A24’s latest horror offering is Menbrand new movie Ex-Machina and Annihilation director Alex Garland.
Men will be released in theaters on May 20 and Oscar-nominated stars Jessie Buckley. Rory Kinner and Paapa Essiedu star alongside Buckley.
The film marks Garland’s first foray into full-fledged horror which “coils with increasing pressure, building in scares and intensity until it explodes in a mind-blowingly insane third act that veers into the Grand Guignol”.
Prior to the film’s release, Bloody Disgusting sat down for a panel discussion with Garland, where he discussed the surprising influences on his folk horror film.
It was revealed that the filmmaker completely rewrote an important horror sequence after watching a popular anime.
Garland explained, “This particular sequence was written as mutations, just like a sequence of mutations. There was kind of a vague thought that because we had this Green Man character, it would be about seasons. Mutations would come from things like green growth, or, if you have a dead fox and leave a camera on it for a week and then do some time lapse photography, it will decay and change. Maybe we’ll do the mutations like that.
“Then I got slapped in the face, creatively, watching this show The attack of the Titans with my daughter, who took on human forms and made, in some respects, quite subtle changes. The ones that lent, in a way that I like, to ridicule because I think actual ridicule is a pretty big part of this movie; a strange pathos, stupidity in certain respects, which rubs shoulders with horror and strangeness. It is important that these two things line up against each other. When I saw The attack of the Titans, I could see how inventive and creative it was, and it made me think a lot. I spent this Christmas making lots of sketches of forms, which became [redacted] sequence.”
When asked if more conventional genre influences might have shaped his folk horror, Garland replied, “Inevitably there would be. I saw The wicker man three times, and I know the film very well. So it’s kind of going to roll around in my head, whether I’m aware of it or not. But not really. Honestly, I try to avoid making films about other films. I am aware that other films will filter into thought.
“There’s a gunshot in Menwhich is a first person shooter towards a house, and even as we were settling in I was like, ‘Oh yeah, evil Dead,’ to the right? So it happens, but I don’t nudge and wink at the audience. It’s more like a direct influence, which is borderline theft, one might say, or unconscious theft. But I really avoid doing that. I still think cinema is a big church. I know a lot of movies are incredibly eager to be referential and know about other movies. I get it, and that’s fine, and I’m not criticizing it, but it’s not something I want to do. I will make films with an awareness of other films, but I try to make the film about something that has nothing to do with cinema if that makes sense. Something like the real world, I guess. But there are tons of movies in there. I mean, fillers. If I stopped to think about it, like this evil Dead scam, there would be tons, but yeah.