Northlander interviews MARTYRS' Pascal Laugier - and he spills about his HELLRAISER remake!!
Published at: Dec. 28, 2008, 11:04 p.m. CST by headgeek
Hey guys, The Northlander here again with an exclusive interview I was lucky enough to get with Pascal Laugier, director of the horror film MARTYRS.
I saw this film at the Stockholm Film Festival – see my review here: Click Here
After the film, there was a short Q & A with the audience and after that I got to sit down with him for 40 minutes and chat about the film, horror in general, cultural revolutions, his upcoming HELLRAISER remake and a lot of really interesting stuff. This was done some time after midnight, maybe around 1am or something and he had a flight to catch early in the morning back to France so the fact that he wanted to stay after the screening to do this I think was really cool.
For those of you who have read my review of this, you know I loved MARTYRS from the first viewing. It was a horror film I just connected with right away and I think Pascal is on the right track when it comes to making horror films right now so it’s gonna be really interesting to see what he cooks up for us with HELLRAISER.
So, here’s the interview.
The Northlander: Now, a lot of these questions are written during the screening, so...
Pascal Laugier: Don't worry. You can improvise.
The Northlander: ...they come in strange order sometimes. We're just gonna skip from topic to topic. Let's start by talking about the European horror wave.
Pascal Laugier: The actual one?
The Northlander: Yeah because there are a lot of European horror movies that's been coming out these past few years and I think there are more coming...
Pascal Laugier: Yes, Spain, France, England... Yeah.
The Northlander: Yeah and a few now from Sweden too.
Pascal Laugier: Yes, absolutely, and a great one. I loved LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.
The Northlander: Really? It's funny you should say that though because I talked to John Ajvide Lindqvist, the novelist... I don't know if you read the novel?
Pascal Laugier: No, no, but I was told [about it]
The Northlander: You should read the novel.
Pascal Laugier: Yeah, yeah.
The Northlander: He wrote the novel, but he also wrote the screenplay. And [It's funny] because I also did an interview with him a couple of months ago and I also asked him about the European horror wave, so he said... I don't remember his exact words, but he said "Oh yeah, I saw this movie called MARTYRS..." (laughs)
Pascal Laugier: He saw it in London, yeah.
The Northlander: So did you meet him?
Pascal Laugier: No, but we were screened very close.
The Northlander: Yeah he saw it, he was deeply affected by it, and he told me 'Yeah it's a great film, don't see it.'
Pascal Laugier: Yeah?
The Northlander: Yeah, and I agree that there are just so many interesting things going on, behind the [surface of MARTYRS]. Do you think it's hard for people to 'get' the movie? Or do they just see the torture and the violence?
Pascal Laugier: No! So far, I mean the only thing I can say is what I saw. Like the audience, I will need some time to digest the whole experience of the film including showing it to the audience. We'll see in a few years, you know? How things turn... What I think, and what I've seen, is that people need some time to exactly understand their own relationship to the film. It's not a likeable movie. Even me, myself, I hate the film. You know? But I hope, I mean, it's an affecting film and when you are affected you don't know if it's good or not. If it's positive or not. So, some people are so open minded and are looking for the exactly same things that I do, when I go to see horror films or genre films, it's the Film Experience, to get an experience, you know?
The Northlander: Yeah.
Pascal Laugier: And so people would like to be experienced. [Some] they love it instantly, and other ones they hate it and will forever hate it and I respect that, and I think for the majority that don't exactly know what they feel, they felt a lot by watching it but they but they don't quite understand the nature of the feeling. And I've received a lot of testimonies of people who told me after two or three days 'I really had a strong connection to the film'.
The Northlander: Yeah, yeah I've heard so too because... I haven't seen the film before, but I've heard a lot about it, after screenings and stuff and so yeah I can see that people are clearly affected by it.
Pascal Laugier: And the reactions on the internet are amazing, you know. Some people who saw the film a few days or even a few weeks ago and [they] wait before writing about it.
The Northlander: Yeah and there are so many things going on there about how evil [actions] are spread, and you know bad things happen to you and then you...
Pascal Laugier: Yes. Yes.
The Northlander: ...do bad things to other people.
