Q&A with Jamie Gyngell, Director of “4×6”
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Anne Wilkes, because we can all get a little obsessive sometimes. And there’s no need for any potty-mouth. Plus, it’s fun to say ‘cockadoody’.
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 fraudulent pet psychic gets more than they bargained for when the come across possessed chihuahua… Actually, maybe I need to revisit that…
A lot of ideas don’t go anywhere, you just keep hitting dead-ends. But with the good ideas, even if they don’t work straight away, they hang around in the back of your mind, demanding attention. Then maybe you come back to them, weeks or months later, with a fresh perspective, and hopefully it clicks. It’s not like it’s suddenly all laid out for you, but you can see that there’s a viable story there. Then you get to work.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
For sure! I follow a ton of horror-centric blogs and podcasts, and I love the online short story scene, like No Sleep and Creepy Pasta. Sadly, we didn’t get to go to any of the festivals with 4×6 last year, since they were all online, so I was really bummed not to meet the other filmmakers in person. Hopefully next time!
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
I’ll always try to watch films that are set in the same space, old or new. Then documentaries, non-fiction literature, photography and art. I try and immerse myself in that space and soak up as much as possible via osmosis. The deeper your understanding of the world your’e writing in, the richer and more detailed your depiction is going to be. You never know what tit-bit or factoid is going to germinate into something that propels your entire story.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Source some strong anti-anxiety meds.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Hannibal Lecter, Randall Flagg, Pennywise, Jack Torrence, John Ryder (The Hitcher), Patrick Bateman and Paimon… I just think they’d have a really fun time together. Good, up-beat energy.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
Source a load of reference imagery and create a massive inspiration doc. From there, work with a super talented art director—in this case, Dale Slater, who hand-made all of the collage pieces in the film.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
Isolation and abandonment, on the one hand, and toxic relationships on the other; though the two are definitely not mutually exclusive. There are few things scarier and more claustrophobic than a relationship you can’t leave… They’re not totally evident in 4×6, but they’re definitely themes I’m exploring in upcoming work.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Silence of the Lambs, for sure. It’s maybe not a ‘pure’ horror film, but it’s definitely the first truly gruesome film I ever watched, and it made a colossal impact on me. Every scene between Clarice and Hannibal Lecter is electric, and those close ups on Anthony Hopkins have to be among the best shots in cinematic history. I can watch that film over and over.