Welcome to my secret discussion of horror, the most maligned genre in film beside porn.
When I first came up with the scenario for HABIT in 1980, the most recent vampire movie had been John Badham's DRACULA with Frank Langella as the Count.
I wanted to make a movie that would use the vampire lore as a metaphor to explore love and lust, friendships and addiction. And to play out all the realistic, confusing, and lonely feelings of being drained by illness or despair. Finally, I wanted to say something about how violence and evil can creep into everyday life unnoticed, unexpected. I wanted to wrap these themes in the vampire genre because there is saftey and tradition and metaphor there.
What I like about horror movies in general is that combination of metaphor and heightened reality. The focus on fear, the most potent and influential of human emotions, draws attention to the elemental forces at work in life's interactions. As a result, Horror possesses a certain psychological rawness not found in other genres.
Horror also suggests a world unknown, which at least opens the mind to spiritual issues. There is an aesthetic in that, an aesthetic of mystery, darkness, but also of transcendance. My interest is to bring that aesthetic--the gothic aesthetic--into the everyday modern scenario, and also to use the genre to reflect current philosophical and social concerns.
I tried to do that with NO TELLING, my "eco-horror" flick, which was dubbed THE FRANKENSTEIN COMPLEX for foreign distribution. It borrows from all the Frankenstein movies to look at science and ambition, a faltering relationship, and what we mean by "progress."
Recently, horror movies have fetishized serial killers and clinically gruesome effects, as we become possessed by the arbitrariness of violence and our ability to recreate it in the movies. This is a slump. But the genre can rise again from the proverbial grave.
Read THE MONSTER SHOW; A CULTURAL HISTORY OF HORROR by David J Skal (W. W. Norton) to grasp and enjoy the subversive nature of horror films since the beginning of film history.
And keep an eye out for a theatrical run of the third film in my TRILOGY OF HORROR. It's called WENDIGO. Told from the point of view of an eight-year-old boy, it is my definitive statement on the need for fantasy and myth, to help us cope with the real horrors of existential meaninglessness.