Pascal Laugier: And it's a matter of crossing the line. Every time a film crosses the line, and I perfectly know when and where a film crosses some lines, including mine, because it was for me it was a kind of experimentation. Artistic experimentation. When you cross the line, when you break the rules, when you go too far - what happens next? What kind of art/emotions can it create? So instead of question, and I hope, in the case of MARTYRS, it's like kind of a relief because the whole thing is about Transcendence, about What We Do From The Pain. So I really had need [for] the audience to feel the pain for her [Anna, the main character] to get maybe [to reach] another state, another level. You know?
The Northlander: Yeah, I know exactly. Do you think that's something that's missing too often from horror movies, that they're just too tame, [that] they don't affect you?
Pascal Laugier: Well yeah once again as a fan you know, I watch more or less everything - theatrically released films and direct-to-DVD stuff, and I haven't been challenged by a horror film for a long time, you know? It doesn't mean that there aren't good films, I see a lot of good films, but I'm talking more about the very, very low budget you know? And I'm talking more about the direct to DVD community. Because these films are shot more and more on DV for a VERY very low budget so the guy who does the film is totally free because he deals with such a low amount of money he could do what he wants and nine films out of ten are pale copies of the classics. Another fun, you know - supposedly funny - horror zombie horror trick, another TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, another slasher with a masked killer, and nobody believes in it anymore you know? It's like a ghetto, it's like belonging to a community that is absolutely unable to surprise itself, you know what I mean?
The Northlander: Yeah.
Pascal Laugier: So we pay to watch films that we already know in advance what it's gonna be and we are not challenged anymore and I think the very reason for the horror film genre's existence is to break some rules - to be free, to be wild, you know like the 70's. In the 70's you paid for a ticket and you sat in a theater and you didn't have ANY kind of idea of the film you were going to see. It was really energetic and really experimental. Can you imagine the guys in '75 who first saw TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE? In the markets, at midnight? Or THE EXORCIST? It's impossible to realize now what these people must have felt before the films turned into classics, you know? So... and that's the kind of feeling I very rarely feel by watching horror films. And it's very sad, in a certain way actually, a lot of actual horror films are absolutely as safe as any family film produced by Hollywood. You know? There is no chance, no breakings.
The Northlander: Do you think it's also difficult for people to make horror films because they don't know sort of where the line is drawn or how to cross it, or they won't allow themselves to?
Pascal Laugier: No, I think it's more [got] something to do with the post-modernism of our time. I am talking about the entire time we are living in right now I would say for one or two decades. The problem is that we have lost something [of] our faith, [our] primitive innocence. Everything in the world has become so self conscious, and it goes with politics, ideology, you know? the lost of illusions. Now, to be cool, is to be cynical. You can't be surprised because you're [a] cool guy. And everybody is always the same, you know it's the 'cool attitude' and cynicism that kills everything because it's the opposite of the faith we need to be told some stories, you know? We have lost the faith in narrators, to the people who [told us] what the world is, to make us believe in other worlds, to [tell us] stories. Now it's the opposite - it's the post-modern world we are living in, and we are very aware of everything. And I hate that. As... I hate that as a director. And I hate that as a member of the audience. Any time I feel like the director wants to be clever, wants to tell me very precisely that he is more intelligent than the film he is doing, you know by pretending being funny, being... I hate that. For me, it's a betrayal. I want to be like a child and I need some primitive feelings facing a work of art. You know, when you're in a museum, watching a painting or listening to music you know?
The Northlander: Do you think that's also why horror movies are going more and more meta?
Pascal Laugier: More and more what?
The Northlander: Like they're the film within the film like...
Pascal Laugier: Absolutely...
The Northlander: ...THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, REC, CLOVERFIELD.
Pascal Laugier: ...[they're] self-referential. Very aware of where they come from and who they are made for. You know like, you... how do you say that? You do a blink...
