2015: Sam Zimmerman’s Most Anticipated

As seen on Shock Til You Drop

2015 kicks in proper and we’re all back to work. So what do we have to look forward to? Movies. Between the holidays, I ran down the films I’ve been lucky enough to see already, and which I know will take many of you by storm this year. Here, you and I are in the same boat. What am I, as a horror fan, anticipating? Disregarding the films we’re not even aware of, I think the following is a tidy, diverse peek at the horrors ahead. 


• Crimson Peak

It seems horror hero and monster lover Guillermo del Toro is bringing the more intimate, personal stamp of his Spanish language films to his English language moviemaking. Described as a Gothic romance and ghost story, Crimson Peak has already revealed some of its stunning, windswept design. This might be a haunted house, and a haunted house movie, for the ages. (October 16th)


• Da Sweet Blood of Jesus

The incomparable Spike Lee remakes Bill Gunn’s experimental cult vampire oddity Ganja & Hess? Sounds amazing.

• Friday the 13th

Though there’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding it, it’s hard to forget there’s a newFriday the 13th film scheduled for release in 2015. We all know we’ll be there, whatever it ends up being. (November 13th)


• Green Room

Jeremy Saulnier’s beautiful, violent American revenge road tale Blue Ruin was one of the best films of 2014. Where does he go next? A punk show. Alongside Blue Ruinstar Macon Blair, as well as a killer cast including Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Mark Webber, Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart (as a neo-nazi), Saulnier is crafting a punks vs. skins thriller entitled Green Room. Yelchin leads a band who witnesses a murder and finds themselves trapped and under attack from a group of skinheads. I’ll headwalk to wherever it’s playing.


• High-Rise

Ben Wheatley—he of violent, visceral and darkly funny work like SightseersA Field in England and Kill List—has adapted J.G. Ballard’s seminal High-Rise, with a cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elisabeth Moss and Reece Shearsmith. Wheatley’s filmography, written with regular co-scripter Amy Jump, should make it apparent just how perfect this is.

lin shaye insidious 3

• Insidious: Chapter 3

Insidious: Chapter 2 did something special. It got kind of weird. Following the first’s nifty spin on a haunted tale, which included moving house and astral projection, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell upped the garish, colorful design, made the scares meaner and the plot stranger. Now Whannell, a horror mainstay for years, is poised to make his directorial debut with this third film, after penning the acclaimed The Mule and writing and co-starring in the upcoming Cooties (where he kills). As an introduction to the directorial vision of Whannell, Insidous: Chapter 3 (which acts as further adventures of Elise, Specs & Tucker) is already something to look forward to. As the next film in a series that distinctly hasn’t run its course, it’s one of the most anticipated. (June 5th)


Read Sam’s other 2015 notables here.

The 19 Best Horror Films Of 2014 – Buzzfeed

As seen on BuzzFeed

19. The Sacrament

19. The Sacrament

Magnolia Pictures

Directed by: Ti West
Written by: Ti West

It’s easy to feel weary of found footage horror: The success of the Paranormal Activity series ushered in a surplus of copycat films, most of which were — much like the majority of Paranormal Activity sequels — disappointing. But there are still a few worthwhile found footage tricks emerging, as evidenced by several entries on this list, starting with Ti West’s Jonestown Massacre-inspired The Sacrament. Vice reporter Sam (AJ Bowen) and his cameraman Jake (Joe Swanberg) follow Patrick (Kentucker Audley) to utopian community Eden Parish, where Patrick’s sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz) has fallen under the sway of a Jim Jones-esque religious leader who simply goes by Father (Gene Jones). The story largely proceeds how you’d expect it to, but the found footage format gives The Sacrament an urgency that makes the devolution into violence almost unbearably stressful to watch.

18. The Town That Dreaded Sundown

18. The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Orion Pictures

Directed by: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Written by: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

The original 1976 film The Town That Dreaded Sundown was based on actual murders that occurred in Texarkana, a town on the border of Texas and Arkansas. The 2014 version, produced by American Horror Story’s Ryan Murphy — and written and directed by his frequent collaborators — is equal parts sequel and remake. It’s a more meta take on the slasher film: Final Girl (Addison Timlin) is first attacked by the Phantom at Texarkana’s annual Halloween screening of The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The success of Gomez-Rejon’s pseudo-reboot is its ability to not get bogged down by its own cleverness. Central conceit aside, it’s a low-budget, no-frills slasher that is more effective for its restraint — much like the Phantom’s simple but terrifying disguise.

