Written by Luke
Hey Everyone! I recently had the chance to sit down and chat to Hunter Farris about his new horror shot Cursed Camera, which is a delightful play on the found footage demonic possession genre, with the camera itself being possessed by a demon and killing anyone who goes off screen. We chat about, curses, found footage horror and Martin Scorsese’s quotes on cinema. I hope you enjoy.
Q: If you had to sum your film up in one word what would it be?
Q: Who is your filmmaking inspiration?
A: Todd Strauss-Schulson. I love how he used movies about movies to explore deep, universal themes.
Q: Do you have any funny on set stories?
A: I forgot to write the last scene until almost the last day of shooting. It wasn’t even in the outline; it was just an afterthought. But because of that, our cinematographer/editor was unable to plan the shot properly. So he solved the problem by taking a single screenshot and focusing on that with everything in voice-over.
Q: If you could travel back in time to when you were first starting in filmmaking out what would you say to your younger self?
A: First starting out in filmmaking. Slash your budget down to nothing. Then work with what you get. First starting out on this video? Everything will work out just fine. There were a few issues with production that caused me a lot of stress in the moment (like recasting someone on the day of filming), but none of them ultimately affected the finished product.
Q: What would you do if you were caught on the cursed camera?
A: Oh gosh… The whole point of a horror movie is that you can’t win. I mean, sure, I could try to outsmart it by following the rules and staying onscreen… until the rules change, and the camera starts randomly turning off and on. So I guess the best thing to do is turn the camera toward the wall and report the camera to the rental house so they can take care of it.
Q: What was your catalyst for making this film?
A: Honestly? I just wanted to make something that could go to a festival, without spending a dime on production. A found footage movie seemed like the most narratively interesting excuse for no budget and killing off characters was an easy way to make sure people only had to show up for a few hours of filming. So when I asked how they could die without spending money on makeup, effect, props, or costumes, I remembered Martin Scorsese’s quote (“cinema is the art of what’s in the frame and what’s not in the frame”) and decided to play around with the relationship between the character and the camera.
Q: Are there any particular films you are homaging, referencing, or spoofing with curse camera?
A: I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t watched a single found footage movie or possession movie yet, and pre-production went so fast that I didn’t have time to research. So I didn’t want to comment on any movies I hadn’t seen, so I was more commenting on the very idea of a camera. Not many movies make the camera diegetic, and I wanted to make the camera as diegetic as possible to play around with the idea of the interaction between character and camera.
Q: What is your favourite possession film?
A: I wish I could give you a good answer, but I don’t think I’ve seen any possession movies yet. I look forward to watching a lot of possession movies.
Q: How would you describe the state of modern horror?
A: It seems to me that modern horror is splitting into 2 camps: One wants to use horror as a vehicle to explore a theme, and the other wants to use horror as a vehicle to have fun with fear. And I think those are equally valid camps.
Q: If you ever won an Oscar or other award who would you thank in your acceptance speech?
A: I’m always deeply grateful to *every* member of the cast and crew. If I can, I always like to express gratitude to each one by name. And I’d definitely be thanking the people who financially support me while I’m chasing my dreams of filmmaking.
If you want to check out Cursed Camera you can find it on Youtube, and as always there is a review of the short up on my site now!