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Monday, April 27, 2015

From the Mouths of Horror Filmmakers: Nicholas McCarthy

Photo by Arthur Dix - ©2011 Arthur Dix

With the success of IT FOLLOWS and the recent discussions it has sparked about the number of original, critically-acclaimed indie horror films being released, I wanted to reach out to some of the most original voices in horror cinema to ask them a few questions about the state of horror cinema today and why they believe there has been a resurgence of sorts of great horror.

The responses below are from Nicholas McCarthy, writer/director of The Pact (Sundance Film Festival 2012) and At the Devil's Door (SXSW 2014).

Why do you believe there has been a surge of critically-acclaimed horror films recently like IT FOLLOWS, THE BABADOOK, YOU'RE NEXT, and others?

This century a new market opened up for horror, since more independent films were getting made and the genre is inherently commercial.   That led to a wider variety of genre films.  As that was all happening, horror made its way into the mainstream.  I think it was because of the internet - a lot of people who were into film got exposed to the genre's variety and depth of history beyond what they knew before.  The result is that horror is not as low class as it once was, so of course the reviews followed.  Personally as a fan of the genre I think it's great that all three of the films you listed are so incredibly different.  

What do you think the wide release of IT FOLLOWS means for future indie horror films, if anything?

I haven't read much about the release of IT FOLLOWS, but I do know they withheld VOD to build a theatrical audience, which is cool because it shows they were aiming for the mainstream with this eccentric movie.  Frankly, the teen sex angle probably has something to do with their confidence.  But the movie has a memorable horror hook which I'm sure resonates with a lot of the people who've seen it.  I'm not sure the push entirely financially paid off, but hopefully the higher profile of this somewhat offbeat genre film will inspire a few producers to trust writers and directors to take risks with their material.  

Why do you believe horror films are important to cinema as a whole?

I think to appreciate horror is to appreciate that which the cinema can do best.  And Westerns are kind of dead now, so horror is nearly the last genre standing.  These kinds of stories after all are the ones that will be around when we've long since disappeared.  It'll be left for the aliens to figure us out on the basis of them.

What's your favorite horror movie?

I'm going with Hammer's Dracula (1958).

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