Louisa Fielden is one of British cinema’s brightest up and coming filmmakers. She was recently nominated for Best New Talent at the 2011 Media & Innovation Awards.
When I was about 11 I watched Dead of Night – an Ealing horror film from the 40s. The “Just room for one inside, sir” line haunted me for a few years afterwards, and the ventriloquist’s dummy portion of the film is still something I find very disturbing to this day. At around the same time, my sisters and I would wait for our mum to leave the house, then whack in whatever VHS was out of our reach – favourites were Alien and Terminator. We had good taste.
What was it that first attracted you to horror?
I consider horror to be a director’s medium and that’s why it appeals to me. Good horror films are crafted with exquisite care and skill. Also, horror attracts fans that pursue the genre with passion.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Having a showcase of my work at the BFI IMAX in London was pretty cool. Getting a First from Oxford University gave me a great sense of achievement too. Outside of work – I feel very proud of my awesome two-year old niece, and my ability to cook a world-class Spaghetti Bolognese.
What are you working on now?
I’m developing two sitcoms, and I’ll be shooting a couple of big music promos in the New Year. I’m also moving further behind the camera and producing work for others, which I absolutely love.
I think Alan Ball’s work on True Blood is incredible.
Do you prefer gore or psychological horror?
I don’t know. I think those terms have been hijacked by film marketing companies in recent years. If it’s gore, the implication is that it’s more hardcore – for die hard horror fans. If it’s psychological horror it’s more intelligent – your mum can watch. Kate Hudson’s in it. The Silence of the Lambs, one of my favourite films, is a great example of a film that straddles both sub-genres. Yes, I said straddle.
How important is it to unsettle a viewer?
Very. I think that gets to the core of what directing this genre is about.
How do you evoke fear?
There’s a great quote from Mad Men when Don Draper says, “Our worst fears lie in anticipation” and I think that’s very true. The build up to the event is just as important as the event itself.
What scares you?
Anyone who says they’re certain about something.
Why should people watch your films?
How far is too far when it comes to horror cinema?
I dislike censorship in almost all forms. So even if I consider a film to be tasteless and disgusting, I think it should still get released. “Too far” is simply a matter of personal taste. Having said that, I’ve been much more emotionally disturbed by a good drama or romance than I have ever been by horror. For me, tears are worse than fears, I guess.
I’m not a huge fan of horror in its current incarnation, so I hope it gets better. I think the vast majority of the genre’s output is cheap and poorly written with no underlying tension. I think we need a new Spielberg to set the genre back in the familiarity of the family unit – and then to do something visionary with that backdrop.
Recommend a film.
Last Night – with Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington.
Follow Louisa on Twitter: @louisafielden