The Need for Fresh Ideas
An Interview with Christian Bachini
Filmquest 2021 Interview courtesy of Daniel Yokom - visit his blog
--What inspired you for your work?
In simple words, my inspiration was the need for originality. I just wanted to see something really fresh. I love horror in all of his iterations, slasher movies, gothic or cosmic horror, possession films and so on, but I feel recently that's all I was keeping seeing. I lost count of how many demonic possession movies are getting made, or how many slasher flicks' homages are getting pumped out. And everything is a call back, call back to the 80s, call back to 90s, remakes and sequels and reboots are really poisoning the genre and killing new and fresh stories that I believe are out there. So my question was why? Why always look back instead of forward? So I set out to create something fresh myself because I could not find it anywhere else.
Also nowadays it seems like mainstream horror can only be extremely "arthouse" or heavy "Jump Scares" injected. Recent horror films are so worried about the aesthetics or how many jump scares they deliver that they forget that what makes a good horror film or any good movie for that matter, is and always will be a great, original story first. And a simple one. Simple stories are the best. Stories don't need to be convoluted or "message heavy" in order to entertain. A good script is the life essence of any great film and a good script is also a simple script especially when it comes to horror. Add to this that there is also a tendency to approach horror films with the idea that "more is better" and you end up in what I believe to be overkill. And this happens both in mainstream and VOD horror films. So you get so many horror films that pump on the accelerator all the way and in the end they have no clear ending, there is no conclusion to the story, no meaning behind it. It just ends. And reading many reviews for different horror films that's an issue that many fans have. Too many movies end letting people go like "That was it? Really?" On the other hand you have some very "artsy" elevated horror movies in which nothing really happens all the way and then they go bonkers in the last five minutes. Balance is lost in many recent horror films.
So I was inspired to create "Escalation" to kinda show that to create good horror or horror comedy you don't need to go "big and fancy", you do not need huge budgets nor do you need to go all "cerebral and mind bending" on it. I understand it is hard to be fresh after decades of movies and tv shows. Many ideas have already been explored. But human imagination is limitless. There is always something new to bring to the table, it will obviously be influenced by what we have seen before, even in my short "Escalation" the shadow of Sam Raimi or Dario Argento is evident. But still, you can always find a good, honest story, simple, fresh and engaging, and you can always do all your best to bring the story full circle. To prove so I thought, demons, ghosts, masked killers, mutations, we have seen it all before. Then what if I could create a film with just one actor, set in just one location with an enemy that is not even there? A low budget film that visually looks amazing and is as shocking and funny as classics like "The Evil Dead" or "Dead Alive" and like those classics, at their time of release, also feels new? I basically wanted to prove that you can be both "arthouse" and "mainstream" at the same time and have a fun, original story that makes people go "damn, never saw that before".
This became a sort of challenge for me. Bring horror back to what made it great in the first place. Simplicity, even ingenuity I dare to say. And freedom. No rules, no chains. Just as great Directors like Sam Raimi and Tobe Hooper did at the beginning of their careers. Just go wild like a kid in a toy store.
--What would you like viewers to take away from your work?
I just hope that viewers will remember why horror is a great genre in the first place, which is again simplicity and creativity. I would like them to go out of a screening thinking about how basic but still amazing what they just saw was. And I hope viewers will feel satisfied, satisfied by the slow burn comedy and satisfied by the mayhem that ensues, by the payoff.
As I was mentioning before balance. I'd like to hear the audience say that there was balance in "Escalation". And also I would like to inspire other filmmakers to take courage and shoot their films or shorts with what they have. I did almost all myself on "Escalation", dried up all my savings, but in the end I made the best out of what I could use. I just want to remind everyone of this. Last thing I also hope to ignite with this short and my further works, is to remind the audience that they must pretend more. In terms of quality, in terms of scripts, in terms of stories.
When filmmaking becomes a "mass production" process that pumps out copycats non stop, all of us, as audience and fans, must pretend more. I see way too many people going "It was alright, good enough I guess" and this is also what kills quality. Movies cannot be "good enough", as paying customers we all need to pretend the best. Filmmaking has always been about making money and that is normal and a natural thing, but once movies were making money while delivering great thrills, nowadays movies are making money by being pumped out by the thousands and slowly dumbing down people having them believing that "good enough" is the best they can expect.
--What was your motivation in becoming a filmmaker/actor?
From my answers above I believe my motivations may already have transpired. It doesn't matter how we see the world of movies or Hollywood today, there is no denying that while in the past we had massive phenomenon like "Indiana Jones", "Star Wars", "Halloween", "Nightmare" and later on "Scream" and such, and cult movies were born regularly even in the low budget or VHS worlds, today this is no more the case. Today a movie gets made and the week after it is already forgotten and there is something new around. Nothing is really leaving a legacy anymore.
No movie is really making a true impact. And I believe it has to do with what "heart" today's filmmakers put into their films. With the exclusion of a few examples of great filmmakers that still have an impact, the majority is just "going through the motions" and the audience can feel that. That's the very same reason why most modern remakes or reboots are quickly forgotten. They lack the heart of the originals. The heart is what made those classics eternal. This is a reality which I experienced very closely by working in martial arts films as an actor.
There is no more heart, producers believe that just a couple of cool kicks will do the trick. In the horror genre the same is happening. So by stepping behind the camera I hope I can give my contribution to this cause, make movies magical as they once were and bring new and fresh stories to the audience. Stories that can leave a mark for decades. And I hope many other up and coming filmmakers will share this same goal.