Writer and director Amelia Moses is making a name for herself in the horror genre. Wicked Horror recently had the chance to speak with her about her latest project, Bloodthirsty (check out our review right here). Read on for more information about her work on the film and her favorite women in horror.
WICKED HORROR: Congratulations on the upcoming film release! I watched Bloodthirsty recently and really enjoyed it. I was wondering, what initially drew you to this project?
AMELIA MOSES: I guess when I first read the script, what struck me was very much the initial premise of it—this juxtaposition of this werewolf creature transformation, as well as writing an album and this artistic, creative process, and how those are two things that you don’t necessarily imagine would fit together. And I thought there’s an interesting parallel between someone kind of becoming more and more ambitious about their art and becoming more fulfilled as an artist, while also becoming more monstrous as well.
WICKED HORROR: I saw that you have worked with Lauren Beatty before on a previous film that you directed. How did the casting process come about? Was that something where you knew wanted her involved?
AMELIA MOSES: When I came on board, the only actor we had that was confirmed was Greg Bryk for Vaughn. But I brought both Lauren Beatty and Katherine King So, who plays Charlie, on board as well. Lauren I had worked with before, and Katherine, we actually went to film school together, and I always wanted an opportunity to work with her as an actor. For Lauren, she definitely came to mind when I read the script. Mainly because I knew she was a singer, and I knew she could act, obviously. So that’s a good thing when you’re hiring an actor for a movie [laughter]. So I knew she could sing. And also, I’d heard a song she’d written which came out a few years ago, and I was a really big fan. So I knew she was also a songwriter, as well. So you know, the fact that she had experience with that, I felt like she could kind of bring something to the role as well from that perspective. She’s just also a very well-rounded person to work with. She’s very talented as an actor, but she’s also very open on set, and really dives into things.I knew this was also going to be quite a strenuous role physically as well. You know, there’s prosthetics and there’s all these things. Lauren just really throws herself in, and I needed that commitment for that role.
WICKED HORROR: You’ve worked on other projects as both writer and director. How was this one with being in just the director role? Are there certain challenges that come up just directing versus when you’ve written the project and directed it?
AMELIA MOSES: Yeah, I think the biggest difference was with my first feature, Bleed with Me, I’d written the script. So I’d been developing it for probably like, a year and a half to two years. When I got on set, I was like, “I know who these people are, I know what the story is.” It was just very clear for me because I’d just spent time with the characters while writing it. Whereas with Bloodthirsty, you know, I hadn’t written it. I’d also come on board quite last minute— only two months before we started shooting. So I was more figuring that stuff out on set, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was a new experience for me to be embracing these brand new things, you know. Because it was just a new city I’d never shot in before and a new crew. All that kind of stuff. So that was the biggest difference. Having written my first film, there was a comfort and knowing that it was all for me. Versus this was much more working with someone else’s script. Like, getting to know that script and trying to figure out what that script was going to say. All that kind of stuff kind of while we were shooting because everything was just happening to us.
WICKED HORROR: That certainly keeps you on your feet. Sounds like a different challenge that I’m sure helps you grow and learn in that way when it’s not something you’ve written.
AMELIA MOSES: You learn a lot for sure. And directing is not something you can do every day. So any opportunity to be on set and just be shooting stuff is an amazing experience.
WICKED HORROR: When I spoke with Wendy Hill-Tout and Lowell, we touched on the fact that Bloodthirsty is a very female driven film. I’m a big reader, too, so I mentioned books, and how I’ve seen an increase recently in female driven stories. It’s great to see more of that in film as well. I have a couple of questions to go with that thought. The first is: are you a horror fan yourself?
AMELIA MOSES: I definitely am. Yeah, one hundred percent.
WICKED HORROR: Who are some of your favorite women in horror?
AMELIA MOSES: I mean, one director I really admired for a long time is Karyn Kusama, who did The Invitation and Jennifer’s Body. I saw The Invitation at Fantasia in 2016 or so. It was just one of those screenings that will always stick with me because I knew nothing about the film. That film has been a huge inspiration for me. So she’s someone I admire a lot, because she’s very subversive, I think, with her choices.
Her new film, Destroyer, I finally saw recently. It’s a really interesting take on a 70s crime film, but it has the main characters as an older woman. Just by doing that, it’s just subverting so many things, but also embracing a lot of imagery from that genre. So yeah, I’m a big fan of hers. I also really like Jennifer Kent who did The Babadook, as well. Those are two women that I really admire.
WICKED HORROR: Do you have any other future projects coming up that you can talk about?
AMELIA MOSES: Right now I’m just kind of processing the last two films that I made back to back. I am working on a script with a writer from Toronto, which is her original idea— it’s a tentacle monster movie. So there’s some more monsters on the horizon. I want to continue writing myself, so I’m also trying to think of the next film that I will write.