R.H. Stavis is an award-winning writer who began her career creating the back story for the globally loved title, Tomb
Raider. Shortly after, she sold her first film to TriStar Pictures, and has been writing comics, videogames, television and film ever since: notably Something Monstrous! (with Steve Niles), Transformers: War for Cybertron (Activision), Adera: The Soul Stone (Microsoft), LIAR (Blumhouse).
Her most recent work is a best-selling memoir detailing her “other” life as “Hollywood’s premier exorcist” (Sister of Darkness, Harper Collins). It discusses how she became who she is – the person most trusted by rock icons and Oscar winners to cleanse the darkness that consumes them. Sister of Darkness is currently in development for television at FX with renowned director, actress, and executive producer Pamela Adlon.
Now, Rachel is heading into the world of directing, bringing her unique background and vision to the screen.
Q & A
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
We’re most like the Grady twins, ha! At least in filmmaking. We are almost exactly alike in our vision, which works out so well creatively. We can also accomplish quite a lot in a limited amount of time, so it’s very helpful.
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?
I know something is a good idea when I can’t stop thinking about it. It gets stuck in my head on loop, hangs out for a while, and begins to build upon itself. If it’s at that point, it’s worth pursuing.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Absolutely! And there’s no better community to be a part of!
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration
Art, art, and more art! And nature. So many amazing patterns and symmetry exist in nature, and to bring that into the look and feel of a film is just magic.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
I would absolutely be reevaluating everything I’ve ever done, ha!
Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
Literally all of the Cenobites. Badass and stylish!
Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
reddy! Lovecraft! Ugh… BOTH! Pre Apocalypse! (but the clothes seem way better post tbh)
How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
We bring on amazing production designers who somehow climb into our brains and make our thoughts a reality. It’s magic I think.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
As a real-life exorcist (yes, really!) very few things truly scare me. I’ve seen some THINGS. But – I think what people find truly terrifying is other people, and the unknown. With people, you never know what’s lurking in the mind – what’s about to unravel, why, and how. With the unknown, it’s everything. The lack of control, the lack of ability to prepare. Not knowing what’s on the other side is exhilarating and terrifying at once.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
The Changeling (George C. Scott). A perfect haunted house movie with a very cool backstory and of course, the acting, the setting. All amazing.