17. Willow Creek

17. Willow Creek

Dark Sky Films

Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
Written by: Bobcat Goldthwait

Another found-footage horror film, Willow Creek owes more to 1999’s The Blair Witch Project than to the more recent Paranormal Activity films. But really, it owes everything to the endlessly creative mind of Bobcat Goldthwait, whose career as a filmmaker has shown impressive range and a penchant for the darkest of dark comedy, including World’s Greatest Dad (2009) and God Bless America(2011). While the focus of Willow Creek is unique — the film tracks enthusiastic Bigfoot believer Jim (Bryce Johnson) and his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) as they search for the elusive crypto-hominid — it’s not as shocking as Goldthwait’s past efforts. Still, it offers real terror and some surprising humor that reflect the writer-director’s considerable skills.

16. Starry Eyes

16. Starry Eyes

Dark Sky Films

Directed by: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer
Written by: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer

The price of fame isn’t a particularly original notion, but Starry Eyes takes it to a riveting (and stomach-turning) new place. Aspiring actor Sarah (Alex Essoe) is desperate for her big break, and when she’s up for a part in the mysterious filmThe Silver Scream, she finds herself pushed to her limit: Her body deteriorates and she begins to transform into something unrecognizable. It’s an apt metaphor for the strain of trying to survive as an actor, and the rigors actors put themselves through — a deal with the devil, as it were. More to the point, it leads to some truly inspired body-horror gross-outs: There is a shower scene in particular that leaves a lasting impression, whether you want it to or not. The sheer power ofStarry Eyes’ imagery is what elevates it past the somewhat familiar Faustian plot.

15. Tusk

15. Tusk

A24 Films

Directed by: Kevin Smith
Written by: Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith’s last foray into horror, 2011’s Red State, was a surprising (and largely successful) diversion from his past (largely comedic) work. Tusk is firmly planted in the horror genre, but it has all the features of a Kevin Smith comedy: sharp dialogue, offbeat characters, exceptional weirdness, and unexpected poignancy. In Tusk, podcaster — and typical Smithian asshole — Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) is lured to Manitoba by eccentric retired seaman Howard Howe (Michael Parks). After being drugged and mutilated, Wallace realizes he’s being held captive by a lunatic who will stop at nothing until he has transformed Wallace into something inhuman. The grotesquerie of Tusk’s body-horror elements is grounded by strong performances from Long and Parks, as well as a script from Smith that isn’t afraid to mine humor from unimaginable suffering.

14. Nurse 3D

14. Nurse 3D


Directed by: Doug Aarniokoski
Written by: Doug Aarniokoski and David Loughery

Nurse 3D is largely about aesthetics: Inspired by photographer (and Lionsgate chief marketing officer) Tim Palen’s work, the film is basically a concept. But that concept — a homicidal nurse takes revenge on cheating men — gives the incomparable Paz de la Huerta free reign to be as freaky, naked, and bloody as she wants to be. The gruesome results don’t reinvent the slasher genre, and the plot — which revolves around the psychosexual manipulation of Danni Rodgers (Katrina Bowden) at the hands of de la Huerta’s Abby Russell — is very Single White Female, but de la Huerta thrives in the intersection of style and substance.Nurse 3D may not be high art — and with that title, that’s probably to be expected — but it’s still a relentlessly entertaining vehicle for its unique star.


Read the remaining entries here.

Has Found Footage Horror Entered a New Stage? 15 Years After ‘Blair Witch Project,’ ‘Afflicted’ Makes the Case

As seen on Indiewire.com.

Almost 15 years since “The Blair Witch Project” pretended to document an ill-fated journey into the woods, its impact is felt more deeply than ever.

Almost 15 years since “The Blair Witch Project” pretended to document an ill-fated journey into the woods, its impact is felt more deeply than ever. The found footage horror genre technically pre-dated the digital filmmaking boom by nearly two decades (with 1980’s “Cannibal Holocaust”) but the age of user-generated footage, when everyone with a smartphone has one trigger finger ready to hit record, has made the device too ubiquitous for its own good. The all-too-easy visceral jolt known as the jump scare populates countless tales of hapless protagonists making dumb decisions that usually culminate in their doom (and also crops up in countless YouTube pranks). At best, the economical storytelling device catches viewers off-guard by sneaking shock value into an innocuous storytelling device; at worst, it’s a lazy fallback used to rejuvenate formulaic narrative.

