If there's a thin line between confidence and arrogance, Ti West straddles it. Not unlike many of the characteristics ascribed to his films, however, that's a compliment rather than a criticism: his sense of self-worth as a filmmaker is predicated on personal responsibility, and because he participates in the writing, directing and editing of his films (among other duties), he is eager to take the credit, or blame, for the end result, which is why he's insistent – or, as he admits, "a little difficult" – about the fact that he wants what makes it to the screen to be his vision rather than the result of test-marketing or some other form of studio interference.
The House of the Devil is his latest film, and thankfully it arrives in theaters this week unimpeded by any such changes. Cinematical recently sat down with West at a Los Angeles press day for a short one-on-one discussion of the film, which follows a college sophomore (Jocelin Donahue) who gets more than she bargains for when a lucrative babysitting job turns into a night of abject terror. In addition to discussing the film's note-perfect recreation of 1980s horror conventions, not to mention period details, West talked about striking a balance between mundane boredom and mortifying terror, and finally, learning lessons even from lackluster filmmaking experiences.
Cinematical: How did this evolve, and how did you develop the aesthetic for House of the Devil? It's an incredibly faithful recreation of a 1980s horror movie.