HOUSE OF THE DEVIL is an entertaining throwback to horror films of the 70's and 80's, about a lone babysitter who is hired by a creepy couple, who live in a very secluded house in the country. There's also a full lunar eclipse, which may have something to do with their eagerness to hire her...
I recently spoke with the film's director, Ti West, about his latest movie....
Q: Why did you decide to place the movie in the early 1980's, rather than present day?
Pretty much because in America, in the early 80's, there was this cultural phenomena called "Satanic Panic". From 1979-1984, there was this nationwide obsession with Satanic cults, perpetuated by talk show hosts like Geraldo and Phil Donahue. Today, no one thinks about that.
Q: I do remember people being concerned by that...
If you go to YouTube you can see the Geraldo clips...it's pretty amazing.
Q: This movie is much more serious than your previous, THE ROOST. Why did you decide to go in this direction?
Well, it's a case by case basic. In TRIGGERMAN, which I also directed, is also serious. I think each movie I do I tackle a different way. THE ROOST was certainly a lot more "Pulpy" and light-hearted than this was. I like serious horror.
Q: What is your favorite scene in HOUSE OF THE DEVIL.
I would say it's the "Goldfish scene", when she's talking to the goldfish. I have a special fondness for that.
Q: The house is a big part of this movie. How did you go about finding this location?
There were two location scouts in Connecticut that found it. I turned it down a whole bunch of times because in real life it's not creepy whatsoever. It's on a main road with lots of other houses. The reason I turned it down was because it seemed like so much work-- I'd be limited to what angles I'd be shooting from and also we'd have to gut the inside to make it look how we wanted it to. To the credit of the production designer, Jade Healy, it seems like the best decision ever.
Q: How was it working with actor Tom Noonan again, who was also in THE ROOST.
Tom and I like working together. He gave me a call and said he wanted to be in it. The first few days he was doing a bunch of scenes in which there was a lot of yelling. I hadn't seen him in a few years and it was strange seeing him doing that.
Q: It was great pairing him with actress Mary Waronov, as the old couple. They reminded me of the creepy old people from ROSEMARY'S BABY... and your main actress...the babysitter, how did you find her?
She was the only one who auditioned. Everyone else I knew. Jocelin came in the first day of auditions and I kept on making her come back, just because I knew she'd be going through the wringer. She was really into the movie and she was very intellectual about it. Really understood what I was doing with it and that it was a serious movie. I think she related to the character and really got it.
Q: This is a movie that you could do an interesting sequel to, that takes place in present day, particularly in how the movie ends.
Yeah, it's been brought up. I don't know what that story would be or how that story would be interesting to me, but it's definitely been brought up.
We're very fortunate to have Magnolia pick us up and everyone remembers LET THE RIGHT ONE IN last year and they are a truly good independent company to be with. And we're competing with huge movies out there, so everyone should go see it.
HOUSE OF THE DEVIL is currently available on VOD, Amazon, XBOX Liveand in selected theaters Oct 30th.