"The House with a Clock in its Walls": News | Reviews | Discussion

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Film News: The New Shocking Is Doing a PG Movie

At an editing bay on the Universal Studios lot recently, director Eli Roth screened scenes from The House With a Clock in Its Walls for Chris Lea of Vulture and the two chatted about why Roth wanted to do a kids’ film now:
You showed me a scary scene in which a room full of automatons come to life and attack the protagonists. What’s the difference between directing a sequence like that for a kids’ film and showcasing the horrific violence for which you are known?

Well, you know, Steven said to me, “Make it scary.” He said, “Kids want to be scared. You gotta make it scary.” Sebastian’s lab in Blade Runner was a huge influence on this. Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. The clown dream in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure — there are shades of that. Tim Burton, you can feel that influence.

It’s not horror because horror implies that you’re really trying to horrify people. When you make a horror movie, you’re really trying to disturb someone. When it’s scary and magical and fun, it’s like a haunted house, where it’s scary and spooky, but it’s not going to traumatize you. It actually gets kids really excited.

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