Q&A with Marten Carlson, Director of “Starlets”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
I would have to say that Eddie Jessup, the lead character in Altered States, is my Horror spirit animal. He’s kind of obsessive and stuck in his own brain, a feeling I can absolutely relate to. I also love Radish from Final Exam. He’s like an early version of Randy from Scream. He’s a huge fan of horror films, and he’s much more palatable than Randy.

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?
A while back, I had an idea where a necromancer/gardener called forth dead souls into house plants. It does not go well for his neighbors or him… I’ve learned that time is the best judge of whether an idea is good or not. I email myself when I have a movie idea, and I periodically read those emails .If one keeps interesting me, I try to tackle that next. I also have a group of brutally honest friends/readers. If they say something works, I usually believe them.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
There is a fantastic horror community here in Austin, Texas. It’s one of the main reasons I moved here. There is a huge scene of horror fans and filmmakers and, between the Alamo Drafthouse and AFS, there seems to be a horror screening every night. The horror filmmaking scene here in Austin is also very supportive. People help each other out.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
I watch a lot of movies. I like working on period pieces, so I usually watch films from that era. Together with my awesome director of photography, Andrew Baird, I watched 1950s films and contemporary films set in that era. That helped us decide on the look and feel we were going for with Starlets. I also listen to the music of that time, both popular hits and film scores. I pretty much listened to the Psycho and Vertigo scores on repeat while putting together Starlets.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Well, I would run away in the first 15 seconds. I am a complete chicken.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Michael Myers, the Hitchhiker from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Paul Naschy’s Wolf Man, and the Gill-man. Oh! And the Thing. Definitely.

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Jason. Stephen King without a doubt. Practical. Pre-Apocalypse!

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
The original Halloween is easily my favorite. After I saw that film at the age of 8, I turned my bed to face the closet. I was convinced Michael Myers lived in there.