There’s a great little horror flick opening this weekend that I wish could generate the Paranormal Activity-level hype, but that won’t happen. A crying shame, though, because Ti West‘s The House of the Devil has an incredible amount of replay value. I’ve watched it three time through my DVD screener over the last couple of weeks, and, if my weekend schedule permits, I’ll catch it on a bigger screen. It’s being dubbed into the same designation as films like Hatchet and My Bloody Valentine 3-D, intentionally-made throwbacks to 1980s-era horror, but in this case that label is a bit unfair; West’s film (about a money-hungry babysitter’s unexpected encounter with Satanism) literally feels like a film made 20-some-odd years ago, right down to the smallest production design details (old Coca Cola cups….check).
For Critics Notebook, I chatted with West about the film and other horror/cinema head areas of interest. Definitely one of my favorites interviews in close memory; the guy has an engaging motormouth, giving answers you know he’s said in one form or another during his recent press run with the vigor of a first-time interview. He’s gotten somewhat of a bad wrap lately, due to some drama over his self-imposed exiting of Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, with reports calling him everything from “arrogant” to a basic prima donna. During our discussion, though, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. After the jump, I’ve posted his post-game thoughts about that Cabin Fever 2 dilemma; see for yourself if he sounds bitchy or not.
Here’s the link to my kind-of-epic-in-length Critics Notebook feature on Mr. West:
After the jump, parts of the interview that didn’t make the CN piece:
“[Cabin Fever 2] was an incredibly phenomenal experience up until it turned into the not-so-good experience. And it didn’t turn bad until we were almost done editing the movie, and then the reality was that they [Lionsgate] wanted something different. Everyone was on the same page up until that point. They just changed their minds. The reality is, they had good intentions; they’re not assholes. They just wanted to do what they thought would be best for the movie, but I didn’t agree with them, and I had no interest in helping them do that. I just sort of quit that movie. I thought, ‘I’ll get the Alan Smithey credit and whatever,’ but these days you can’t enforce your own Alan Smithey credit; the producers have to say ‘Okay’ to it, and then they can’t take my name off the movie because it makes the movie seem like a problem. So, my name unfortunately is stuck on the movie. Again, I don’t dislike them, but that’s a movie made by the editors, the producers and the executives; it’s not made by me. If you like the movie, you can’t totally credit me. I was there when we shot the footage, but, like, the edit, the way it’s put together and the sound and music, I wasn’t there for any of that. That movie isn’t really my movie. I can’t take the credit if you like it, but I also can’t take the blame if you don’t.”
Have you seen the finished product? “Umm, probably not 100% finished, but I saw an almost-done version like a year ago.They reshot an ending and I didn’t see that. It’s a bummer. It’s one of those situations where I tried my best to resolve it in the way that I wanted to, but I couldn’t. So the only thing I can do now is just be like, ‘Ahh, fuck it.'”
Makes perfect sense. Do you have anything lined up now? New projects? I know I’ve read that you’re attached to The Haunting in Georgia, a sort-of-sequel to The Haunting in Connecticut. “Yeah, I got a couple things actually. We’re putting out a web series that I did, that comes out on October 26 on IFC. They’ve been really awesome. That’s called Dead and Lonely, and it’s a little five-part series about people who use online dating websites to find their victims. I’m psyched about that. That’s the immediate next. And then I have another thing that may or may not be happening that I’m kind of excited about, but we’ll see; I’m afraid to jinx that. And then, yeah, I’m attached to the Georgia thing, which is a haunted house movie, so, ‘Hey, get the guy who did that House movie.’ But, to me, it’s the family dynamic and the family drama in that movie that’s really interesting, but then, yeah, there’s some spooky stuff, as well.”
Is that still moving forward? “It’s moving forward. We’re just working on the script and everything.”
Gotcha. “But, they want to shoot it in some place that’s freezing, so we have to wait until it’s warmer. Like, they want to shoot it in Canada, which is where they make all their movies, but you can’t shoot in Canada from now until March because it’s all snow. To me, this movie is way more like The Shining. It’s more about the family dynamic and the family’s strain on each other. There is the scary stuff, but what excites me about that movie is that I’ve never made a movie about adults with children, and that’s what’s interesting to me.”
Head on over to Critics Notebook for the complete feature. [Link above]