GORE IN THE STORE
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans
IN CONVERSATION WITH STEWART THORNDIKE
Stewart Thorndike’s BAD THINGS centres on four friends who take a weekend retreat to an abandoned hotel. Ruthie (Gayle Rankin) has regrettably inherited the hotel from her grandmother, but it recalls bad memories from her childhood. Her desire to sell the hotel is not supported by her partner, Cal (Hari Nef), who has aspirations to renovate it and return it to its former glory. Joined by Maddie (Rad Pereira) and Fran (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), the four women are seduced by a supernatural presence that compels them to commit violence against one another.
Speaking with FrightFest, Thorndike remembers the uncomfortable inspiration for the film and the creative intentions that shaped her offbeat horror.
MATERNAL EXAGGERATION: “I've always liked horror because I love stories, but I also like visuals - I like exaggerating to get my point across. I've always found a freedom in horror that I appreciate. So, it becomes this altered space where you can take all these liberties and be as visual as you want. Motherhood has this potent power, and by putting it into this extraordinary package, I feel I can yell a little more loudly.”
THE QUESTION MARK: “I love stories where you don't know if the horror is real, that elongate that question mark. How long can you keep people in that wondrous state of not knowing where to plant their feet - I love that!”
UNCOMFORTABLY INSPIRED: “I had this awkward car ride experience. It was a long journey where I was supposed to drive somewhere with some guy, then, at the last minute, he brought a woman who was dealing with some intense grief - her mother had just died. She was also trying to determine if I was a threat because she had a romantic interest in the driver. It was a very strange trip, and I always wanted to make a story about it. That’s where the idea of Fran, this outsider, who is part of this group but doesn't belong, and the other characters that don't want to deal with her baggage came from.”
EXTERNAL VOICES: “The movie is about the power of motherhood, but what happens if that power isn't a nurturing presence but unrequited love, and it takes on these epic proportions? So, there’s a larger-than-life haunting by this mother figure, then at the same time I was watching Ted talks with Brene Brown. From one voice of authority to another voice of authority, I was thinking about getting advice from a Ted Talk and merging those two things.”
FEMININE HORROR: “I wanted to create a space that only preys on women's vulnerabilities. In my mind, I knew many other things had happened to women in this hotel. You must be vulnerable for the hotel's impact, so it's a bad weekend for them. The invasion or colonisation of their bodies, by whatever the spirit in the hotel is, suddenly takes them over.”
A THOUGHTFUL YET GLOOMY PERSPECTIVE: “I'm not interested in saying that women are good people or anything like that. I'm interested in exploring the depth of these non-straight white characters and just letting them rage out. I’m interested in looking at all the different aspects and layers of these women, which often get stripped away in stories. We’re boxed into these little vessels that are caring, light, or interested in what the world thinks women should be interested in. I have a lot of rage, and I get angry. I have a certain way of looking at the world and am not interested in saying anybody is good. I think the world is a bad place [laughs].”
ESCAPING BOREDOM: “I don't think rage is necessarily a bad thing. I'm not making moral judgments or giving any lesson plan for finding yourself. I do like to think about how people aren't living their full selves. I guess that could be along the same lines when I'm writing stories, but I want to prove this feeling I have that I don't completely understand. I teach sometimes and don't make stories where you know the answer. Try to be slightly confused by your stories, or else I will be bored.”
BAD THINGS is streaming on Shudder from 18 August 2023.
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans