Is it more exciting because you can go in and out and be really quick about it? Or do you prefer taking the time and really digging into the characters?

I think it’s a matter of choice. I love character stuff, but this particular show is just not that medium, even though we have great characters. But there’s a lot to be said in this day and age for bite-sized meals in terms of people want to come and they want to watch something for twenty minutes and then go off and do something else and come back and watch another thing, you know what I mean? Or they watch more of this for some crazy reason. A good reason! So that’s hard to say, because I love them all. And what’s great is, you were talking about the horror genre and television, every time a horror movie comes out and does well, it bodes well for all of us. I saw Us the other day, and it’s so much fun. I love going on these journeys where I have no idea – I don’t watch trailers, I don’t read anything, I have no idea. So generally, I just want to be entertained. Just take me on a journey and I’ll have a good time. So I had a great time, and I like that these movies – I loved Hereditary. It’s just fun. Mandy, I couldn’t quite – I really wanted to love it, but I was like, ‘What the fuck!’ My fifteen-year-old son’s like, ‘Dad, let’s watch this movie,’ and I was like, ‘It was crazy.’ But, you know, fun.

[Creepshow director Tom Savini] didn’t like Hereditary.

Really?

That’s what he said.

Ugh, he’s an idiot.

(Everyone laughs.) Why do you love horror?

It scares the shit out of me. It’s what I grew up with. My parents were huge movie buffs. Still are huge movie buffs. So I remember going to the theater and seeing Dracula: Prince of Darkness and Planet of the Apes. I was six years old. I went to see Jaws like the second day it was out. My parents went the first night it opened, and then they took us the second night. I just love that thrill. Growing up in Pittsburgh, they had a show on Saturday nights called Chiller Theater. Every Saturday night, man, I was watching horror movies. Monster magazines and all that crazy shit that me and Quentin and Guillermo and Eli Roth and Alex Aja, we’re all cut from the same cloth. We all read the same magazines, we all watched the same movies. One of them got nudged into writing, one got nudged into directing, one got nudged this way or that way, but Tom Savini would say the same thing: it was the Man of a Thousand Faces, Lon Chaney and makeup. The bummer is, I don’t get scared anymore. Aside from spiders, which, that would be it. But I’ve spent thirty-something years crafting these scares. When I went to see Us, I took my thirteen-year-old daughter and her friends, and there was a music sting, and my daughter was shooting out of the chair. She was like, ‘Dad, why don’t you jump?’ I’m like, ‘Honey, I’m sorry.’ I watch them. I took them to see It – great movie, and there were a lot of scares, and my kids were [scared]. Or A Quiet Place.

Does that ruin the experience for you, not being scared by it? Or do you appreciate it more?

I appreciate well-made – that’s why I really liked Hereditary, because at the end, I got goosebumps. It was chilling. [Spoilers for Hereditary ahead.] When she was fucking sawing her head off, I was like, ‘That’s just fucking weird.’ But I loved it because it was strange. That image stuck with me – everyone was like, ‘Oh, the head with the ants,’ and I’m like, ‘No, it was the mom going [slicing head].’ It’s just weird. So I still appreciate it, but it’s kind of funny because we’re all friends. Adam Green wrote me an email last night, like, ‘Dude, fuck, fucking Walking Dead!’ I love that we’re always supporting each other, and we go to the movies to see our friends’ films and we all dig it. I love it because it’s great.

There’s been a lot of talk about revivals, and a lot of debate about is this a revival of horror, or hasn’t horror always been around? One of the things that really makes this type of era of horror distinct from anything else is that we’ve had nostalgia for ‘80s horror in the ‘90s and 2000s, but it seems like right now, there’s a respect, almost like they’re doing it right, in a way. The source material’s being respected, the originators are coming back, and I feel like Creepshow is definitely a part of that.

