I guess I will start out trying to explain why I made this film and telling you a little bit about my background.
My name is Stanley Farmer, I am 35-years-old and I am proud to be an Englishman living here in New York City. When I was nine years old I was sent, happily, to live with my Aunt and Uncle (for reasons which I will not go into right now). So I moved from the quiet suburbs of Kings Lynn to Gants Hill in East London. Not the prettiest of surroundings but a veritable – Brave New World – for one who had previously led such a sheltered life.
I almost became a reclusive oddball while a child but my life changed when I was handed a VHS video camera by my Uncle Ben on the south bank of London’s Thames. I instantly developed a curious nature and eager voyeuristic tendencies. I discovered a surge of power behind the camera and a delight in how acutely it affected people’s behavior. Humans, unlike objects of nature and the environment, act rather differently in front of a camera. Their ability to transform from bashful wallflowers to confident exhibitionists inspired me to create several short films as a child, none of which I am especially proud. But within those shaky moments of amateur dramatics I found myself seduced by cinema, especially films that contained elements of fear and the unexpected.
I pursued my new-found vocation through my teens at a rather posh boarding school and developed a keen desire to become a trendsetter. I tried applying to film schools and found them reluctant to accept me and so became a rather bitter proofreader for the local newspaper. Before I knew it a nasty black streak had replaced my optimism. As a filmmaker you try and fail repeatedly but each time you fail, you lose something inside. You believe the producers, the spinners of dreams who endlessly promise until your vision and their words dissolve like an old fifties movie montage. This is filmmaking!
After a spiritual and physical awakening, I decided I would come to New York armed with the tools to pursue my dream of making the scariest horror film ever. Why horror? It’s a simple answer: Horror is a genre I have studied well, from Hammer House, Nosferatu and Rosemary’s Baby to Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity. Horror can work with no-name actors, the genre lends itself to a low budget, and scaring people is down to being smart. For years I have watched the terrible cheap gore-fests that are churned out with the same empty plots involving maniacs, mental patients, grudge holders, ghosts and reincarnation, and know I can do better.
Why New York? London burned me pretty badly. The jaded people there shuffle around with gloomy outlooks under torpid grey skies. And as the clouds weigh on their shoulders they poison your aspirations and dreams with insecurity and fear masked as wit. Those naysayers know nothing about getting ahead!
But after several years of trying and failing to gain investment in New York, and working as a bad waiter, I gave up…trying to get investment that is. I mean, who is going to give a first-time director $500K to shoot his movie? So I decided to say : “Fuck it!” I’ll do it myself. I have my own camera, some lights and a microphone. I already have the concept and an apartment in mind that I can use for the location. This was my time to show everyone what raw talent and bitter frustration can produce! After months of thinking about a concept so dark and unnerving it made me question my sanity, I retreated into myself and put pen to paper, reveling in the depression and poverty that fueled my passion for success. I was determined to write a film that captured fear and produced genius moments that elevated the horror genre beyond the contrived façade of Hollywood.
A meditation on fear…real fear with real people!