By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Many of your recent films—even as far back as A Vampire In Brooklyn—seem to exist in an ahistorical setting. In light of how New Nightmare suggests that movies continue a mythic tradition, are all of your films a direct reflection of the time when they were made?
All of them are direct responses to the contemporary world. [Last House On the Left] was reflecting on the Vietnam War: all the lies the government told us, the cravenness of fighting Communism, and breaking all the rules while pretending we're doing everything according to the rules. That's why we have a whole generation of Vietnam veterans trying to deal with the psychological consequences of what they had to endure in that war. Now it's the Gulf War and the war in Afghanistan, and that will be reflected in our contemporary Homeland–type dramas and Lone Survivor—and in horror films, too. All horror films are contemporary in that, while they may be set in Dracula's time, they are about the subtext in culture at the time. Vampires are huge now while we have a whole generation of brokers on Wall Street who shaped our economy. And zombies . . . I think people have a sense that we're sleepwalking through life.
Max Brooks has a new comic called The Extinction Parade that pits vampires against zombies as a kind of class warfare: The upper class preying on the middle class now have to face the consequences of their action—zombies. Can you think of a recent example of a film that really impressed you with how it reshapes the contemporary subtext you spoke of?
I'll give you an off-the-wall example: Her wasn't a horror film, but in a sense, it was. You see this troubled zombie-ism happening electronically, with not only an operating system taking over a character's life, but also everyone around him is talking to their OSes. [Laughs.] That's a very subtle horror film, when you start to realize that the very essence of human interconnectivity can be subverted by a parasitical operating system that feeds off human beings, and then just drops them. I think there's much less of a dividing line between horror and any kind of psychological drama because psychological dramas taps into something like the dream-world.
Are we ever going to find out what you contributed to Deep Throat?
I'd like to know myself! [Laughs.] I think I gave a quote to a documentary.
Inside Deep Throat.
Yeah. But I didn't work on that film. We might have been in a nearby studio, but that's about it.
What about working with [Friday the 13th director] Sean Cunningham on porn such as The Fireworks Woman?
[Laughs.] I might have directed that one. But apart from that one, I didn't make any others. But I might have directed that one.
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