Throughout the month of October, Audiences Everywhere will be publishing a series of interviews with renowned horror directors in which we will discuss current and upcoming films, and also get the artists’ take on the contemporary horror landscape. Next on the list, Kiah Roache-Turner, the director of the punk rock pre-apocalypse horror action film Wyrmwood.
Horror is an odd genre for me. Movies like Alien and The Thing are among my favorite movies period, but the genre always has a few entries on the “Worst of the Year” category. Once in a blue moon, the genre will get an adrenaline shot to the heart and remind me why I put up with cheap attempts at making some quick cash. Wyrmwood is one of those adrenaline shots. It’s a genre mashing absurdist approach to the zombie apocalypse. I could talk to Kiah Roache-Turner about his ideology on genres and movie making forever. Check it out:
AE: Who are some of your favorite up and coming directors in the horror genre?
KRT: Obviously Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. I love their first film and their second film, Spring, was just really intelligent and scary. Really everything you’d want in a horror film. Jennifer Kent who just did The Babadook. Although I don’t think she’s interested in doing more? I’d love to see another one from her too. I saw It Follows recently and thought I wasn’t going to like it. I almost wanted to dislike it because everyone else liked it. I thought, “Oh, this is going to be usual American stuff.” I was surprised. It was a very mature director with a soft touch. You can’t call James Wan up-and-coming but I love him and thought The Conjuring was fantastic. I saw the trailer for a Turkish film called Siccan 2 and the trailer just looks batshit good. Somebody in Turkey just showed us how it’s done. Lots of the great horror films I notice aren’t from the Western world. They’re from Turkey, and the Japanese filmmakers are great. The Ring and The Grudge are so good. There’s always good horror but it seems to be one of those genres that really breeds more directors every year.
AE: What do you want to see more of in new horror movies?
I want to see less of the haunted house stuff. Insidious was great. The Conjuring was great. We seem to be repeating ourselves now. I’d like to see someone make a ghost film that’s just different. Just try something else. A haunted tugboat, a haunted theme park, a haunted kettle. Anything. Just stop doing the haunted house film.
AE: Die Hard with ghosts?
KRT: Sure! Why not? Mix your genres. Somebody do a haunted space ship movie again. It’s been a while since Event Horizon. That’s what I loved about Spring. It’s a monster/romance film. That’s the problem with a haunted house film. It’s just a haunted house. I’d like to see a mediaeval horror film, though that’s harder with the costumes. Just don’t be lazy about it. Do something interesting and take me on a ride. It’s a bloated genre so I’d like to see people really pushing the boundaries and doing some imaginative stuff. Just go crazy. Back to Siccan 2, they pull out all the stops. You don’t want jump scares. Really try and create a world. That’s what I loved about the trailer for The Witch too. Did you see that one?
AE: I missed that one, but I’ve heard only good things.
KRT: It looks amazing because it’s just tone. It’s set in a 16th or 17th century village. Not only is it going to scare the shit out of you but it will put you in a world. And I love that. I’d like to see more of that stuff.
AE: My next question was “What horror trope do you think we could do away with?” but I guess the “haunted house” discussion covers that.
KRT: I think slashers are something else we need to do away with. Do a slasher film on a spaceship. Make it about a crazy woman wearing a mask rather than a big, musclebound dude. Do something different. That’s the thing about Wyrmwood; nobody wanted to see another zombie film. But when they see it they go “Oh it’s got science fiction, and powers…” There’s enough stuff in there to go “Okay I’ll watch this.” So if you’re going to do a slasher or haunted house film, please do it differently from the thousands of other ones coming out. Use your imagination. And please read more.
The problem is with filmmakers is they watch films and all the inspiration comes from film. If you like horror, go back and read a Stephen King novel, read Lovecraft, check out the original Dracula, Mary Shelley’s original Frankenstein. School yourself. These people have massive amounts of imagination but just because you’ve seen a couple horror films doesn’t mean you should write one.
I can’t really talk much, because I’m guilty of this too, but get a writer. Lots of writer/directors come out with standard writing. They might know directing but they might not know writing. They think about film and all their reference comes from films.
AE: Do you have a response to people who say there are no good horror movies today?
KRT: Yeah, slap them in the face. Look at The Babadook, Siccan 2, The Witch, and Spring. All these films coming out to lift the genre. It’s like when people say the zombie genre is over. It’s not over and it will never be over. Or people saying “Oh, superhero films are done.” No genre will ever be over. There will always be someone who comes along and makes something amazing. All it takes is a bit of imagination and a twist of an old trope. Beware anybody who tells you a genre is over. They’re just buzzword people and they don’t really know what’s going on. People said the painting was dead like 300 years ago and that was bullshit. Painting’s not dead and it never will be. The horror genre will never be dead as long as people are scared of something. People are more scared now than ever before because the world is a crazy place. Until you get rid of fear you won’t be able to do away with horror as a genre.
AE: Wow. That was awesome. Final question. What can we expect next from you?
KRT: I’m working on a weird R rated Ghostbusters meets Hellraiser meets Akira. It’s a mixed bag but basically it’s a ghost and demon movie like you’ve never seen before with huge lashings of science fiction. I’m on about my fourth draft right now. I thought about it a year and a half ago and I’ve just been writing and writing and re-writing for the last year. It’s getting to a place where this film is going to be pretty kickass. It’ll be out next year and I think it’ll be just as fun, if not more fun than, Wyrmwood.