But “Afflicted” is moderately better than that. An uneven but effectively unnerving found footage horror entry opening this week about a pair of fun-loving vacationers who encounter dangerous, otherworldly forces, it illustrates the full cycle of evolution that the genre has endured since it first creeped us out.

Despite the breakout success of “Blair Witch,” it wasn’t until 2008 that found footage horror became fully co-opted by the mainstream. That year, the first “Paranormal Activity” movie screened at the Slamdance Film Festival and promptly secured a lucrative distribution deal with DreamWorks, immediately launching a franchise that has seen five instalments to date; the very same week that “Paranormal Activity” screened, Matt Reeves’ found footage monster movie “Cloverfield” dominated the box office. Both movies contained the usual blend of mockumentary ingredients with special effects that enhanced the dread predominantly because they looked so out of place in the shaky cam, homemade techniques.

Since then, the sequels to “Paranormal Activity” and the action-horror instalment “Chronicle” have continued to capitalize on the prospects of using CGI in the context of found footage. This has led to a noticeable shift from the “Blair Witch” tactic of leaving the darkest events up to our imaginations. Continue reading article here.

Seven Reasons Why Most Horror Directors Aren’t Reaching Crowdfunding Goals

As seen on Dread Central.

Even well known directors with high profile projects and fans who are loyal and generous are failing to meet their crowdfunding goals. Why? Jeff C. Stevenson offers up seven tips that all filmmakers should abide by before they consider crowdfunding their film.

Number 7:  Know the 30% rule. In crowdfunding, momentum is king—and key. That’s why you want to have your “base” behind you before you post the project. Stats show that if you launch and 30% of your goal is quickly pledged within the first week, you have a 90% chance of reaching your target. And this 30% comes from the contacts you’ve cultivated two months before your product was launched. So remember: Campaigns that obtain 30% of their goal within the first week are more likely to succeed.

What happens if you haven’t reached 30% of your goal in the first week? Do you continue on or pull the plug and start over? Stats show that depending on the platform used, it’s estimated that only 14% to 40% of crowdfunding efforts succeed in reaching their goals. So most fail, and if you do, you’re not alone. Try again—just be sure to follow the above seven guidelines, and you’ll have a much better chance at reaching your funding goals.

Read tips 1-6 here.

WYRMWOOD – Review By Greg Klymkiw – Canadian Premiere Toronto After Dark FF 2014

As seen on The Film Corner.

The new Australian living dead chiller-thrillerWyrmwood might, at first glance, look and feel like a derivative post-apocalyptic zombie picture, but there’s nothing run-of-the-mill about it. Constructed with solid craft, spewing globs of gallows humour, walloping your senses, well, uh, senseless with bowel-loosening jolts, inspiring cold-cocking scares that slide you to the edge of your seat and of course, offering up a kick-ass babe of the highest order, all adds up to a rollicking good time.

With plenty of loving homages to George Miller’s Mad Max pictures and George Romero, helmer Kiah Roache-Turner and his co-scribe Tristan Roache-Turner, serve up a white-knuckle roller coaster ride through the unyielding Australian bushland as a family man (who’s had to slaughter his family when they “turn” into zombies) and a ragtag group of tough guys, equip themselves with heavy-duty armour, armament and steely resolve to survive.

Blasting through hordes of flesh-eating slabs of viscous decay, they careen on a collision course with a group of Nazi-like government soldiers who are kidnapping both zombies and humans so a wing-nut scientist can perform brutal experiments upon them. The family man’s insanely well-built, athletic and gorgeous sister is nabbed by the fascist egghead which allows for a harrowing rescue attempt and a bevy of scenes involving our babe in lethal fighting mode.

The movie has two very cool variations on zombie lore – one, a way for humans to telepathically communicate with and subsequently control the zombies as well as the handy discovery that zombie blood can be used as petrol for their souped-up fighting truck.

Roache-Turner proves himself a formidable talent. He employs … read the full article here.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival: 2014 REVIEW: WYRMWOOD

As seen in Toronto Film Scene.

Wyrmwood isn’t your typical zombie film, and that’s putting it lightly. There are things here that you’ve never seen before, and probably never even thought of, and the end result is a teeth grinding masterpiece. Touches of Mad MaxDead Alive, and Evil Dead blend with a bloody road trip through this insane film.

Everything about this film, including the soundtrack, is madness. Things begin in a rather serious way, as we witness the outbreaks first victims, and it never slows down from there. The movie becomes increasingly crazy, with a pounding score and camera angles that leave you disoriented. There’s also a very dark sense of humour that begins to show up halfway through.

