Scott Perry directed three episodes of the new horror Web series on Youtube called "In Fear Of." They are "Thanatophobia: Fear of Death," "Achluophobia: Fear of the Dark" and "Monophobia: Fear of Being Alone." All three are very well done and manage to create a suspenseful atmosphere full of dread and terror. "Monophobia" is about a serial killer who acts a little like Ted Bundy, killing people just to prevent them from leaving her. It is full of dark humor and has a twisted ending that I just loved. "Thanatophobia" has a twist ending that is not easy to predict, something that is extremely hard to pull off and shows just how talented Perry is. "Achluophobia" is by far the best in terms of creating a suspenseful atmosphere. It has a way of getting to you that very few short horror films do, and is definitely a must see for anyone who loves to be scared.
How did you get involved with "In Fear Of?"
In Fear Of came about when I was looking to do something fresh and unique pertaining to the horror genre, which I love. Horror at its most basic is the element of fear. One day I came across a webpage of a list of phobias and I was surprised at just how many there are. I talked to my good friend Jeremiah Kipp thinking this could make an interesting web series. Six weeks later we’re filming "Monophobia" with Debbie Rochon and David Marancik and the series was off.
What attracts you to the horror genre?
What attracts me most about the horror genre is that no other genre in film can stir up so many emotions within you. There are also so many sub-genres that really stretch the limits of what horror truly is. For the most part above all, it’s the ability to thrill. We all like a sense of fear and danger to our lives and horror can stimulate that for you. I believe the films in this series do a great job in representing how far the genre can stretch, from laughter in “Monophobia,” creeped out in “Podophobia,” thrilled by “Selenophobia,” saddened by the tragedy in “Thanatophobia,” psychologically freaked out in “Apehephobia,” and scared to the edge of your seat in “Achluophobia.” No other genre can stir so much within you and that’s why I’ll always love the horror genre.
Was there any real life influence or experience that you drew on to direct "Achluophobia: Fear Of the Dark?"
There wasn’t a specific real life influence on me but one of the reasons why it was chosen is because, while I tried to steer away from the more commonly known phobias, to many their first ever fear in life is a fear of the dark. How many of us as children had a night light on so we wouldn’t be in total darkness when we slept? That led to fear of monsters, fear of the Boogeyman, and a variety of phobias that we can inhabit in our lifetimes, but credit the darkness to begin f-ing up our minds.
Was there any movie that you used as inspiration during your creative process?
When I came up with the idea of "Fear Of The Dark," I knew immediately I wanted the only light source to be via candlelight. I like to shoot my own projects when I can but by no means am I an expert with the camera. I did want to see if this could be done, and with the way technology is today, we have equipment that can capture excellent images with low lighting. However, I looked at Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” for inspiration, as a majority of his epic and overlooked film (compared to his other masterpieces) was shot using nothing but candlelight so I studied that film and read up on what he did to accomplish this. For the tone of the film, I looked at, not that I needed the excuse, Dario Argento’s “Suspiria,” namely the opening scene. In his prime, very few were able to master the art of suspense like Argento had and I particularly loved how he used shadows and darkness in those opening moments to incorporate total fear.
When it came to casting, my first and only choice was Raine Brown. I had worked with Raine on my short film “Insatiable,” which we did in 2008, and had promised to work together again. I had such a great time working with her that when this came up, I wanted her to be in it. Raine has a tremendous ability to use her body as a tool and her reactions to the situation around her is a huge reason why “Achluophobia: Fear Of The Dark” works so well.
What are you afraid of? Did your short film include aspects of your own phobias?
The phobia that I relate to most out of the first season of “In Fear Of” is certainly Monophobia. I work an erratic schedule, nights and weekends, so when there are a lot of events with friends, I have a difficulty attending due to that. Working and editing can lead to a lonely existence sometimes so when I do make a project, I never want it to end because I don’t feel alone when I do it. It’s one of the reasons why “Monophobia” was the first episode shot, and I couldn’t be more thrilled than to have Debbie Rochon and David Marancik collaborate on the episode. It started as a bit of a joke that I wanted to see Debbie prevent David, her best friend, from leaving a house on a dinner date, and it escalated to something fun and horrific. We premiered the film at the Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival where it won Best Horror Comedy Short Film which was a nice surprise.
The other episode I wrote and directed, “Thanatophobia: Fear Of Death,” is another fear that I think we all have, and one that I certainly have. It was originally a fear of cemeteries but looking at the theme, it was discussed by cast and crew that "Fear Of Death" was a better name for it. I’m 35 now and I spent a lot of my 20s thinking I was invincible, plus sadly I’ve been surrounded by many family members and friends passing away. Jeremiah Kipp has recognized that in all my work, a common theme and element is death. I love the episode and working with both Suzi Lorraine and Damien Colletti was such a pleasure. It’s more dramatic than scary but has a message I think everyone can relate to.
Do you plan on filming more short horror films in the future? If so, what projects are you working on and what can fans expect to see from you in the coming months?
I do. There will be a second season of “In Fear Of” which I hope will bring more directors, more actors, and more phobias overall which I will begin prepping in January, and I am working on a short film that’s a passion project for me next year which I hope to be completed in time for the festival circuit next fall. As of now, I am looking forward to showing these excellent short films to everyone and that they enjoy watching them as much as we enjoyed making them.