Fri 10.31.2014

Halloween Horrorfest: Filmmaker Leigh Janiak Talks About Her Favorite Scary Movies


Happy Halloween! In honor of the spookiest day of the year, we spoke to some indie horror directors to ask them about their favorite scary movie moments. We’ll be posting their responses all day, and first up is Leigh Janiak, whose debut horror feature Honeymoon is available now on iTunes and Amazon.

What was the first horror film that scared the pants off you?
Psycho! I remember I was having a sleepover party for my 10th or 11th birthday. I begged my mom to let us watch a horror movie, but she was unimpressed with the “slasher” movies of the time—all “blood and gore.” So instead she let us watch Psycho, which definitely ended up being more traumatic than Child’s Play or whatever other movie I was gunning for at the time. It was an insane movie for a bunch of ten-year-old girls to watch—I’m forever grateful that she let us, but equally, I still check behind the shower curtain every time I go into a bathroom and I definitely prefer a transparent curtain in my own house.

Scariest cinema moment of all time?
The moment in Lost Highway when Robert Blake’s character comes up to Bill Pullman and says, “I’m in your house right now” is the WORST. It continues to scare me. Just thinking about it makes me feel terrible.

Who’s more terrifying: Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger or Michael Myersleighheadshot—and why?
Freddy Krueger, for sure. There’s something about his destroyed, burnt face mixed with his terrible backstory that just makes the greatest monster. This sense that he can get at you in your dreams, the place that’s supposed to be completely private and protected, only makes him worse. He’s brilliant because no matter what, everyone has to go to sleep. You can’t escape him, no matter how hard you try. And he’s got this weird undercurrent of twisted sexuality, too. I like Mike Myers, but Freddy is just perfect.

Favorite zombie flick?
28 Days Later.

Favorite moment in a Stephen King film?
All of the steadicam shots in The Shining are great, but the shot, following Danny around on his Big Wheel, is just unbelievably awesome. I love how the gliding is punctuated by the sound of the wheels on the wood floor and then quiet on the carpet.

What’s the secret to directing actors in a horror film?
Well, I’ve only made one, but for me it was about trying to keep everything as grounded as we possibly could… even when things started getting messy…

Mary Sollosi / Film Independent Blogger and Pamela Miller / Website & Grants Manager