This is the kind of movie where you find yourself wanting to cheer every minute.

Read full review and watch trailer here.

Canadian Sorority Slasher Flick THE SCAREHOUSE Premieres Just In Time For Halloween

TSC Eyes 2


Coming off rave reviews of its Sneak Peek at Montreal HorrorFest last month, THE SCAREHOUSE hosts its theatrical World Premiere in Windsor, ON October 5, 2014. Tickets at Eventbrite.

Look for THE SCAREHOUSE on VOD and iTunes in CAN/US on October 21, 2014.

In THE SCAREHOUSE, “two friends open a Halloween fun house on Devil’s Night, an elaborate party for their former sorority sisters. As these six sisters arrive one by one, they are confronted by a troublesome past. When their hosts’ true intentions are revealed, everyone inside the Scarehouse will find out that, indeed, revenge is a bitch.”

Check out the official trailer:

[youtube id=”dl44rG-wGxA” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Last summer I asked lead actress Sarah Booth about the importance of the all-girl cast, what’s new for audiences in this film and all about the awesome kill scenes! Read the interview at http://bit.ly/tshinterview.

For immediate updates on THE SCAREHOUSE follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Official website at scarehousemovie.com


Demons and Murder and Scandal, Oh My: A girl’s guide to Hellions, a new film by Bruce McDonald

This Halloween, Whizbang Films and Storyteller Pictures bring audiences face-to-mask with director Bruce McDonald’s newest terror flick, HELLIONS. The film tells the story of Dora, a teen who must survive a hellish Halloween fighting pint-sized demons who stake claim on more than just delicious bags of candy. HELLIONS will haunt you for weeks, hammering home the old adage, “be careful what you wish for, it just might come true”.


The Kill Spot sat down with Chloe and Rachel to learn a little more about the movie through the eyes of the ladies who battle these malevolent masked creatures.

TKS: Great to meet you both. I know you’re in between takes, so I’ll get right to it! I describe HELLIONS as a mash up of THE WIZARD OF OZ meets TRICK ‘R TREAT meets ALIEN. These movies all feature strong, young, female protagonists. Who are some of your favourite heroines in film and did you draw on them for your characters?

Chloe: That’s a great question. I don’t think I’ve pulled on anyone specifically. I’d like to think Dora is a person of her own. I think that’s what makes her really interesting. She has no insecurities, she knows exactly who she is and she has no problem being exactly that. They’ve written an interesting teenager. Most teenagers are portrayed as subdued and quiet, or angsty, because they don’t know who they are yet, where Dora is angsty because she knows too much and is too intelligent for her own good. It’s kickass that the heroine has to kick butt and pull herself together.

TKS: What do you think the significance is of making the protagonist/heroine a teenage girl?

Chloe: The hellions are kind of reflections of Dora’s childhood. When Dora gets some life changing news, she really must face growing up even though she’s not ready to be an adult.  She experiences things as, you know, a girl, that guys just never will – physically, mentally, socially etc. It’s a poetic and intense coming of age story, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, with more blood and guts!

TKS: Rachel, my next question is for you. HELLIONS takes on the mother-daughter relationship. What resonates with you about motherhood and family as the subject of this film?

Rachel: When it comes to losing someone you love, a parent losing a child is the most devastating. There’s definitely the sense that if you add motherhood and family to any horror movie you’re raising the stakes. The things that happen to Dora are basically the worst things that you can imagine happening to your child, all coming true. That will really hit home for a lot of people.

TKS: This is a script written by a man and directed by a man but it features leading women. I am wondering how the collaboration with Bruce affected or shaped the female voice of the story.

Chloe: I mean, working with Bruce has been really interesting. He’s totally open to anyone else’s interpretation and ideas. I’ve said this a lot in interviews because it’s the only way I can describe it. He has this vision and then he takes everyone else’s ideas and he morphs them together. So I don’t think it tainted the idea of the woman protagonist.

Rachel: He’s very collaborative. He just did an amazing job. He strikes me as a person who has a lot of sensitivity so you’re not going into a film with a director who is super macho. I mean he’s a compassionate, warm, sensitive human being so he’s going to create a film that has all those elements.

Chloe: On top of being super cool at all times. Altogether, I don’t think they could have picked a better director for something like this.

TKS: Thanks so much guys, for sitting down with The Kill Spot.

Chloe and Rachel: Thanks Alison.

