By TNHC's Editorial Director, Emily Malone.
If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the online horror film festival circuit this year, you’ll have been treated to a whole sinister selection from independent film makers around the world. But none have hit me quite like the 14-minute Slasher I watched at Soho Horror Fest, The Rule of Three.
Using a home invasion scenario to deal with the topic of living with OCD, this short horror packs as much of a punch as it does emotional depth, and has been screened at top horror festivals, including Filmquest and Horrible Imaginings.
It’s won various awards from HorrorHaus Film Festival and HorrOrigins, and recently won Best Student Film at Screamfest - making director, writer and producer Elwood Quincy Walker the youngest director to win this award at 20 years old.
I reached out to Elwood for a little chat about it…
Emily: First of all, congratulations on your awards! We’ll talk a little about the film later on but for now, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into directing?
Elwood: I first started making movies when I was five years old after watching Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas and fell in love with filmmaking. I spent my childhood making videos using my friends, family and anybody I could convince to be a part of it.
Then at age 13 I became a professionally signed commercial director making spots for Disney, TEDx, and several other companies. Since then I've continued to direct, write, produce and production design several award winning horror short films such as Kissed, which is now streaming on Gunpowder & Sky's horror platform ALTER.
I am a HUGE horror fan and hope to direct my first feature length film soon!
Emily: We were blown away by The Rule of Three and how you were able to pack so much emotional depth into just 14 minutes of horror. What inspired this meaningful twist on the Slasher genre?
Elwood: Thank you so much! The response to the film has been fantastic so far and I couldn't be happier.
I really wanted to make a smart slasher/home invasion horror film with a dramatic and emotional impact. I tried to challenge the trope of the final girl and her decision making by motivating it with something very serious and real (her OCD and intrusive thoughts) to build tension as she struggles the battle of her internal vs external needs making a suspenseful and cathartic cinematic experience.
Emily: At its core, Rule of Three is an empowering film that addresses what it’s like living with OCD - a widely misunderstood and underrepresented mental health disorder. Was this a difficult subject to tackle knowing horror’s history of stigmatizing mental health disorders? (e.g Psycho, Halloween, AHS Asylum)
Elwood: Absolutely. Before writing the script I did a ton of research on OCD and intrusive thoughts, it was very important to me to take the time to do so. The film is all about overcoming yourself and facing your inner demons. So I wanted to make sure I portrayed OCD in a realistic way and one that didn't add to the stigma in a negative aspect.
Emily: As horror fans, we all have that first experience of horror cinema that sticks in our minds. Are there any films that stand out in your mind as your ‘gateway’ to horror?
Elwood: The first horror movie I ever watched was SAW at the tender age of five. I vividly remember being so obsessed with the DVD cover in the horror section at my local Blockbuster and begging my parents for weeks to rent it.
When they finally gave in and we watched it together, I was absolutely horrified, but it was a family movie night I'll never forget! SAW was the film that really sparked my passion for horror.
Emily: We can’t wait to see what you bring out next! Do you have any other projects in the works at the moment?
I'm currently working on adapting The Rule Of Three into a feature length screenplay. Hopefully you'll see it sometime soon-ish? ;)
Emily: The final but most important question is, where can folks watch your films?
Elwood: The Rule Of Three is currently on it's festival circuit screening at various film festivals so follow me on Instagram at @elwoodw to find out where it's playing next. You can find my other films Kissed and Trick on my website at https://www.elwoodqwalker.com