Mickey Keating, director of Pod, Darling, and the soon to be released Carnage Park, took the time to answer some questions about film, his movies, and music!
HorrorBull: I have the money to make a biopic about Glen Danzig during the Misfits years through Danzig’s s/t album. Will you play young Glen?
Mickey: Ha! I’m much better behind the camera.
HorrorBull: Which Roman Polanski film influenced Darling the most, Repulsion or The Tenant?
Mickey: I’d say it’s probably a split, although visually it definitely leans toward Repulsion. I think at its core, the story and ambiguity of The Tenant had a bigger effect on me during the writing process. I will also always insist that Altman’s That Cold Day In The Park was just as much of an influence too.
HorrorBull: When filming Darling, was the music and sound design forefront on your mind or something you discovered in editing?
Mickey: I actually write bigger sound cues and musical moments into my scripts, so I’m very aware of what I’d like for it to sound like while we’re shooting. Sometimes it changes in post and we experiment and discover something new and fun, but there’s definitely a direction I want to head towards from the very beginning. I knew that the soundscape was going to be a big supporting character in this film. In real life, that house sounds nothing like it does in the final film. We spent quite a bit of time building the entire world. It was really fun and challenging.
HorrorBull: What song/music do you dream about being able to use in one of your films?
Mickey: “I’m Easy” by Keith Carradine from Altman’s Nashville or “Ball of Confusion” by The Temptations.
HorrorBull: The current crop of horror filmmakers unapologetically reflects the films and directors that influenced them without ripping them off. When you start a film do you think “I want this to be like _______” or does this influence sneak in?
Mickey: I actually don’t think that’s anything new, filmmakers voicing their admiration for other directors or films. Paul Thomas Anderson is pretty vocal about how much he’s “ripped off” Altman and Demme in his films. Even Kubrick wrote fan letters to Bergman! I love movies more than anything in the world, and so there are definitely several films I know I want to try to make my film look, sound, or feel like. You gotta have something to aspire to and push towards, right? Otherwise it’s just masturbation.
HorrorBull: What was the first horror film you watched and what genre of horror drew you in the most in your formative years?
Mickey: I watched Taxi Driver when I was very young – probably around ten or eleven – and it had a significant impact on the way I think about horror. It’s so dark and disturbing, but also such a vulnerable character piece. It’s quite devastating. As I got older, the New French Extremism films really struck me. The attempt to really challenge and provoke the audience is something I find very exciting. Filmmakers like Gaspar Noé, Francois Ozone, Alex Aja were very influential on me growing up.
HorrorBull: Lauren Ashley Carter is mesmerizing in this film, you worked with her on Pod as well. She’s not a “scream queen” in the ’80s sense of the nickname but what do you think it is about her that makes her perfect for horror films?
Mickey: She commits. You give her the stage and she goes for it. There are plenty of actors who just want to be famous and so they show up to set, say their lines, Instagram some shit, and go home. Who wants to work with somebody like that? I think everybody in this film really brought it. It was a truly artistic process.
HorrorBull: How did your partnership with Glass Eye Pix and Larry Fessenden come about?
Mickey: When I was in college I cold-called Glass Eye Pix and bothered them until they let me intern! I have such admiration for what Larry has done and the films he’s been responsible for over the years. I spent my summers in college doing whatever they needed me to do and it was truly the most valuable learning experience I could’ve ever had. I met Jenn Wexler through them and she’s the best producer I could ask for. I want her to produce all of my films. If you want to learn everything about independent cinema, call up Glass Eye and beg them for an internship.
HorrBull: If you called the cops and Larry Fessenden showed up, would you feel safe?
Mickey: If his filmography is any indication, I wouldn’t because he always gets killed!
HorrorBull: Brian Morvant. Does his family come from a long line of vampires or vampire hunters? His last name sounds like it would be called out in anger by one or the other. “Morvaaaaant!”
Mickey: Brian’s too sweet and wonderful to hunt vampires. He’d probably cuddle one if he had the chance.
HorrorBull: We’re still waiting on Carnage Park and Psychopaths to be released. How many more films do you plan to make this year?
Mickey: I dunno! We’re still working on Psychopaths so it’s hard to say until I’ve exhausted all my creative energy on that.
HorrorBull: You’ve made the rounds at a lot of festivals. Which has been your favorite to show your films at?
Mickey: Honestly, I’ve had a blast at every festival I’ve been to. Sundance and SXSW are truly incredible experiences. Fantastic Fest is the best party of the year. Telluride Horror Show is wonderful. They’re all so different, and it’s so great to just play in as many different crowds as possible.
HorrorBull: What films have you seen lately at festivals that you’re most excited about making their way to the masses?
Mickey: I was totally floored by Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise. I caught a film called Der Bunker at Fantastic Fest and it’s amazing. I can’t wait for people to see it and I hope the director Nikias makes a hundred more films. Also stoked for people to see Joe Begos’ The Mind’s Eye, which also features Fessenden, Lauren, and Brian!