HOR­ROR ORI­GINS

Di­rec­tor Matthew Hol­ness on the films that in­flu­enced his chill­ing de­but Pos­sum

Empire (UK) - - PREVIEW - John nu­gent

The Hands Of Or­lac (1924)

“The old si­lent Ger­man ex­pres­sion­ist films were very in­flu­en­tial. You’ve got these char­ac­ters deal­ing with an in­ex­press­ible emo­tional trauma. It was all in the vi­su­als. They’re not nec­es­sar­ily stat­ing what’s go­ing on in the char­ac­ter’s head, but you’re feel­ing it.”

Martin (1978)

“Ge­orge Romero’s Martin was a huge in­flu­ence — it was such a small, quiet hor­ror film. It’s about psy­chol­ogy more than any­thing else: that twisted, screwedup fam­ily unit play­ing out a mad­ness that’s hid­den away from the out­side view, and that claus­tro­pho­bic fam­ily in­san­ity, which I found very in­ter­est­ing.”

Don’t Look Now (1973)

“It’s one of those films which re­veals it­self, bit by bit. That was a real help. It [taught me] that you don’t have to bom­bard the au­di­ence with what it all means. You have to read be­tween the lines. That ed­i­to­rial style al­lows you to play with that. It’s all through one per­son’s point of view so it doesn’t have to make ra­tio­nal sense. It just has to make emo­tional sense.”

Magic (1978)

“Both Magic and Dead Of Night bril­liantly use that clas­sic hor­ror trope: the ven­tril­o­quist dummy that comes to life. They in­evitably al­ways end with the pup­peteer hav­ing a break­down. I felt Pos­sum needed some­thing dif­fer­ent. I thought it would be in­ter­est­ing if you took the pup­peteer at the point where they’ve bro­ken down, where most of those films end — and then start your story.” Pos­sum is in cin­e­mas from 26 oc­to­ber

Matthew Hol­ness spoke to Em­pire on 18 Au­gust, a week be­fore Pos­sum’s Fright­fest pre­miere. Play­ing pos­sum: Sean Har­ris stars as tor­mented pup­peteer Philip.

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