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Q&A with Andrew Marks, Director of “Electromagnetic”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?

Ash from Evil Dead 2 comes to mind. The guy is just trying to go on a relaxing vacation, and before he knows it, taxidermied wall ornaments are hysterically laughing all around him. And of course an evil spirit takes over his body. Ash seems not to take anything too seriously and has a pretty positive attitude through all the craziness.

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?

Even the ideas that don’t work initially can be beneficial. By exploring a variety of concepts I’ve definitely evolved as a storyteller and sharpened my voice. It’s more enjoyable to go with the spark of excitement and read it later with fresh eyes to see if it’s worth pursuing. Some quickly form into a full script, while others go into the shed to use down the road.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?

Yeah, for sure. I can talk shop all week about horror.  Been reading Fango since I was 12.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?

I’m big into gallery and museum art. I also eat up books, comics, science and political articles. Anything that keeps my mind fresh. Because I direct I place a lot of importance on the visuals while I’m writing. Once I have the overarching plot on paper, I’ll start storyboarding scenes. As the core elements solidify, I’ll do a deep dive into specific image searches to pull references. Then I’ll collect the world into a visual document to show along with the script.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?

I feel like it’s happened a few times already. Just remind yourself it’s only a movie?

Lightning round:

Freddy or Jason?

Freddy from the first Wes Craven film. 

Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft?

Richard Bachman

Practical or CGI?

Practical with CGI clean up.

Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?

80s post apocalypse films – Def Con 4 is a fav.

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?

In the case of ‘Electromagnetic’ audio technology has evolved so much in a short period of time, that a lot of amazing industrial design has gotten buried. I wanted to use vintage equipment that feels otherworldly, yet real. So we kept a recognizable world, but skewing it a bit. I love what David Cronenberg and Carol Spier did with the teleportation pods in ‘The Fly’. To find out many years later it evolved from a Ducati motorcycle engine was inspiring. Creating a unique prop is a satisfying way to add tactile layers of subtext.

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’

Andrei Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’.  It has a slow burn shock that lets the viewer come to their own understanding of the situation. Additionally, it addresses the mental effects of confronting the unknown. I had a similar reaction to the last shot in ‘The Shining’. Chills ran through my body. ‘Stalker’ is just one of many favorites. A lot of it has to do with the circumstances of seeing the film. I remember my father calling me on the phone to tell me he just saw the scariest film ever. That was 1982 and the film was ‘The Thing’. Then years later getting to watch it with him on VHS was a thrill.  I also love Lamberto Bava’s ‘Demons’. It was the first X rated horror film I saw in the theater. That was before NC-17. I think I was 7 and my editor / brother David was 4. I saw it more recently at the New Beverly, and it felt the same decades later.