Ti West’s third (and a half) feature film, The House of the Devil, begins a limited theatrical this weekend. I’ve mentioned this film several times, for a variety of reasons, but I really hope folks see it on cable VOD (where it’s currently available) or in theaters. Not only because it’s a good film, and because Ti is a good person, but because independently-financed horror movies should be more than just Paranormal Activity. It’s hard for indie horror directors (Larry Fessenden, Adam Green, Simon Rumley, etc.) to get projects both made and then successfully released. Ti West has accomplished both for The House of the Devil, and now arthouse regulars need to embrace an arthouse fright flick. Don’t stick your nose in the air because it’s an English-language horror movie. It’s still a technically-proficient and smart indie film. To that point, smart indie film destination Hammer To Nail talks to Ti West about The House of the Devil in his second-best interview yet:
H2N: Did you storyboard? It feels like these shots were very calculated, and not in a showy way or anything. Did you plan things out to that extreme?
Ti West: I didn’t storyboard because I write, direct, edit, and I camera operate the movie. So for me to draw pictures is time that I don’t have, but I make these little lists that I keep in my pocket the whole time. It’s all very specific. I don’t just make it up as I go along. I have very specific shots that I want to do, and the scenes are all planned out to be shot a certain way. But I don’t actually do the drawings just because of the time crunch thing, so I make these little color-coded shot lists that I keep in my pocket and scratch them off as the day goes on.
H2N: How about Jocelin Donahue, who is just perfect for this role? Did you always have her in mind or did you find her while casting?
Ti West: She’s actually the only person I didn’t have in mind, because everyone else in the movie I had a relationship with. But Jocelin came in the first batch of people to audition. I brought her back like three or four times just to test her interest in the movie, and she was very intellectual about her understanding of the movie and she got that it was serious, that it was more of an art horror movie. She wasn’t a bimbo about it. That was really huge. And the fact that she related to the character and understood what I was going for and we got along well, it just made it a very easy decision. I knew we were gonna put her through hell so I wanted to make sure she was dedicated.