which were playing a lot at the time: the beat-them-all mainly which were an influence for the look of the biker gang but also for the look of the title, and certain atmospheres of the film.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
I think I would hide in a corner of each setting to observe what is happening there.
But I would stay hidden to prevent a creature from falling on me!

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
I think Trump is the ultimate villain, with Freddy and a few zombies in his army.

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
I always preferred Freddy to Jason, he is funnier and more inventive in his way of killing! Otherwise I feel closer to the literature of Stephen King, probably because he knew perfectly how to bring out the horror in stories close to what we live.
I still love Lovecraft which illustrates with great detail nightmarish visions that have marked me a lot.
Of course, I prefer the traditional practical special effects but we must not ignore CGI which can improve these and sometimes, but on the condition that they are invisible give life to images that would have been impossible to obtain otherwise . I think the ideal is a smart mix of the two.
We have seen so much post-apocalyptic film in recent years that I think that today it is more interesting to be interested in what is happening just before the end of our world.
And then, the news is there to provide us with a lot of inspiration.

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
I am a bad handyman, but also a bad designer. I have things in my head and I try to explain them as best I can to people who can understand my vision and who are good enough to give them life.
It goes through long discussions, pretty ugly diagrams that I draw and mood-boards.

What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
Since my trauma as an exorcist there haven’t been many things that have managed to scare me.
Things changed when I had a child! I find, through him, fears that I had not felt for a long time.
Childish fears of course and also fears of what the world will be like in which he will grow up.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
The exorcist of course, although I would never be able to watch it alone. Otherwise, there is The Shinning which also marked me and recently the two Ari Aster films I really liked!