The Northlander: "Nudge-nudge, wink-wink"
Pascal Laugier: Absolutely, "I love the same films that you do, guys. We all know where it comes from, isn't it fun?" Some people find it fun, [but] I don't. I know it makes me sound like an asshole - very arrogant, very pretentious - but who cares? I don't. I pay... I go to see movies to be amazed. I go to see movies to believe in what I see. So that's why I love for example M. Night Shyamalan. He's brave enough to take some risks to make the audience believe something amazing. You know? Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he miss the points but I will always feel more respect for him than for A LOT of cynical directors.
The Northlander: You've mostly done - well you've done this [and] this is horror, have you ever done any comedies or anything?
Pascal Laugier: Me? No, no, no. I've done two feature films. One is a ghost story in a house, called SAINT ANGE - HOUSE OF VOICES - and previously I've just had done my shorts, you know? I've just done two films. MARTYRS is my second one.
The Northlander: Ok, ok. Because this is something I like asking people; they say that comedies are like the hardest thing to write. Do you think it's harder than a horror [film]?
Pascal Laugier: Much, much harder. You'd have to be a genius to do a comedy and that's why there aren't so many good comedies because there aren't so many geniuses around here, you know? Billy Wilder is dead for a long time and Blake Edwards is gonna die very soon - no I would never dare try to do a comedy because I'm not gifted enough really. Honestly, it's too hard.
The Northlander: The reason also I'm asking is, a couple of years ago when Oliver Stone was here at the film festival and gave a Face To Face [the festival's name for their Q&A sessions], he said something that his two first movies were horror movies...
Pascal Laugier: Yeah, THE HAND, and SEIZURE.
The Northlander: ...and he said that he hated them, and he doesn't have it in him to make horror because to make a horror movie you need to have it in you to "drive a nail through the forehead of the audience".
Pascal Laugier: Maybe he's right, but it's a fact that his two first horror films are really bad and maybe the rest of it is not so good too, but that's a personal comment on Oliver Stone. But yeah he's right, I mean if he's not done to make horror films he should do something else. No problem there. But, the advantage of his generation is - and he belongs to the same generation as John Carpenter and all these guys you know that started to make films in the 70's. They have a big advantage on us that they were living in a more innocent time and even then they weren't all that self conscious. John Carpenter didn't make films saying 'I'm belonging to the subculture of horror nerd fans and I'm gonna give them what they want' - no, he was doing his stuff. He was telling the story, it felt interesting for the audience, you know it was just in the manner of a craftsman. That's what I have to do and [if] I do it properly with elegance and as professional as I can - everything wasn't a joke as it is today.
The Northlander: So how do we get out of that? How do we...
Pascal Laugier: I don't know. Maybe by doing a revolution. Maybe by getting out from the trendy bars, stopping to listening to shitty music and creating a very interesting, exciting counter culture. And I can say so because my country as yours I think right now is... really boring. I don't know about Sweden, I don't know your country enough but I can talk to you about my country, Paris is a dead place. It's a museum place, made for tourists. There is absolutely no counter culture. There are girls, there are bars, there are electronic synth music but there is no organization of people trying to propose something else - new art, new music, new... something that comes from us that wouldn't be a remake, that wouldn't be a best of, that wouldn't be a sampling of something already existing, you know? Something that would belong to us, that we would have created. So we would have to change a lot of things.
The Northlander: But, while we're on the topic of comparing Sweden and France, and talking about movies, you said something about the French censorship [during the short Q & A session with the audience after the film] and that kind of thing... Back in Sweden - I don't know if you know about this - back in Sweden in the 80's, we had an INCREDIBLE problem with censorship in especially horror movies. Movies like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, all the Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento [movies]...all that stuff, and I think even HALLOWEEN [part 5] were completely banned. You couldn't get them anywhere, until 1993 maybe. RE-ANIMATOR, BAD TASTE, all of that.
Pascal Laugier: Yeah it was the case in England too, [and] even worse, even. TEXAS CHAINSAW is still banned in England right now, yeah.
The Northlander: Really?
Pascal Laugier: Yeah.
The Northlander: Wow.
The Northlander: So how is that in France?
Pascal Laugier: In France it was a little bit different. When the left wing, The Labour, came to power it changed everything. Before that, the left wing, The Labour, won the elections in '81, before that some of the films were forbidden. TEXAS CHAINSAW... MANIAC, was forbidden. So it was the same, but in '81, François Mitterrand won the election and we had a more permissive, more open-minded society and finally the minister of culture allowed these films to be released and until now we never had any kind of censorship. Now the censorship is done in another way, like my film.
