Watch: Scott Derrickson on recovering nostalgia in The black phone
Need a break from it all stranger things– fueled nostalgia? Well, Scott Derrickson’s new horror The black phonecurrently in theaters, might be just what you’re looking for.
“I like stranger things, really,” the director told Yahoo in an interview. “I’m on like, episode five of the new season. It’s great. But I got a little tired of constantly seeing stories where college kids in these kind of paranormal movies, you know, fantasy always came from the same suburban universe of Spielberg.
“I felt like we were still interpreting a whole era of growth through the window of what was really Steven Spielberg’s legacy.”
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The black phoneadapted from the 2004 short story by Joe Hill (son of legendary horror author, Stephen King), follows a young boy named Finney Shaw (Mason Thomas).
On a clear day, in the middle of the sidewalk outside his school, Finney is attacked and thrown into a van by a masked man known only to himself as The Grabber (Ethan Hawke). He wakes up in a basement. There’s just an old mattress and an unplugged phone.
Derrickson, with his film, draws directly on the main fears and paranoias of the late 70s, since the release of influential films like Friday 13 and Halloweento the massive cultural shifts that followed the Manson murders and the horrific carnage of serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy.
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It’s an attempt to capture a bit of the director’s own childhood, spent in Denver in the late ’70s.
“I grew up in a violent neighborhood,” Derrickson said. “It was a popular neighborhood where people were fighting all the time, bleeding all the time. Everyone’s parents were pretty violent. Everyone got the belt or worse.
“My own friend next door knocked on my door when I was nine. And I opened the door and he was crying and he said, ‘Someone murdered my mother’. His mother had been taken away and raped and wrapped in a phone cord and dumped in the local lake. My main association with my own childhood is fear. I just remember being scared all the time.
For a film as disturbing as The black phoneit became an immediate priority that its young actors felt safe and supported on set at all times.
Speaking to Yahoo, Mason Thomas joked that Ethan Hawke gave him “a noogie on the head” to lighten the mood between takes at the film’s central abduction scene. “I think I have a picture of it somewhere,” he added.
Madeleine McGraw, who plays Finney’s sister Gwen, also praised Derrickson’s approach to such sensitive material. “We talked a ton before this really intense scene that we had to do, which helped me so much, because I was so nervous,” she said.
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“One of the best things about working with Scott was that we felt like he was always there for us no matter what.”
The black phone is currently in theaters. Watch a trailer below.