Q&A with Hunter Stiebel, Director of “BNB”
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
“Freddy Krueger Mom!” I grew up in New York City so no matter how calm I may appear, know that my true self is usually a neurotic scaredy cat. The way I’ve dealt with my fear has always been through humor. If I’m in a doctors office and a big needle comes out, have no doubt I’m going to start cracking jokes. Up until I was ten years old I was horrified by horror films. Then I discovered the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (I think The Dream Warriors was my first). Instead of being a dark monster, Freddy was a wise cracking comedian …who happened to murder children in their sleep. He was just as bad if not worse when he was alive. But hey, somewhere along the line he developed a solid sense of humor that he liked to pepper into his fear mongering and I always appreciated that.
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?
Cops who break into rap while attempting to de-escalate a domestic dispute between a human married to a zombie comes to mind. (Honestly, As crap-tacular as it may be, I would still love to watch that).
Even in the bad ideas there’s something of interest in there. If there wasn’t you wouldn’t have bothered thinking of it. But taking anything from an idea to fruition is a lot of work. The good idea is something that speaks to you so strongly that you say,“Not only is this worth a lot of my time, I’m confident enough to attempt to convince others that it will bring them joy to create it with me.”
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
I hope so as I admire so many artists in it. We’re all folks who look at the world just sliiiightly differently than the average bear. Participating with bnb at genre film festivals like FilmQuest and Screamfest was so freaking cool. I think the filmmakers in the horror community are some of the most creative, kind, and genuine people I’ve met in the industry.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
My life. My mind wanders a lot. Remember that neurotic scaredy cat I was talking about.
The inspiration for my film bnb came during my first stay at an Airbnb. My now wife and I were staying in my hometown of New York City to visit friends. My family has since moved so we decided to stay at a hotel but because of the cost of New York we chose a room at an airbnb. I thought I would be fine with it, but when we arrived at night all that quickly changed. We had to let ourselves in via an email which said where the key was hidden and my imagination immediately started to wonder. We entered a dark house, followed a dark hall past closed doors to an open door with an illuminated room. Were our hosts home? Was this definitely our room? The room felt like a haven, everywhere else begged questions from whether I could just leave my toiletries in the shared bathroom to whether or not there was a murderer behind a closed door.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Get the hell out of there …and then leave that airbnb rental a 1 star review.
In that order. Take the time to leave the review while still in the house, and every horror fan knows you’re as good as dead.
If I got into a fight or debate with someone after we watched your movie, what would it be about?
How much does a person’s online reputation matter?
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy obviously. Take out the whole murderer thing and who would you rather have a beer with?
Stephen King- I’m a slow reader but pages turn quickly with Mr. King.
Practical. CGI has no soul. Practical is ALL soul.
Post- Wait, aren’t we currently living in the Post Apocalypse or is this just the trailer?
What was your favorite prop or fx that you created?
My favorite trick we did was getting the toilet to flood. Our production designer Lucy Wolf lined the toilet seat with punctured tubing. The tubing attached to a big water bottle. She then lay in the bathtub and squeezed the bottled over and over. Tada! We have a flooding toilet.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
Everything. Everything scares me if I let my mind go in that direction. You can either let fear make you smaller and hide from the world or accept it, enjoy the scare, and play with it. Storytelling is how I give my fears a purpose. It’s my favorite way to exercise the demons and out of the darkness comes light (I’m super deep right now).
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Aw com’n Ghostface, I know if I pick any movie besides Scream you’re gonna get all pouty, tell me you’re not offended, and then totally stab me when I turn to leave. So I’m going to give you my favorite scary anything: Every episode of the original Twilight Zone. I still remember screaming for my mommy when Shatner saw that monster on the wing of the plane.