The Northlander: Yeah?
Pascal Laugier: Because they would never dare to ask for a director to cut some of the sequences of the film, it wouldn't be accepted by the general opinion because in my country the freedom of the artist means something, you know? So they have found other ways with exhibitors you know? Trying to kill the release of the film, trying to kill it commercially.
The Northlander: That rating, is that valid for the DVDs as well? Or is it just in theaters?
Pascal Laugier: No, no. On the DVDs it's forbidden under 16 like any extreme horror films, so it would be available everywhere on DVD.
The Northlander: Do you think this is why it's so difficult for us in Europe, or at least has been for the past... I dunno, 20 years, to make horror films?
Pascal Laugier: No, I think it has something to do with... In France, we never had a strong genre culture. To be very aware, that even when Jean Cocteau was doing THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in the 40's - they were totally belonging to the underground French industry. You know, the regular French industry always produced dramas, comedies... There is a problem between Horror, Genre and French society, I don't know why. We should write a book about it, you know? My country for the last century has never been counter-cultural. The same with music - when Rock'n'Roll was invading the planet, but in France - no. In France it was very bad songs, French songs, and we didn't get the Rolling Stones in the 60's... we didn't get it. You know? But you should be a French historian and write a book about it, I would be the first to buy it to understand more about the reasons. No, for Europe I think it's just that times have changed, home cinema has changed everything. Before that, there were so many theaters in all the cities because people wanted to go see films. We had second rate theaters, you know? If you was not rich enough to see a brand new film, you pay a less expensive ticket to see a second rate film. So the industry had to feed the theaters by doing films, cheap ones, you know all kind of genres. The times were more innocent, and I'm sure of that. And it has changed, like the record industry is changing right now - it's the same. And we had a lot of different independent small production companies that were producing films. Now everything belongs to two or three huge groups that would like all the audience all over the planet to watch exactly the same film at exactly the same moment. Like SPIDER-MAN 3 or... whether you like the films or not, some of them are good of course, but the fantasy - the dream of these guys, of these corporations is less films and the entire planet will watch the same films at the same time and [they] will make A LOT of profits. So all the small, independent genre film companies have disappeared. You know?
The Northlander: Yeah.
Pascal Laugier: And you should look at the closing credits - these small companies were the ones that produced the films when I grew up like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, MANIAC... These are not films coming from the studios. But now it's almost impossible to do that - you wouldn't be released. You wouldn't get into theaters.
The Northlander: Do you think that leaves an open market for independent release on DVD? Because technology is going so fast you can make your movie and do your own release?
Pascal Laugier: Yeah it's possible if your film is better. Because to be honest, of 50 direct-to-DVD genre films I see, one of them is good. The rest is almost unwatchable. And so if I feel so, can you imagine a regular audience who doesn't know shit about genre and doesn't care about it - it's impossible. So it goes back to what I was saying, let's organize a counter-culture, [an] international one that would produce something effective even in a small industrial way. It's a dream right now, we are so far away from it, but it seems that even our generation and younger people don't care about it. They just want to make money, they just want to have good jobs, you know? And then going on Saturday nights in bars... I dunno. Maybe I'm turning into an old asshole. Probably, I'm getting old, but I'm really, really shocked by the fact that the younger ones have not rebelled against anything. It's very surprising for me.
The Northlander: Yeah, and if you check out all the short film [makers], that whole crowd that make short films and everything, you know - they're coming from high school or whatever - all they make is like either zombie movies or lightsaber movies.
Pascal Laugier: Yes. And you know I think I talk for you too, we first liked genre film because it was a way to escape from our parent's culture. It was a counter-cultural culture. You know? And we felt like an old and small church knowing that the beauty was in Dario Argento's films rather than in the boring films shown at the Cannes Film Festival. We knew that there was something fresh, something new, something very deep and complex and very sophisticated and all the more as our father couldn't stand these films, thinking we were crazy to like them. But today, young people are very, very happy to say that they listen to the same music as their father. The father and the son is listening to The Rolling Stones basically, because once again we are living in a world of self reference, you know? And now, I don't think the young ones see horror films as counter-cultural stuff. They see it because it's very well accepted now.