HELLIONS is written by Pascal Trottier (THE COLONY), directed by Bruce McDonald (PONTYPOOL, HARD CORE LOGO) and produced by Frank Siracusa (HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN) and Paul Lenart (HONOR CODE).

 You can stay up to date with the latest HELLIONS news on Twitter and Facebook.

And, be sure to check out the HELLIONS Video Contest! The contest is open to anyone with a scary video, up to two minutes long. The theme: Red. Submissions can take any form – a fake trailer, a scene from a horror script you’ve been writing, a short film – as long as they somehow connect to Red. Red like blood, red like hellfire, red like blind passion, red like Blood Moons on Halloween … use your wildest imagination. You have until February 28, 2014 to enter. For more details about the contest and/or to find out more about the film, visit hellionsmovie.com.

“Anger is part of my relation to the world”: An Interview with Claire Denis, By Kiva Reardon

As seen in Cleo.

Claire Denis has never shied away from monsters. While her work is described as sensual and erotic (both true), her films are never sentimental. They are complex, engaging with the fact that life, while often beautiful, is also harsh, cruel, and painful. This pain has been explored in relation to colonial history (Chocolat, 1988), the immigrant experience (No Fear, No Die, 1990), maturing adolescence (U.S. Go Home, 1994; Nenette and Boni, 1996), serial killers (I Can’t Sleep, 1994) and semi-cannibals (flesh is bitten, but never consumed inTrouble Every Day, 2001), sublimated homosexual desire (Beau Travail, 1999), mortality (Intruder, 2004), and back to that colonial experience again (White Material, 2009). She is interested in the grey areas, and eschews didactic, pointed narration in favour of suggestive imagery and sensation. Voiceover, while used, often complicates rather than explicates matters, offering glimpses into the rich interiority of her characters. As she says in the documentary Claire Denis, The Vagabond (1996): “I’m interested in the slice of humanity that surrounds a monster.”

Finding that slice of humanity is all but impossible in her latest film, Bastards (2013)A scathing indictment of contemporary France, late-stage capitalism, and feel-good film trends, Bastards is a severe and brutal film. The story follows Marco (Vincent Lindon), a seaman who returns to Paris when his brother-in-law commits suicide. There, he finds his family in ruins, both financially (their shoe company has gone bankrupt) and emotionally (his niece Justine, played by Lola Créton, has been sexually abused and is addicted to drugs). Upon discovering that a seedy financier, Eduard (Michel Subor), is to blame, Marco seeks revenge by seducing the man’s wife, the much younger Raphaëlle (Chiara Mastroianni).

Bastards is comprehensive in its bleakness. The graphic content (including not-so-subtle allusions to horrific sexual abuse) is matched by the overall grey tones. An alienating electronic soundtrack dominates, composed by longtime Denis collaborators Tindersticks, who eschew the warmth of past scores with droning synth. It is also one of her least thematically oblique films, all but over-determined in its near-Greek-tragedy qualities that suggest Marco, and all the players, are doomed from the outset. In a lesser director’s hands, such a well-trod tale of revenge and familial rot might succumb to cliché, but Denis’ familiar (and beautiful) elliptical touch remains. This touch, however, is not the same lush caress of prior works; the lingering shots of Lindon’s muscular back straining beneath a crisp white shirt or of the nape of Raphaëlle’s neck (an often relished body part in the Denis oeuvre) bespeak vulnerability rather than eroticism. Violation is the name of the game here, a fact established from the start with an image of Justine walking bloodied and nude down a dark street. This image loosely structures the film, coming up time and again as the narrative builds to its brutal conclusion: a video of Justine being raped. This sordid image is the film’s final, devastating blow. But it is the money shot we deserve. Because although Bastards seethes with anger, it is not the nihilistic kind. It is the kind of righteous, if not revolutionary, anger that forces us to face the monsters, removing us from comfortable cocoons of passivity, and leads us to engage with the world—in all its horror, despair, and beauty. Only those who do not are truly doomed.

cléo: So our next issue is on the theme of “doom”—

Claire Denis: Doomed?

cléo: Doom. This theme was decided upon well before I saw Bastards, but then I saw it and—

Denis: It is a very doomed film!

cléo: Yes. It works perfectly, but doom isn’t a new theme for you. You can see it in films like Trouble EverydayBeau TravailWhite Material. Here, however, it feels different in the sense that it’s angry—and I don’t mean that in a trite or reductive way.

