My Sinister Seven Q&A with Rue Morgue Magazine!
We managed to snag photographer JOSHUA HOFFINE fresh from his cinematic debut, the stunning short film BLACK LULLABY, for this week’s Sinister Seven Q&A. Hoffine has been hard at work on INNSMOUTH, a “Lovecraft photograph” inspired by the master’s classic tale The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and starring DOUG JONES and featuring creature design by J. ANTHONY KOSAR.
1. What is the difference between telling a story with a photograph and telling a story with a movie?
The power of a photograph comes from its perceived limitations – it is a fixed moment in time. This inherent feature of the photograph can be used to great effect for Suspense and Horror. Unlike a movie, there is no before and there is no after. There is only the single moment – frozen and unresolvable. And because the image is fixed, and does not fleet across the screen like a movie, the metaphoric aspects of the image can be highlighted as details in the background. This added layer of ‘depth’ engages the viewer in a way that is different than cinema. The photograph becomes more reflective due to its static nature.
2. Tell us about the worst nightmare you’ve ever had.
I once had a terrible nightmare where somebody was hiding in the backseat of my car and slit my throat with a knife. It was the only dream I ever had that made me sit bolt upright in bed with a gasp – just like in the movies.
3. What makes a monster scary?
The absence of humanity, I think. That could be a lack of empathy, or a relish for violence and brutality. Or it can be expressed more symbolically as a non-humanoid monster, or even a distorted human form (like a clown, zombie, or vampire) where obvious humanity has been diminished.
4. What was your inspiration behind making BLACK LULLABY?
BLACK LULLABY was intended to be the climax to my photo series dealing with childhood fears. The inspiration for the film was simply an earnest desire to see one of my photographs move, while preserving the same ‘look’. It is an exercise in building tension, as much as it is about style. More and more, my new ideas are about moving pictures.
5. What inspired you to pursue a photo project based on Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth?
The project began as a suggestion from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in San Pedro, California. I read the story and loved it. Part of what made it exciting to me visually, was that the story featured a single person being chased through the city streets at night by hordes of monsters. The imagery is similar to I Am Legend, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or any modern zombie movie, but exists first in this story. I like the potential grandeur of this image, it’s spectacle – but I also like the core idea of being hunted down by an entire society.
6. What is the scariest story you have ever read?
Mabye, The Big Toe in Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark.
7. What’s next for Joshua Hoffine?
Next year I hope to publish a limited edition book of my photographs and then start work on a full-length Horror movie.
Thank you Rue Morgue!