Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
Jack Torrance, because all work and no play makes Parker a dull boy.
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?
Oh man, from where I’m sitting, they usually all feel like bad ideas! To get past the bad ideas and find the good ones, sometimes the best thing to do is exorcise them from my brain by either quickly writing a garbage first draft (if it’s a short) or putting together a loose outline (if it’s a feature/long form). Once it exists as something more tangible, it’s easier to see whether or not it’s working – and if it’s not, it makes it much easier to trash it and move on to something better.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
When your film is on a long festival run, you end up meeting a ton of other filmmakers on the circuit, and they’re each trying to push their own Sisyphean boulder up the same mountain as you, and you quickly bond over similar experiences, forming a sort of de facto community.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
I find that most often, what spooks me will spook others, so I tend to look inwards at what I find to be frightening, creepy, or unnerving. I try to place myself in my characters’ shoes and inhabit their world, and then ask myself: I have to peer into this dark room – what’s the absolute worst thing I might see grinning back at me?
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Well, the backpacker in The Hidebehind is already in a world of shit at the opening of the film – he’s lost, injured, and low on water and supplies. He’s desperate to find someone, anyone who can help. Even still, if it was me, there is just no way in hell I would approach a stranger hiding beneath a dirty blanket, standing motionless in the middle of the forest. NOPE.
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
I suppose that depends on what the squad is trying to accomplish. Pillage Constantinople? Launch a fast-casual restaurant chain? Let’s go with terrorizing my childhood. In that case: Freddy Kruger, because of his gleeful perverseness, and inescapability of sleep. The thing from The Thing, because of the potent cocktail of body horror and paranoia it induces. Annie Wilkes from Misery, because being prisoner to and at the mercy of someone like that feels like a scenario that could absolutely happen in the real world. And the face hugger from Alien because it’s basically all of my nightmares wrapped up into one horrible little spider body.
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy. King. Practical (though I’m a big proponent of combining the two). 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?
The Hidebehind was shot on location (and the scouting process for it is a whole other discussion). However, we did create some practical special effects from scratch. This involves having a very specific vision, finding or drawing references, and most importantly, working with collaborators who are super talented at plucking that vision out of your head and making it real.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
There are so many that I’m obsessed with for such different reasons. But fine, you’re going to make me choose one? The Shining. The story, the performances, the sets, the pitch-perfect unsettling vibe. It’s like Kubrick just has his finger in my brain.