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God Bless the Monsters

Posted on 2006.12.22 at 02:22
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I recently read a wonderful interview with the incredibly gifted director, Guillermo del Torro, creator of two "horror" movies that went beyond the cheap scares and not only got under my skin, but carved into my soul--"Chronos" and "The Devil's Backbone." The later film blew through me like a December breeze, and I shuddered, smiled, and wept at Del Torro's storytelling magic. In a word, these movies haunt me. His next film, "Pan's Labyrinth," opens at the end of this month, and received a twenty-minute standing ovation when it premiered at Cannes.

Here are two quotes from a recent interview he did with Bizarre magazine. The first encapsulates all that I love most about writing horror, and why I am drawn to dark, surreal themes. Like Del Torro, I love and aspire to express the "poetics of horror"--an approach Poe and Lovecraft embraced--as opposed to the slasher/torture films that dominate the box office.

"I love the visual coding of horror, but I don't like the jump scares. I like the idea of the pervasiveness of certain types of images. I like the fact you can have certain textures, sounds, surfaces and shapes that subliminally sink under your skin--if you're paying attention. A scary movie, as such, is more like an attention-deficit-syndrome type of movie that needs a different type of audience. Many people who like horror movies may not even get my movies, they may not think they're scary movies. Maybe that's because my movies are more interested in the poetics of horror than in the form."

Fucking up on your own terms. Keeping it honest, and why horror is better than sex:

"That's a secret magic I've never, ever lost...That primal lustre of still believing in purity and the state of grace that can be achieved by remaining true to yourself in the direst of circumstances. I think the moment you lose that, that's the moment you start to stumble without purpose, because before that you stumbled with a purpose. The golden rule I repeat over and over again is that art is not about being right, it's about fuckin' up on your own terms. That's the main reason my movies remain wide-eyed. But there's a second, very simple reason - the fuckin' monsters! You should get a boner every time you create a monster. And if you get that boner when you create that monster, God bless you, man!"

Bizarre Magazine online newsletter, 11-24-2006

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