Why do people enjoy being scared? “That’s something I don’t understand myself,” director Peter Strickland told viewers of the anthology film Field Guide to Evil, adding that his contribution to it was more perverse than scary. He also explained why it was set in Hungary. “I live there, on and off. We’ll see what happens after Brexit. The producer asked me to choose a Hungarian folk fairy tale and make it into a film.”
Since the success of his second film Berberian Sound Studio, the UK filmmaker’s name has been associated with the horror genre. “But I’m more interested in sound, for instance, than fear, how dissonant music works differently when you place it in the context of exploitation and fantasy, how it triggers your imagination. Some viewers complained that I didn’t scare them enough in Berberian Sound Studio,” Strickland said. Viewers at a Febiofest Q&A were also interested in finding out what was the first horror he saw (“The Omen, when I was about 10. To this day I still remember the scene with the staring dog accompanied by electronic music”). They were also curious about what horrors he enjoys today (“I watch Italian films from the ‘70s and ‘80s more than modern horrors”).
As well as Field Guide to Evil, Strickland is currently promoting his new film In Fabric, which will come to Czech cinemas later this year. “In my mind it’s a film about a department store and shopping. In Britain we’re obsessed with sales. People queue up all night. I wanted to explore that world,” the director said.