Director Rob Savage has been a celebrated indie horror filmmaker. But now, he’s made his first studio-backed horror film The Boogeyman and it’s backed up by Disney. To add to the pedigree, it’s an adaptation of Stephen King’s popular short story. Those who’ve seen this intense horror flick have come out impressed and spooked in equal measure. Savage explains the fear of the unknown and he also chooses between horror masters like David Cronenberg, Sam Raimi and more.
What compelled you to take the Stephen King short story and turn it into a big screen experience with The Boogeyman?
I remembered reading it as a kid and it really messed me up. I read it far too young, probably when I was about the same age as our youngest character in the movie. And I felt like, if I could make audiences feel like I felt as a little kid, being terrified in my bedroom, of the dark closet and what's under my bed, then that might be something worth doing. And doing it under the banner of a Stephen King title, doing the definitive take on The Boogeyman was special. There've been 600 Boogeyman movies made, but to try and make a really iconic one felt like… I felt like if we could pull that off, that'd be special.
As a kid, what spooked you more? Was it the dark closet? Was it the unknown under the bed? Or was it the ghastly basement?
It was probably what was under my bed. I always felt, if my arm or my leg was off the bed, something was going to grab it from underneath the bed. That was my biggest fear as a kid. If the blanket ever went off my foot, and my foot was exposed to the room, that something was going to take me.
Rob Savage Talks About The HORROR Of The Boogeyman | Stephen King | Disney
Do you feel there are two kinds of horror films? One that spooks you and the one that gets inside your head. While you were making The Boogeyman, did you try to bring in the best of both worlds?
Yeah, I think you're totally right that you can have the best of both worlds. I know that a lot of people like to talk down on jump scares and movies that make you throw your popcorn in the air. And they like to kind of talk about them as though they can't be the same movies that stick with you afterwards and play in your mind for days on end. But I think you can do both. I think it's about earning the audience's trust, making sure that there are characters you can invest in, making sure there's an idea that you're discussing in your movie and you're not just making loud noises at the audience. But I love a great jump scare. And it was one of my favourite things coming up with some of the jump scares for this movie. I think hopefully we've got enough meat on the bone as well.
Choose between two auteurs of horror films. An intense, graphic David Cronenberg film like The Fly (1986) or a fun, spooky Sam Raimi film like Evil Dead 2 (1987). Which one is your kind of genre?
Sam Raimi is my guy. I grew up on Evil Dead. Sam Raimi kind of started as more of a gore guy. But I prefer his slapstick stuff like Evil Dead 2. I love both. I love all sorts of horror films. The kind of stuff that I'm more drawn to is about building tension and suspense. Movies that can terrify audiences, but don't necessarily alienate too many people. I've done that before, but I think gore movies have such a limited audience. The Boogeyman feels very intense and violent, even though it's a PG-13. And that's the kind of space I love to operate in.
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