The Northlander: Yeah.
Pascal Laugier: When I was young, the names to impress didn't talk about genre culture at all, you had to find fanzines and very special magazines - now in every family magazine, you can find an article about Freddy Krueger.
The Northlander: Yeah, and with the internet and everything...
Pascal Laugier: Absolutely. Everything is everywhere. Which doesn't prevent us to keep on asking the question 'How can we make our faith survive?', you know?
The Northlander: Yeah, and also one of the special things about horror films is that it's something you like despite it not being pleasant, you know? So many people, they're so used to being spoon-fed stuff they're supposed to like that they can't eat the bitter.
Pascal Laugier: Absolutely. I agree totally. I agree totally. Are we condemned to become all the household collectors of the past? I don't want that. Because I still have a deep faith in cinema, I still LOVE films, I still want to pay to watch good films, you know? And going to a DVD store is still one of the happiest moments of my life, you know. So I don't want to lose faith, I don't want to be cynical myself. Cynical is the failure of everything.
The Northlander: So, I gotta ask you this - HELLRAISER. What are your thoughts, or plans, for HELLRAISER, and how do you feel also about remakes in general?
Pascal Laugier: First of all, HELLRAISER is a child's dream coming true. I saw the first when I was 13, I remember precisely the shock it had on me because it was so new, so fresh, so it's very hard to resist the temptation to do HELLRAISER, you know? So of course. When you come from my culture it's like amazing you're even proposed to do HELLRAISER. So of course I felt about it a lot. Right now I have no reasons to refuse the opportunity because IF I disagree with the producer I would leave the project. You know, I'm not forced to do ANYTHING I don't want. So, let me write the first draft, let me tell you what all the American producers have reacted to the reading of the first draft and I will tell you if I'm in good hands or if I'm gonna leave a hellish experience but in ANY CASE, I won't betray Clive Barker's work. I want to do a fresh film filled with a lot of unexpected and surprising things. At the same time, I want it to be connected to the real, original material.
The Northlander: You mean the source material?
Pascal Laugier: Yeah I'm talking about the novella and the first film that are very close to each other. We'll get the chance to have much more money than even Clive had in the first film, so it will be of course more epic, it will be bigger, and I hope that it won't be softer. And right now I trust the guys in Dimension [Films] You know? It's all a matter of human relationship. I talk a lot with Bob Weinstein, he cares about the projects, he's a movie buff, he knows a lot about cinema. But at the same time he's Bob Weinstein and he's a very realistic money maker. So it will be a battle, and I hope that a balance will be found so the film will be close to my vision. What can I say? I'm not sure. I can't sign with my blood that I'm gonna achieve...
The Northlander: Well there's always the director's cut on the DVD... (laughs)
Pascal Laugier: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You know Rob Zombie liked the experience to work with them on HALLOWEEN, he's really proud of the film, and he says it's his film, and some of the directors have hated the experience to shoot with Dimension. I dunno. But for the remake question; Remakes [have] existed since the beginning of cinema. There have been like hundreds of versions of FRANKENSTEIN, same story. John Carpenter's THE THING is a remake and it's a masterpiece, and of course there have been a lot of shitty remakes. I have the feeling honestly that I refused in Hollywood all the bad remakes that I was proposed, I really refused them.
The Northlander: So which ones, could you name a few?
Pascal Laugier: Oh not really, because I refused them you know, and they're gonna be done by someone else so it would be... [But] I refused some bad sequels, or some useless remakes, and I really had the feeling honestly - and I can say that because I had other American projects so I was not forced by any means to do HELLRAISER - but I say yes because I felt it was a good idea to do a new HELLRAISER. And we all know that the franchise has been killed by really, really cheap and bad direct-to-DVD sequels - I'm talking about HELLRAISER 4, 5, 6 - that we all hate. And we all know that the franchise deserve something more ambitious, you know, and more serious so for me it's a huge chance to be allowed to handle it.