Listen, I mean you’re absolutely right. There’s always that, people revisit it, and it’s obviously very generational in terms of when young kids watch something and then they grow up and have kids and their kids watch it. That always seems to be cyclic. But there is something unique now about the fact that it’s kind of respectable. In the ‘80s when horror movies were coming out and they were making shitloads of money, everybody shit on them. Everyone was like, ‘This is fucking low brow. This is trash. Friday the 13th.’ And there were some, like Mother’s Day and Maniac, that were pretty hardcore. But everybody shit on horror movies. ‘Oh, it’s just exploitation, they’re just trying to make a buck.’ People were making movies, you know? I’ll never forget when Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture, they would never call it a horror movie. They’re like, ‘It’s a psychological thriller.’ I’m like, ‘There’s a guy killing people and cutting their fucking skin off. How is that not a horror movie?’ But it was considered low brow, and I think a lot of it was because the Hollywood studio system just looked down their nose at horror. But then you have those milestone markers like Blair Witch Project, which is super successful but genuinely terrifying. That’s when everybody goes, ‘Oh, horror.’ It’s just having respect for the genre. Again, that’s when I’d go back to Walking Dead. When Darabont made the pilot, you could see that he respected every ounce of the material, and that’s what made it so real and that’s what made it so great. Good horror succeeds because people respect it. The guys that are now in positions like me are all guys who grew up ravenous for it and loved it, and now they’re looking back on it like, ‘Fuck, that’s the shit that shaped me.’ Edgar Wright, perfect example. Edgar makes the movies that he loves to make, and they’re all based on the shit that him and Simon and Nick and all those guys watched. Shaun of the Dead is the perfect example – that was such a loving homage to Romero, but with their twist on it. That’s one of the greatest examples of where horror can go. I still think Shaun of the Dead has some great horror moments.

They’re even getting veterans to come back now. John Carpenter came back to score Halloween, and there just seems to be this interest again of the leaders of the ‘80s coming back and ushering in. The people they’re working with, the new creatives, they seem to get it in a way that maybe some other filmmakers in the ‘90s and 2000s just ran with the brand.

You know why? I’ll tell you exactly why. Because the current filmmakers respect the creators. Listen, if somebody reached out to me and said, ‘I love what you did and I’d love to pay tribute to it by doing [something],’ that’s a pretty amazing compliment. I think in those other instances, they never really gave a shit about the creators or the people that originally did it. They were just like, ‘Hey, let’s reboot this.’ And then they would do fifty reboots. I don’t think Clive Barker was involved with very many of the Hellraiser films after one and two, but they just kept making them. You’re like, ‘Clive Barker, man, that’s the guy!’ So I do think that the real issue in that particular instance is the filmmakers reaching out to the creators and going, ‘What you did inspired me.’ That’s what I’ve been doing for the last four months. Looking back on the stuff that inspired me. Rob Schrab is literally shooting today and was like, ‘I’m going to start crying, I’m so excited and happy to be here and so proud.’ Those are the people who should be making this material because I’ve had people go, ‘Fuck, I moved to L.A. because I wanted to work on a movie like Creepshow, and now here I am working on Creepshow.’ I think it’s all about respect and paying tribute to those guys. Sadly, Wes is gone and Tobe’s gone, and it’s really sad to think, fuck, in just the last two weeks Joe Pilato died, John Buechler died, Larry Cohen died. All these people that I’ve known for a long time. It’s like you want to let them know how important their work is. The fucking craziest thing is, in the “Finger” episode when Bob is asleep in the freezer, we made a little stuff container and put it in the freezer, and it’s right there. And like, four days later, I heard that Larry passed. I was like, ‘That’s fucking weird, man.’ With Harrison here and Savini here, and all of us with Joe Pilato. I’ve known Joe for a billion years. Part of it is like, ‘Fuck man, I want to pay tribute to these guys and let them know how important their work was to me and is to me as soon as I can.’ I didn’t mean to get depressing, but it’s crazy, you know?

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