On the set of House on the Witchpit last month, I had a conversation with my DoP about imagery cropping up over and over again in films that I’d written or directed. I sometimes lecture about film theory, and have therefore spent many days of my life discussing the recurring imagery of the great filmmakers, but I’d never particularly thought about it in the case of my own flicks. Other than Kim Newman once calling me an “Essex Auteur” in Empire a few years back (many thanks, Kim!), I’ve never had any cause to wonder whether the tiny-budgeted horrors that I’ve introduced to the world (or, indeed, the scripts like Strippers vs Werewolves that I’ve sold to other people for them to do with what they will) have featured any commonality of theme or image. I certainly never consciously intended there to be any.
That being said, surely I must have experienced a sense of deja-vu at trying to get fake blood out of tuxedos or evening gowns at the end of a feature shoot? Five out of eight scripts/movies have resulted in a tick in the ‘Bloody Formal Wear’ box. That’s nothing, of course, compared to the ‘Female Stabbing Someone’ motif, which I only seem to have avoided in one script, including those that haven’t been produced or sold yet.
These recurring visuals weren’t a conscious decision, but now I’ve started picking through my stuff looking for them I’ve a feeling I’ll be extremely aware of them from this point onwards. That’s not to say I’ll avoid including them, of course, just that I won’t be able to do it in quite such a state of blissful ignorance.
And what’s the deal with me and eyeballs?