The Northlander: So what if someone told you they wanted to remake MARTYRS in Hollywood?
Pascal Laugier: It's planned.
The Northlander: It's planned?
Pascal Laugier: Yeah it's a scoop. You're the first one I [tell]. Yeah right now we are negotiating the rights to eventually remake MARTYRS in America.
The Northlander: Is there anyone attached?
Pascal Laugier: Huh? Nonono, [it's] too soon. I think they are looking for a writer right now. And of course a film can go through years of development hell and never be done you know, like a lot of projects. But I find that for me, it's an honor. I mean, it's so prestigious to have your film [remade]. I was... I had no money at the time, I [had a] very small room in Paris, writing MARTYRS you know, at night alone - now what's happening is great, you know. I don't want you to think that I'm not happy. I am. I think the press is amazing, I've traveled all around the world, I don't want to forget it. Of course it is a very, very low budget film that shouldn't have been made, even by France. You know it's a miracle that such a film exists, you know?
The Northlander: So which studio is it that's making it?
Pascal Laugier: Dimension. They got the rights to the original one. They're gonna release MARTYRS on DVD on the Dimension Extreme label in February 24th.
The Northlander: In the US?
Pascal Laugier: In the US. In France it will be March 30th.
The Northlander: Blu-ray too?
Pascal Laugier: Blu-ray too, yeah.
The Northlander: So in the past couple of years, there's been in horror movies [that] the monster is always like a kid - a scary kid. A scary girl. Because of the Asian horror wave.
Pascal Laugier: Uh-huh.
The Northlander: So I've seen now REC, DEADGIRL... I don't know if you've seen DEADGIRL?
Pascal Laugier: I liked it a lot.
The Northlander:...and now this one - do you think the new thing will be the 'Scary Naked Lady'?
Pascal Laugier: You know what, I'm still waiting for the guy who's finally gonna bring us something new and fresh and totally unexpected. I remember fondly, it was in Paris for a very underground festival called L'Étrange Festival - "The Strange Festival" - we were first shown, for the first time in the world, we were shown the print of the first RING. At the time - it was a shock.
The Northlander: The American or the Japanese one?
Pascal Laugier: No the Japanese one, the original one. Yeah we were in trance, we were waiting for something new to happen, and finally a guy you know, called Hideo Nakata...
The Northlander: Yeah.
Pascal Laugier:...he did a film called RING, it was brand new. So clever, so scary, and then it launched a new wave of [horror] and now of course this wave of Japanese dirty haired ghosts is over, we're all very tired about it, and we're all fans expecting for something new to happen so I don't know what's gonna be the next genius, the [next] more inspired director and we are waiting very passionately and I am like you.
The Northlander: Here's another thing I was thinking about, earlier in [MARTYRS]; October 16th, 1971? [A date that was shown early on in the film as the day the main character escaped her captors.]
Pascal Laugier: Yeah. My birth date.
The Northlander: That's your birthday?
Pascal Laugier: Yeah.
The Northlander: Yeah because I thought the way it was displayed like that, it was something special.
Pascal Laugier: Yeah it's my birth date.
The Northlander: It is? Okay, cool. I was just curious. Going back to the question before that; When you were writing this, early on, there must have been at some point a picture in your head of the monster in the first act.
Pascal Laugier: Yes.
The Northlander: So, where do you think that came from, the bloody [naked, female monster]?
Pascal Laugier: A mix of some stuff I've thought about. I've had very few in fact, but I had some very small references I thought constantly about but it was in a manner of getting in the right mood to write. It was not a matter of taking something from another person's film and put it in my film, it was more a matter of listening to the right music, you know? And some of them was THE POSSESSION, you know? Andrzej Zulawski's POSSESSION, and the way the film was a crossover between a very dramatic stuff, very sad stuff, and horror, one of my favorite films. The other one was TENEBRE, Dario Argento's TENEBRE, for the clinical lights, the white light of the urban society. The fact that in this film, Rome was filmed like a dying city, you know? Everything, the clinical lights, it's the opposite of the gothic, you know? I didn't want to do a gothic film, I wanted to do a very depressive, European urban film, so yeah I thought about it also. And there is a line from HP Lovecraft that drove my energy to do the film. Just a line, you know? He once said that Horror was a genre that was supposed to be against the world, against society and against civilization. And I find it so beautiful and so true that it helped me to be as honest and sincere as I could by writing the film. I don't know if that answers your question, but...
