Several years ago, when I was given the task to pick a title that I wanted to write about for our upcoming book Hidden Horror, it didn’t take me long to decide on the 2005 Isolation, from director Billy O’Brien. I had stumbled upon this little tale and it was not only blown away by it, but impressed as hell with the amount of terror and tension he delivered.
In doing research for the piece, I ended up getting in touch with O’Brien and was able to do a little interview with him about the film and the making of it, which you can read here on the site under our Interviews section. During the talk, he mentioned an upcoming project that he would love to do, which was to adapt a series of books from writer Dan Wells, called I Am Not A Serial Killer. He even mentions that he’d loved to get the young actor, Max Records, who had just appeared in Where the Wild Things Are.
Kitley’s Krypt: Let’s start at the beginning. I’m assuming you are a fan of the horror genre? Any favorites?
Billy O’Brien: I grew up on a farm in Ireland so I didn’t see a lot of films growing up, other than what was on Irish TV, which is pretty limited. So mainly it was books that I liked. Of course, I am massive Stephen King fan. Massive Tolkien fan, all the kind of fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres mixed up. I was always going to do something in those and that’s generally what I’m working in today, sci-fi, horror and fantasy. But for film-wise, I think I love all the ’70s classics of horror from The Shining, to Alien, to The Thing, though that really is ’80s really, isn’t it? But to this day, it is the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. When I watched it again recently, I’m amazed how beautiful it is. Sure you’re terrified, but it’s actually beautifully shot. I think it was because when it was originally banned in Ireland, and when we saw it first, everyone would hand around these old VHS copies that looked like it was shot through a tea-bag. It looked pretty crappy, you know? So it was a real revelation to me how beautiful and how carefully planned the shots are. It’s a masterpiece, really. There is also an amazing Belgium horror film called Calvaire and I loved that one. It’s carefully planned but beautifully to behold and he’s really thinking on how to draw the audience in. I loved that about films. To be honest, I haven’t watched a lot of the more recent films, like Paranormal Activity movies, or any of the recent ones. I don’t know…maybe I’m drifting away from it a bit now. But my own work has gone more science fiction-type. But ’70s horror would be the main one, or anything that my catches my fancy, but usually the more odd or different.