Denis: No, it is angry. This is true. I was not aware of it when I was writing it, but I was full of anger. But it’s a sort of deep anger that I didn’t feel when I was shooting. Something came so naturally out of me, but with love for the characters. I must admit I was not angry at my characters. I was angry at something else, maybe the society I’m living in or what films keep selling. We’re in a world that is hard and violent, but there is redemption at the end and blah, blah, blah. But this is not true. It’s not true. But this is not new for me. When I was a teenager— and this shaped much of my life—I read William Faulkner. I found a vision of life that is made from blood and—the word in English… C’est comme “l’amour,” faire l’amour…un mot très biblique…fornication! Le sang et la fornication. [It is like “love”; to make love, but a more biblical term…fornication! Blood and fornication.] I was very young, but I realized it was true, that we are born from this. This can change in the process of life, but it remains.

cléo: That intersection of the erotic and blood or death has come up before in your work. Especially in Trouble Every Day. But there’s a beautiful sort of poetry of the violence in that film; here the eroticism is gone. It’s bleak.

Denis: Yeah, it’s true. Because Trouble Every Day was fun. It was fun to go that far together, although the scenes were painful. I remember, those two scenes [of Béatrice Dalle consuming a man mid-coitus and Vincent Gallo taking an act of cunnilingus too far], we were afraid shooting them, editing them, acting them. Bastards was bleak. We were doing something, knowing it was wrong. Because when Marco, the lead character, decides to make love to the neighbour [Raphaëlle], it’s not true love or desire—it’s through vengeance. Maybe a sort of love came with this, but at the beginning it’s almost hate, that action.

cléo: I wanted to talk about the film image in Bastards; the video of Justine being raped. Why include it?

Denis: I think it would have been weird to finish the film on Marco dead and not go back to the mother [Sandra, played by Julie Bataille]. Now she knows she has been blind, her daughter [Créton] is dead, she wants to see those images. I think it was fair. For me, it was fair that she would ask the doctor [played by Alex Descas] to be with her, because she was afraid, and the images belong in the film. And they were not terribly explicit. They were explicit, but it was in a blur. It was not showing too much.

cléo: Women bear the brunt of this film too. I wouldn’t say it’s punishment or victimization, but they bear the brunt of what happens.

Denis: Yes.

cléo: Can you talk about that choice? Why focus on mothers and daughters?

Denis: I think I focus on fathers. To be a father, like Marco is a father. And what happens when this kind of thing occurs between a daughter and a father. Because the daughter is not completely a victim of her father, she’s accepting it too. In a way—maybe I’m about to be completely crazy—when I was the age of a daughter I thought if I had a bad experience with sex, even though the man was brutal or ignorant or whatever, I always took it for granted that this was my problem. That this was the problem of women, to keep it for ourselves.On déplace le problème. [We shift the blame.] I remember when I was very young and coming home and thinking: “Well, this is my problem. There is nowhere I can go and complain.” There’s not a guiltiness of being a woman, but women deal with their bodies in a very complex way, a total way, a global way. Not like men. Men, they have a hard-on or not. The feeling of a woman is so much more complex, because she can pretend, she can fake, she can also be terrified and hate and not show it. I think to be a woman is a complete sexual experience in a way. And this makes everything more complex.

cléo: I love this idea of a complex sexuality. I find this sentiment comes across in your “Paris films,” if we can call them that, as it subverts the idea of Paris as “the city of love.” The way you use Paris in this film seems to do that—can you talk about how you used the city in Bastards?

Denis: It’s all the places I dislike! [Laughs] The building, the apartment—I’m afraid of that part of Paris. I have no commitment to that city. When I did I Can’t Sleep, I was showing a Paris with a serial killer, but it was the Paris I never grew up in but discovered as an adult. This film was bleak also. It doesn’t only mean “bourgeois.” Bourgeois sometimes means money, finding a nice penthouse. No, I wanted something like a tomb, for the apartment to look like a tomb.

cléo: We touched on this briefly, the idea of the film coming from this social anger. To me, this felt like a righteous anger towards late-stage capitalism. And this was said about White Material, that it was a “social problem film,” which was a considered shift for you. Do you see this film that way?

Denis: No, I did it genuinely. It was just in me. I would never say: “Claire, now it is time to make a social film, let’s get involved in social things!” No, I am living in a country, I am living my life. I’m filled with anger, I’m filled with regret, I’m filled with great memories, also poetic memories. But anger is part of my relation to the world.

cléo: I want to talk about the cinematic body and the way you use it. Bodies are used in a way in which the skin of the film becomes your own. Why does filming this way speak to you? …

Read full interview in Cleo Journal here.