sending messages back in time and informing our side of what the enemy is about to do.
How did you achieve that peculiar look in the dream sequences? I shot it with a hand-held video camera and then re-photographed it on a tele- vision set.
That’s actually your voice narrating the dream. Is it? I don’t remember. Yeah, maybe it is my voice. Probably.
Watching Darkness, the AIDS metaphor appears explicit in the explosive exchange of fluids as a means of spreading the possession from person to person. Incidentally, Anne Howard, the girl who is first possessed by the fluid, is now America’s fabulous queen of commer- cials – but, yes, I see what you mean. I don’t know that I considered the AIDS metaphor at the time but I think one can read into it, certainly. I don’t reject that idea out of hand but since it was meant as this sort of obscene liquid, that was more of what I was thinking. See, when you are dealing with me, the simpler the idea, the better off you are going to be because I don’t tend to over-intellectualize these things. But I also don’t negate what you are saying.
The movie could also be seen as a response to critics who attacked your earlier films for being “anti-in- tellectual.” Uh-huh, and I don’t know what they were talking about. Maybe it’s accu- rate but I don’t think so. I’ve always maintained that movies aren’t an intel- lectual medium, I’ll give them that. They are driven by the audience’s emotional responses but maybe there is a bit of anti-intellectualism that has crept in. I don’t know. It was uninten- tional, if it was.
Darkness name-drops famed physicist Erwin Schrödinger in the opening fifteen minutes, and in Pro- fessor Birack you have a powerful intellectual presence. I know, but that wasn’t a conscious move on my part to counter those crit- icisms. That was only because of my obsession with quantum mechanics. Mentioning every scientist or physicist that was involved was not my trying to prove to everybody that I was now being intellectual. It didn’t go that way.
The canister of liquid is another of your amorphous monsters follow-
Face Of Fear: Kelly (Susan Blanchard) in the grip of the Devil.
ing on from the faceless hordes of Assault on Precinct 13, the masked maniac of Halloween, the vengeful sea mist of The Fog and the shape- shifting alien of The Thing. See a pattern emerging here? [Laughs] Yes, I do and it’s very simple. When I sit down and think about evil, and there is evil in the world, it’s often very hard to get a hold of it and grasp the why of it – what is going on? It just seems to exist outside of our under- standing. I mean, we have made some big leaps in as far as trying to under- stand what evil is all about. Yes, it’s a lack of empathy but that’s a very cold scientific explanation. I often feel com- fortable portraying evil as something almost indefinable; something that is just out of our reach, that we are never quite able to put our finger on.
By removing the human element from your monsters? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes that is scarier. There is a trend in movies – and I’m not quite sure where it began – but now it’s become a rule that you
just can’t have a creature or a thing as the villain. There has to be a human vil- lain involved too. That may have come from Jaws, where you had the mayor opening the beaches against all sane advice, and so he was a human we could hate. I remember a studio exec- utive telling me that once: “It just can’t be a giant creature or the Devil or evil, it must have a human face too.” I didn’t know what he was talking about.
You once told me that you do not believe in God – Yes, but let me change that a little: I don’t believe in the supernatural. I don’t believe in supernatural acts. I don’t think they are real. Maybe that’s a better way of putting it, but yes, you are absolutely right.
Did you consider Darkness as some kind of statement on religious faith? I would not say it’s a statement on it, no. I don’t believe that movies should make statements.