Kyle Mangione-Smith

Kyle Mangione-Smith is a Los Angeles based writer, director, and photographer. He graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Visual Media Arts and has previously had work shown at Nightstream, the Boston Underground Film Festival, Blow-Up Arthouse International Film Festival, and more.

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Alter Films

A Family Affair

Q & A

Name a Sci-Fi or Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?

Sally from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. To me the dinner table scene in that movie and how she's presented within it does a better job of capturing what it's like living in America than any other movie I can think of.

Do you consider yourself part of the sci-fi or horror community?

Absolutely, I can't remember a single moment in my life where I didn't love horror. Even back as a super little kid when my parents wouldn't let me watch anything I'd try and find ways to anyways just cause I was so curious. I watched The Shining for the first time when I was like 10 on some shady illegal streaming website, and it was pretty clear from that moment forward that trying to make something like that movie was all I could really ever see myself doing with my life. I don't see that ever changing.

When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?

I take inspiration from all over the place, so much so that it's difficult for me to really answer that question in a satisfying way. I'm also a photographer, and photography is very frequently a big point of inspiration for me, especially street and documentary photography (that was a huge reference point for the scrapbook prop in this film). Digging through antique stores and finding bizarre relics of the past is a big one too. Beyond that, I'm a firm believer in looking for ideas in art that's considered trash in a critical sense or by the wider culture. John Waters had it all figured out when it comes to 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?

Most of my bad ideas come from trying to be too direct about what it is I'm trying to do or say rather than letting things evolve organically. I'm not someone who has much interest in making art explicitly about my life experiences, my immediate communities, my opinions or politics. Much of the time those things do naturally arise through the creative process, but whenever I try to use them as a starting point it comes off forced. My good ideas are all ones where it's hard for me to put into words what exactly it is about them that resonates with me.

If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?

The setting, environment, and atmosphere is typically the first thing that comes to me with any project, and a lot of what drives me as a filmmaker is actually being able to experience these worlds I come up with in a tangible way. So in that sense, part of me would love being able to actually live in the world of the film and experience it first hand, though it's hard for me to say I'd want to interact with most of the people that inhabit it!

Who would be in your ultimate sci-fi or horror villain squad?

I would love to see Leatherface against a horde of the rabies zombies from [REC] simply because I think watching everyone involved running full speed while it's happening would be pretty funny in a sort of vaudeville way. I'll let the reader decide who's the good guy and who's the bad guy in that situation.

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

Probably the only acceptable answer: Texas Chainsaw!

Freddy or Jason? Lovecraft or King? Practical or SFX? Pre or Post Apocalypse?

Freddy, Lovecraft, practical, pre apocalypse