We talked with Hauntology’s writer/director, Parker Brennon (they/them), to learn more about what makes them tick, their favorite films, and what they look for in a great film.
Where are you from and what’s your background?
I’m a writer/director from Central Ohio. I have a BFA in Motion Picture and Television Producing from Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Before devoting my life to movies, I worked as a Research Assistant at The Ohio State University. I also had a summer job at an AMC theater, where I was the best ticket tearer in town.
Which filmmakers and creators do you think are really innovating in the world of film and TV?
At the moment, my favorite filmmakers are David Lynch, Anna Biller, Mike Flanagan, and Axelle Carolyn. David and Anna may be the biggest innovators of the group. They both have spent their entire careers telling stories that go against the grain. They inspire me to take risks.
David reminds me that if the storytelling is effective and interesting, the audience doesn’t need to understand everything that’s going on. Anna reminds me not to be afraid of bold choices. A story world doesn’t have to be obsessed with naturalism. A highly stylized story can be much more interesting.
What are some of your favorite films (indie or mainstream)?
- Carnival of Souls (1962)
- Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
- Death Becomes Her (1992)
- Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
- Pride & Prejudice (2005)
- Suspiria (1977)
- It Follows (2014)
- Black Swan (2010)
- The Descent (2005)
- May (2002)
What do you look for in a film you’d want to produce?
I love stories about women and queer people, because I tend to connect with those characters the most. I also have an affinity for stories that are horror or horror-adjacent. Some of my favorite genre combos are horror and adventure, horror and mystery, and of course, horror and LGBT+ stories.
Who is a dream filmmaker or actor you’d want to work with?
The list of actors I want to work with seems never-ending! The best part is a few of those actors have been cast in Hauntology.
Outside of Hauntology, at the top of my list are Angela Bettis, Meg Foster, Barbara Hershey, and Jessica Lange.
What is something most people don’t know about your job?
Perhaps how much a story changes in each part of its lifecycle. The way a story is directed and the way a film is put together in post-production have wildly huge impacts. As somebody who writes and directs, I continue to be astonished by how much my stories change from screenplay to final export.
What is a recent film that inspires you creatively?
The Love Witch is such a distinct directorial vision that manages to be both funny and tragic. It’s a stunning film that reminds us of filmmaking from the ’60s and ’70s, without feeling outdated or unoriginal. The film X reminds me of slashers and times gone by, but it’s so brilliantly crafted and engaging that I wasn’t bored for a moment. I also love the music Chelsea Wolfe made for the soundtrack.
What’s your favorite scary movie?
I’ve been saying for years that it’s Carnival of Souls (1962) and I stand by it. I don’t love it because it’s the best or scariest horror film. I love it because it’s atmospheric and inspiring. The mixture of its flaws and brilliance reminds me that an indie film doesn’t have to be “perfect.” It’s much better to be interesting than perfect.
Stay tuned for more Q&As from other talented members of our cast and crew.