Q&A with Danny Stack, Director of “Origin”
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
It’s got to be Father Karras in The Exorcist. His anguish of faith, his guilt over his mum, his commitment to helping the Macneil’s rid themselves of their demonic torture – the guy struggles but gives it his all. It’s why The Exorcist is a compelling character drama just as much as it is an excellent horror.
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?
When I started out, I wrote a script about a banshee, the Irish legend of a wailing spirit who warns of impending death. At the time, I thought it was genius, and set it in modern day – even more genius! I managed to get some interest in it, had a few meetings, potential option/development. But then I realised the script was pretty derivative stuff. There’s some OK ideas and characters in the script, but overall it was a good lesson in getting past cliché and unearthing more original stories for me to pursue.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
I have a few writer friends who are die-hard horror fans. They’ve achieved their own success with their scripts and projects, so that’s a constant inspiration, plus it’s a good way for me to check in with them about my own work, to see if it matches or surpasses (or disappoints) their horror expectations.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
Ideas usually come first. A catchy title, an interesting concept, maybe some good horror moment ideas, too. But it’s the characters and world of the story that’s the hardest to develop, and that’s what I’ll spend most of my time on. My favourite horrors have strong and complex characters at their heart (e.g. The Shining, Don’t Look Now, The Exorcist, Let The Right One In), so it’s that type of supernatural thriller I lean towards rather than gory horror.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
I’d feel an immediate sense of dread, that something very bad is about to happen. But I’d want to stick around and help others in the story/film, as I wouldn’t want them to suffer their horrible fate alone.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Father Karras as the troubled but reliable leader, Jack Torrance for some deranged muscle, Freddy Krueger as the wild card who wants to have fun, and Hilary Mason (the blind psychic from Don’t Look Now) for helpful insight.
Freddy or Jason? Freddy.
Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Stephen King.
Practical or CGI? Practical.
Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse? Post Apocalypse.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
Don’t Look Now