Our ongoing series of interviews with the Blumhouse crew continues, in which we share our collective passion for all things scary, discuss our personal and career histories in the genre we all know and love, reveal our favorite films, and maybe even share a few spooky stories.
Today we sit down for a Q&A with William Bibbiani, Writer for Blumhouse.com!
1. How long have you been a horror fan, and what attracted you to the genre?
I used to hate horror movies, but only because they scared the living crap out of me. I had recurring nightmares about Chucky from the CHILD’S PLAY movies. He had skeletonized my brother and then he threw a pair of child’s safety scissors at my head like a shuriken. Also, I was pretty sure that Freddy Krueger had really killed DJ Jazzy Jeff at the end of the song “Nightmare on My Street,” and that’s why Will Smith ultimately embarked on a solo career. That messed me up bad.
It wasn’t until I found out how movies were made that I was able to sleep with the light on. Screenplays, casting, makeup effects… I couldn’t tell you which issue of FANGORIA it was that changed my life, but it was one of them, damn it. I transitioned from hating the horror genre to respecting its power, and I respect that power to this very day.
That’s why, more than anything else, I am still attracted to this genre: because it has the ability to terrify me. I’ve never understood the many horror fans who claim that nothing scares them anymore. How can you be a horror fan if you can no longer tap into your own fears? Life is scary. Violence is scary. The human mind is scary. And that’s just grand.
2. What is your role at Blumhouse Productions? Can you tell us a little about your job?
I’m a freelance writer for Blumhouse.com , which means I pitch Rebekah a bunch of different articles, she approves a handful of them, and then I hope she doesn’t notice when the deadlines fly by unfulfilled.
I publish about 80 articles, interviews, movie reviews, videos and podcasts every month for various websites. I watch a lot of movies — hundreds of new ones every year — and then I interview celebrities about how they made them. Then I have to transcribe those interviews (that’s not the fun part). I report on film festivals and genre conventions. I do guest appearances on KCRW and The Young Turks.
Doing this job, and only this job, requires a massive amount of time and commitment. In order to preclude a side career at my local Staples, I have to work anywhere from 60-100 hours a week. It’s a tough job if you want to do it right, and I always try to do it right.
Um… sorry about those deadlines, Rebekah…
3. What is your career background, training, school, etc?
I knew from a very early age what I wanted to do with my life… more or less. I was obsessed with film before I was ten years old and spent my teens researching movie history, scouring college textbooks, and writing my own scripts. Eventually I was accepted to the UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media where — after an unfortunate accident forced me to spend all the money I had saved to produce my own short film on fixing broken camera equipment instead — I majored in Screenwriting.
From there I frittered about a bit, getting into the feature film development gig, but when the economy collapsed about half a decade ago the only paying gigs I could get in the industry were writing about movies, and not making them. So I rolled with it and discovered that, when all is said and done, I actually like this aspect of the industry even better. I get to share my love of the art form with other people, just like the many film critics who expanded my own knowledge years before. It’s a wonderfull life.
4. What/who is your favorite monster and why?
Monsters are wonderful, but nothing scares me more than what real people do to each other. So I tend to gravitate towards fictional characters whom I can imagine existing in real life: Jerry Blake in THE STEPFATHER, Francis Dollarhyde in MANHUNTER, Chris Cleek in THE WOMAN. These people have managed to convince themselves that destroying innocent lives, violently, is a decent thing to do. That gives me the shivers.
5. What is your weapon of choice?
Empathy. I feel your pain, monsters! Let’s talk about our feelings instead of killing each other.
6. List five of your favorite horror films.
I have a long list, obviously, so let’s focus on some of more unusual movies in it:
CHERRY FALLS — A serial killer who only kills virgins? The teenaged community responds with an orgy in this clever, pervy slasher.
NIGHTBREED — Clive Barker’s love note to victimized monsters is still, in many respects, the best X-MEN movie ever made.
FINAL DESTINATION 2 — If you only watch horror movies to see lots of inventive kills, then this should be one of your favorite movies.
THE HITCHER — C. Thomas Howell finds out the hard way why you should never pick up a hitchhiker. Rutger Hauer plays one of the most memorable and unstoppable villains in horror history.
FREDDY VS. JASON — The only fan service film that served me, the fan, every single thing I wanted.
7. What was the first horror movie you ever saw, and what was your reaction?
I mentioned that I was terrified of horror movies from an early age, but that was a bit of a lie. I didn’t even see most of those films; I saw the trailers and that was enough.
The first horror movie I distinctly remember seeing, in theaters at any rate, was PREDATOR. I was five years old. I suspect the combination of the horror and action genres was responsible for my reaction, which wasn’t so much terror as the distinct and accurate suspicion that what I was watching was awesome.
8. Describe one of your favorite Halloween costumes that you’ve worn.
My girlfriend and I went as Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz this year, which was awesome, but I don’t have any good pictures of that. Instead, I present to you my friend Adam as Guybrush Threepwood, and myself as The Ghost Pirate LeChuck, from the classic video game MONKEY ISLAND.
9. Name one horror celebrity, dead or alive, you would love to meet, and tell us why.
If you can think of anyone more fabulous than Vincent Price, I would love to hear it.
10. Please recommend a recent horror film that you saw and really enjoyed.
This hasn’t exactly been a banner year for horror movies, but the best of 2015 is easily Marjane Satrapi’s THE VOICES, which stars Ryan Reynolds as a good-natured factory worker whose dog and cat talk to him, and tell him to do things. Reynolds gives his best performance, by far, in a film that — more than any other — put me deep inside the mind of a maniac, and made me sympathize with his plight. Unexpectedly beautiful, and absolutely horrifying.