Interview with Director and Producer Lou Simon [Women in Horror Month 2021]

First of all, please introduce yourself.
I’m Lou Simón. I’m a writer, director, and producer with five feature films under my belt.

What is it that attracts you the horror genre for your chosen field of creative work?
I’ve been a huge fan of the genre since I was a kid. To this day, I watch horror films for breakfast sometimes. I just love it, and it’s hard to say why. I guess it’s that feeling of suspense and anticipation that is such a rush.

Who inspires you in your work and in life?
In my work, I’d say that Alfred Hitchcock is my biggest inspiration. My mother was a fan of his, so I grew up watching really old Hitchcock films, instead of kids films. In life, I’d say Barbra Streisand. She is like a quadruple threat, and she’s a powerhouse. I saw an interview with her that Robert Rodriguez did for his show The Director’s Chair, and she talked about all the difficulties she experienced when she started to make films. I’ve been my own boss all my adult life, so I can definitely relate to everything she said.

Women in horror have made great strides, but it’s clear that a lot of work is still needed to make it a most inclusive genre. To you, what is the importance of a movement like Women in Horror Month?
In the indie scene, I think we’re doing really well. It’s in the studio system that we still have a long way to go. Just a couple of years ago, Jason Blum said, “there are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror.” I know he apologized and that Blumhouse is making an effort to be more inclusive, but there are still so many more hurdles for us. Just this last year, I was being considered for a show, and I didn’t get it cause they had a bad experience with another female director. That makes no sense. If you had a bad experience with a male director, do you then not want to hire a male director again?

What would you tell an up-and-coming creative in the world of horror who sees that being a woman/identifying as a women as something that makes it so much more difficult at times?
If as women we don’t do something just because it’s harder, then I don’t know many industries that we can go into. Sexism is not just something that exists in the film industry, or even the horror genre. It’s everywhere. When I started out as an attorney, I’d walk into the room and male clients would ask me when the attorney was coming. They always assumed that I was a paralegal or something. That just made me have to be stronger and get a very thick skin. I opened my own firm, and I’ve had my own business ever since, including my own production company. Like I always say, “if they don’t make room for you at the table, build your own damn table.”

What are your favorite bits of helpful advice that you have received about your work or your field?
Karen Lam, who is a very talented horror director, told me before I started filming HazMat that I should accept everything that goes wrong on set as meant-to-be by the production gods. I don’t know if she even remembers saying that, but it’s always stuck in my head. Some of the biggest disasters that have happened on set have actually made the film better, like when it snowed during the filming of All Girls Weekend.

In honor of celebrating Women in Horror Month, who do you believe viewers should keep an eye on in terms of the creative ladies in horror?
Everyone is already keeping up with Gigi Saul Guerrero, so I don’t think I even need to mention her. It’s so great to see a fellow Latina kicking ass. Karen Lam and Jill Gevargizian are two very talented directors that I really admire. In front of the camera, my girl, Jamie Bernadette, who is in All Girls Weekend, is killing it, and she’s directing her first film soon. Very proud and excited for her.

What do you have coming soon that you can talk to us about?
My film Agoraphobia just released in the U.S. It’s available to rent or buy on Amazon right now. It’s also streaming on the Binge Horror channel on RokuTV, and it’ll be available on TubiTV very soon.

I also just finished a thriller that we shot last year during the lock down. It’s not about the pandemic, but it was written, and was filmed , with all the social distancing precautions. You can watch the trailer.

Pop them links to follow your work here:
I’m @mslousimon on all the social media platforms (Got tired of everyone writing emails to Mr. Simon).