An Interview With Horror Director Rob Himebaugh – Part 2
Rob Himebaugh is a horror writer/ director and composer who is responsible for the award-winning 2012 short film, “Eaglewalk”, which can be seen on Youtube. He recently launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to finance his shocking short film “Silk“ and talks to me, Dr. Morbid, about his past and future endeavors. Here is the second part of our interview.
Dr. Morbid: What inspired you to make Silk? I know it was based after a real life story, so did you just read about it and the story stuck with you? Or did you just have a fear of spiders that you wanted to face yourself? Personally the idea of something laying eggs inside of me and then exploding or crawling out of my body, like the chestburster in Alien, terrifies me.
Rob Himebaugh: Silk is a composite of a lot of story ideas, everything from “supposed” true-life stories of women being “invaded” by insects in the night, to time-tested urban legends, to classic B-movie creature feature formulas. As with Eaglewalk, I wanted the project to offer up a new genre. There have been a lot of killer spider movies, but only one of them (Arachnophobia) deals with normal-sized spiders, so I felt there was room for a facelift. I love crossing genres, so there’s also lots of CIA espionage material and bold, Vertigo-inspired romance, combined with the horror in a stately, old-school aesthetic.
DM: Silk relies on a terrifying conclusion, in which spiders are birthed inside of the main character and escape out of her vagina, consuming her alive. How are you planning on shooting this scene? I, for one, can’t wait to see the finished product.
RH: We’re still working on the details of the finale, but it will be a combination of lots of elements. We’re not only working with live tarantulas, but also using digital spiderlings combined with practical gore FX, in addition to life-size marionettes (dead, preserved tarantulas controlled by monofilament wire) and oversized “bigatures” of the spiderlings for use in extreme close-ups. So lots of challenging elements, and lots of new territory for me and everyone else on the team.
DM: Your film Silk requires the use of tasteful nudity for both the insemination scene and the shocking finale. How do you straggle the line between being tasteful or pornographic, especially in a film as short as yours?
RH: There is a lot of adult material in Silk, including nudity. That was always the plan. Honestly, when was the last time you saw an erotic killer spider movie? We’re not out to make something gratuitous, but like Antichrist or even Basic Instinct, a cinematic approach to the material does a lot to legitimize the nudity. In the case of Silk, I want to celebrate the female form before totally destroying it. It’s a morality tale, and it straddles both extremes. I think people will look at the explicit nudity in the film and agree it’s appropriate, since the gore – the other end of the spectrum – is equally extreme.
DM: Did you learn anything from the filming of Eaglewalk that you incorporated into the filming of Silk?
RH: I think with every film you make, you hone your visual eye, and your sense of rhythm. But you don’t get better by studying others. You get better by doing it yourself, and learning from your mistakes. Eaglewalk was two years ago. I’m overdue for an education.
DM: Not only do you write and direct your own movies, but you also compose the music for them. Music is very important in horror films, just look at something like Jaws, Halloween or Suspiria. Do you feel like you have more control over your audience and the vision you want to show, by controlling the music?
RH: Regarding music, it’s not about maintaining control over my vision of the film. I just really enjoy writing music for film. It started out of necessity, since I couldn’t find any composers with a strong melodic sensibility (my idol has always been Jerry Goldsmith.) Today, I think it’s a good skill for a director to have, especially when you’re pitching projects. A director who can compose is a bit like a DP who owns his own Epic. Investors get a two-for-one, and you’re more liable to get the gig, assuming your work is any good.
DM: Is there any advice you would like to give to aspiring independent filmmakers or writing tips you would like to share with aspiring screenwriters?
RH: If I could give two pieces of advice, they would be A) to go to film school, and go to film school in California. It’s expensive as hell, but the opportunities to network and generate content (there’s no way I could have made Eaglewalk, a $40,000+ short, outside of school), will serve you well in the long-term. If you’re a director, develop a second skill. Write, compose, shoot, edit, produce. Diversify. Even if you can’t do someone else’s job, you know where they’re coming from. Naïve directors stay directors and hardly get work. Filmmakers flourish.
DM: And last but not least, a stupid question. There has been a confirmed rumor that the Studios are looking to make the next Friday the 13th film a found-footage horror flick. I, for one, strongly oppose this. What are your feelings about that?
RH: Again, the original F13 is my favorite movie of all time, and I’ve memorized all the sequels, and cherish them all. I’ll love the sequel regardless of its medium, but found-footage? Really? Bring Adam Green onboard and let the man make a traditional entry. Or better yet, hire me!
DM: Thanks very much for the interview. So before we wrap this up, is there anything you would like to plug? Where can people see your new short film, Silk, once the film is completed?
RH: No plugs for a while; funding ended yesterday! But people can keep up with Silk by visiting our Facebook page. They’ll find behind-the-scenes photos, cuts from the score, and eventually, the trailer for the film, and festival news. But the movie probably won’t be free to view online for another year.
Thanks again for the interview Rob, we here at Morbidly Amusing are excited to see Silk in its finished state. As per usual, stay turned for all future updates on Rob’s future projects right here. And check out his first amazing short, Eaglewalk, in its entirety below.