An Interview with Staci Layne Wilson [WiHM 2017]

Staci Layne Wilson is well known for her film reviews, interviews (on camera and in writing), her writing, and now producing and directing.  Her interests are varied, but she clearly has a preference for horror as seen in her films such as the trippy triptych The Key to Annabel Lee, the sexy Fetish Factory, etc.  Her knowledge of the genre and Hollywood’s inner workings is wide and she uses it well in her creations.

Her trivia on IMDB is rather telling: “Has worn Freddy Krueger’s hero claw, George Romero’s glasses, and the original Hannibal Lecter mask.”

Staci, please tell us a bit about what drives you to create films.
I’m not an artist with pencils and paint, and writing is so dependent on the reader’s imagination, that it’s the best way to visually present stories I’m interested in telling. I also find the collaborative process of filmmaking to be interesting. Not necessarily better – I do love the solitude and autonomy of writing – but it’s more gratifying in many ways.

Why do you think you find yourself working in the horror genre?
Horror sort of claimed me a long time ago, and it’s just held on. While I am interested in many other genres and stories, especially when it comes to books, I never get bored with horror. I think it’s because it’s so multifaceted: Dracula is horror, Friday the 13th is horror, and so is The Monster – and the three movies could not be more different from one another.

As a horror filmmaker, what inspires you?
The stories, to some extent, but mainly the visuals. I love dark and light, shadows and sunlight, and the ability to play with color and contrast. You don’t see many stylistic romantic comedies, for instance.

What are some of your big influences and why do they resonate with you.
Anne Rice’s book were a huge influence on me, growing up. She was the first author I read who wrote serious, layered, and historically-researched sagas with vampires, witches, and the like, as the cast of characters. She wrote in flowery prose

sometimes, which I suppose is a female-author stereotype – but to me, it only enhanced and heightened the worlds and players she created.

As a woman in a still male-dominated genre, what does the Women in Horror Month movement mean to you?
It’s a good thing, overall. I’m not a huge “protester” in that I post female filmmaker stats of social media and I don’t join groups, etc., but I think any celebration of minorities doing good work is a positive. For my part, I just keep on writing and making movies – even if they’re smaller projects, I am doing the work and that’s progress in and of itself.

Who are other female horror filmmakers and writers you believe need more spotlight and why?
If they are, maybe I haven’t heard of them yet…! I think I know the same names everyone else does. But I will toss out one name you’ll be hearing a lot of, soon: Stephanie Paris. She did an incredible romantic vampire movie that’s a real retro throwback called Black Hearts. It’s not out yet. She also directed a thriller based on a screenplay I wrote for Blanc-Biehn Productions and she really killed it. (Jennifer Blanc is a producer who’s a real champion to women in film.)

What would you say to a teen girl dreaming of making horror films, writing in the genre?
Don’t dream it, do it. There’s really nothing stopping anyone these days, what with the ease of technology (hello, iPhone) and access to audience (post bits on Instagram).

On a more personal level, do you believe being in Los Angeles to a musician father and pinup mother have influenced your art?  If so, in what way? Absolutely! All three – L.A., Mom, and Dad – are in my DNA. There are not enough pixels on this website to fully answer that question, so, if folks are interested in learning more about the L.A. art and horror scene, they should check out my new book “So L.A.” (coming out in March.)

What do you hope the public takes away from your work?
A sense of fun. All I really care about is the entertainment factor – I hope they enjoy it, on some level. I also love being able to teach the audience something: a little trivia tidbit, or a new word they didn’t know before.

Please tell us about your upcoming work, what you have coming for fans of your work that you can talk about.
I have the aforementioned memoir, “So L.A.” which is about growing up in a loopy household in L.A., eventually culminating into a career in writing about horror, and making horror films. I also have a zom-com called Fetish Factory coming out this year. If you want to see something right now, check out a bigfoot crime thriller I produced: The Fiancé. It’s streaming all over the place!

Thank you Staci and please do keep us updated on all of your upcoming work.

Keep up with Staci!