St. Vincent Directed a Horror Movie Because She's Scared of Them

There's something special about the new horror movie XX. Not only is it an anthology, featuring four completely different and terrifying short films, but it also boasts four fantastic female directors. Karyn Kusama handled a disturbing secret in The Box, a celebration takes a dark turn in The Birthday Party by Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), Roxanne Benjamin hones in on a camping trip gone wrong in Don't Fall, and Jovanka Vuckovic deals with the devil in Her Only Living Son. We sat down with Clark and Benjamin to discuss the groundbreaking project, female empowerment, and the horror genre as a whole.

  • Annie Clark on what inspired her directorial debut: "ToiletPaper Magazine, Michael Haneke (Funny Games), Weekend at Bernie's meets Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?."
  • Roxanne Benjamin on her inspiration: "Creep Show, Tales From the Crypt, Twilight Zone, EC Comics, Dimestore Pulp."
  • Clark on how directing has changed her creative process: "It has in the sense of working on projects that are nonmusical, that are like strange art installations. And in the sense of how things can be shot and even . . . so getting to explore the meaning among film and storytelling and storytelling in a different medium. It's so fun and you exercise different parts of your brain. . . . You get better at everything."
  • Clark on why she chose to direct a horror movie: "I don't like horror movies. I'm scared of them. But I'm scared of everything. Fear motivates most human actions. . . . Stare into the void. See what happens."
  • Clark on a directorial fantasy: "I'd like to be in the same room as Isabelle Huppert, Cate Blanchett, and Sarah Paulson. . . . I would like to be involved creatively in something with all of them."
Magnet Films
  • Benjamin on the power of having four female directors: "Any different voice offers a different perspective of the world. Whether it's female, or low-income, or just nonwhite in any form is outside of what we consider the norm of what we see in filmmaking. So much of it is dominated by a while male voice. . . . I don't have all the answers."
  • Clark on how women can assert themselves in male-dominated spaces: "I think the answer is make things. Let the art speak for itself. Make things, make things. Encourage other women. Don't be women who are misogynistic. Don't be crabs in a barrel. Make things."
  • Clark on being a famous musician: "I warned her [nods at Benjamin], I was like, 'I'm kind of a big deal in the music industry.' She did not care."

XX is now playing in limited release.