02 June 2015

Interview with RODNEY ASCHER ("Room 237", "The Nightmare", "ABCs of Death 2")

I got the chance to do a little interview with RODNEY ASCHER, director of the genius
"The Shining"-documentary "ROOM 237",
the "Q is for Questionnaire" segment for
"ABCs of DEATH 2", and the upcoming sleep-paralysis-themed documentary

-Me: I read that you once experienced a case of sleep paralysis which inspired you to create this documentary. Could you tell me more about that incident and how it affected you?

Rodney: I was certain I was seeing a ghost or some sort of spirit looming over my bed. It felt like it was JUDGING me and I decided I needed to clean up my act after that. Perhaps I had done something to attract it.

-Many of the nightmares looked very Giallo-esque to me (Argento, Bava...). Were these sequences always intended to look that stylish, or did you have other looks/designs on your mind beforehand?

Well I'm a gigantic fan of the genre (I'm partial to "The Case of the Scorpion's Tale" and "The Short Night of Glass Dolls", as well as anything by Argento or Bava) and I know our Hatman looks a little like the killer in "Blood and Black Lace". But it's weird, I made a 90 minute inspiration reel and the film's cinematographer Bridger Nielson and I talked about a lot of stuff but not a lot of Giallo (although I know Bridger's well versed in that stuff too). I was never looking for realism in the re-enactments but a lot of the stuff we looked at were things like Paul Schrader's "Mishima" and "Patty Hearst", "2001: A Space Odyssey", "Demons 2" (sort of a late Giallo), "Dogville" and "The Thin Blue Line".

-How easy/difficult was it to create "The Nightmare" compared to "Room 237"?

On the one hand we had the luxury of a production company behind us with a budget (if a small one) and a seasoned crew (237 was a completely DIY project created on nights and weekends), but it was a lot more work. It was also more fun.

-What effect had "Room 237" 
on your life, as a private person, as well as a filmmaker?

I'm still a pretty private person but I have a few more followers on twitter. As far as filmmaking goes, 237 opened up all sorts of doors, not the least of which was the one that allowed "The Nightmare" to happen. When producers Ross Dinerstein and Glen Zipper came onto the team, they were able to get it financed very quickly.

-How was it shooting the segment for "ABCs of Death 2"? Was this a one-time thing for you, or would you like to do more stuff like that, maybe even horror features? Or will you continue creating documentaries?

It was fun, in a way it felt like a return to some of the no-budget comedy shorts I did years ago, only this time it was going to get seen by a lot more people. I want to take documentaries further but I also want to explore other formats including yes, narrative features, maybe horror but probably some sort of hybrid.

-What are your all-time horror movie favorites? and what is the worst horror movie you've ever seen?

Long list, here's a few picked more or less at random...
"Night of the Hunter", "Songs from the Second Floor", "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me", "Videodrome", "Bad Ronald", "Phantasm", "Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story", "The Martian Chronicles", "Spider Baby", "Jigoku", "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch", and "Dawn of the Dead (1978)". Oh yeah, and "The Shining".

Worst? No comment.

-Thank you, Rodney!

Reviews:  "Room 237"  |  "ABCs of Death 2"  |  "The Nightmare"


  1. Wow, awesome interview! Thanks for sharing.

    "Worst? No Comment." < Ha! :D


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