The Northlander: No, no it does. It's really interesting to hear the personal stuff behind the ideas that come out on screen because when you're dealing with a film like this that deals with how you punish yourself to relieve yourself sort of...
Pascal Laugier: Yes, yes you're right and I feel much better now than I was feeling before the film. I'm glad I did it and I'm really glad that it's over. And I hope that my next one will be a happier experience, I really need something to feel happier.
The Northlander: Yeah.
Pascal Laugier: Two years in the MARTYRS world was heavy.
The Northlander: Yeah I can imagine that. (laughs)
Pascal Laugier: Yeah. (laughs)
The Northlander: Absolutely. There was another thing, [and] this is just my interpretation of it, in the first act.. I don't remember the character's name, but...
Pascal Laugier: Which one? The Chinese one?
The Northlander: No, the one who's the monster in the first act.
Pascal Laugier: Lucie.
The Northlander: No, that's the Asian girl, right?
Pascal Laugier: Yes.
The Northlander: The one that she sees.
Pascal Laugier: Okay it's The Creature. That's her name.
The Northlander: Yeah, The Creature. That sort of felt like a representation of her anxiety, almost?
Pascal Laugier: ...of her incident, yeah.
The Northlander: ...and that's why she sees it, and that's why she's [the only one]
Pascal Laugier: Yeah and it's because when she sees it, when she was a child, you know, when she escaped from the house, she couldn't save another girl who was trapped with her, you know? And from then, she has a strong killing [desire].
The Northlander: Exactly, and in order to be free of that entirely you have to sort of push that evil on to other people.
Pascal Laugier: And she thought that by killing the torturers, she would be set free.
The Northlander: Yeah.
Pascal Laugier: And finally she realized that the creature is still there, you know she says to the creature that "They're dead. They won't hurt you anymore" and the creature is not agreeing with that and finally she understands that her craziness will last forever and she prefers to die, you know.
The Northlander: Yeah and the creature really isn't the girl because she's inside [her head].
Pascal Laugier: Of course.
The Northlander: ...which brings me to the question; The captors, the torturers - why don't we see more of what's behind their reason?
Pascal Laugier: Because we don't have the time, because we're still at the very first sequence and we understand more about these people at the end, you know? And with the second family of torturers, we have this new breed, this new generation of torturers, the idea is that this house has been built up by this sect as a perfect way to be quiet, lonely, isolated too and to do their experiments. At first, they were in a deserted slaughterhouse, and one of their victims escaped and they were very afraid to be taken by the police and they just found a better and safer way to just keep on [with] the experiments. And they turned it into this house, that is almost a fake house where a family lives, you know? [And] is paid in exchange to do the nasty job, do the bad job. That's it, more or less.
The Northlander: But they gotta sort of have some history too of having bad experience, which they in turn [is passing on to the victims]?
Pascal Laugier: Who?
The Northlander: The torturers.
Pascal Laugier: The first ones? The family?
The Northlander: The whole sect. What drives them to actually do these bad things?
Pascal Laugier: Fear of death. And knowing the Ultimate Secret. And that's something that could happen in real life. I mean, you know that when society is completely driven by the power of money, the power of the winners, you know? The power of capitalism, everything is possible. Everything is allowed, as soon as you pay for it. It's not worse than going to Asia and fuck some... you know, because you can afford it. It's not worse than... I don't know. Capitalism should allow that because it breaks all the taboos in the power of money so it's very, very possible that one day some people with a lot of money will try to break the last thing that makes us all the same, all equal, that is to say Death. That's an idea, and maybe it's a poetic idea but it's very connected to the world we are living in.
The Northlander: Yeah and similar things do happen, I mean they find people who have been captured for years and years in basements.
Pascal Laugier: Yes, yes. Absolutely.
The Northlander: Thank you very much.
Pascal Laugier: Thank you, it was a very interesting conversation.
So there you have it guys. Hope you enjoyed.