The drawing that JLB uses to represent himself on Skype … I always find myself looking into his eyes.
Another wonderful “looking at the flame” moment, one of the people who worked on the film, and they’ve asked to remain anonymous, a couple days into shooting they sat down with me at the breakfast table like, “Hey, what’s your relationship with Creepypasta?” And I said, “Well, I’ve read my fair share and I’m making a movie about it,” and this person said “When I was in high school, I would draw them.” And this person is actually the anonymous creator of one of the most famous Creepypastas, which is that drawing, which is called “Unwanted Houseguest.” Which sort of saturated on the internet in a way similar to the other Creepypastas that this movie is drawn from.
I’m curious what horror means to you, as you were writing stories online as a teenager, and now you have bits of body horror in your film. Are you thinking about horror as something you want to be part of your expression as a filmmaker?
Yeah, I think it’s always going to be a paint on the paintbrush, at the very least. I think with this film in particular, and a lot of the works I’m interested in making, the relationship will continue to be not exactly straightforward. I think I’m really interested in the question of “What is horror?” Does “Mulholland Drive” get that tag? Does “Videodrome”? I think a lot of my favorite films are interested in dark tones. And with Lynch especially, I think the way he plays with genres is so fascinating. I think about how “Lost Highway” is so consciously riffing on horror in certain moments, and then will also have this really complicated relationship with gangster pictures. It feels like it’s not interested in skewing into one genre, but of borrowing and understanding the power of various genres. The way you can smush them together, to elicit responses from audiences.
And I think my film is interested in that, like Lynch’s work, this sort of spectrum of performance. The body horror moment in my film in a shower, is something that I do know people wince at, but is also something I didn’t want to feel like the most realistic moment in the film. To me, that section in the film is all about challenging your perception of how real anything that’s happening in the film is. When we return to Casey and she starts living or performing or being possessed by what feels like this visceral scary things, there might be a voice in the back of our head that might say, “Wait, but I just saw this kid get pulled into a computer by a ghost, I’m sure that wasn’t real.”