Roberta Griffin (Writer, The Demons Within)
The Horror Revolution: First off, what's your favorite horror movie? What movie scared you the most?
Roberta Griffin: Oh man, where do I start. I'm a huge fan of 70's horror movies. Rosemary's Baby, Beyond the Door, Trilogy of Terror, The Exorcist, Burnt Offerings, Jaws, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Phantasm. These movies all have terrifying moments that have caused me nightmares while growing up. I think that Jaws and The Exorcist scared me the most.
THR: I got a chance to read the script for The Demons Within, and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a great take on possession, and I really look forward to watching it. Have you always wanted to write screenplays? What inspired you to start writing?
RG: I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I started writing a book about my childhood growing up in a haunted house. I have so many stories, well, I should say, my family and I have so many stories to share about all of the things we've seen and heard and felt over the years. It got to the point our cousins and friends stopped wanting to spend the night. Someone usually complained the following day about having their feet or hair pulled. Or sometimes it was seeing a stranger in the hallway or things getting moved or dropped to the ground for no apparent reason. I could go on. Anyway, I started to write a book about our lives in that house. One day, my old computer just broke, and I lost everything. I was so bummed. My sister told me not to stress and instead write a screenplay because they are "So much easier to write." She said. She couldn't be further from the truth. So, it was the crashing of my computer and my sister's suggestion to switch from books to screenplays.
THR: Where did you get the inspiration for this story specifically?
RG: I wanted to challenge myself. After watching The Exorcist and Emily Rose, both incredible movies about possession, I wanted to see what I could come up with. I actually had a lot of fun writing this script. It kept me entertained as I wrote it.
THR: Have you ever thought about moving into other areas of the filmmaking process?
RG: Yes, I have, but for the moment, I'm going to stick with what I know, writing the screenplays. I see from Stephanie and Cody the hard work they are putting in as producers. You really have to have determination and grit in my book.
THR: There have been so many different possession stories, but I feel like yours adds something new to the genre. What do you feel that your script adds to the possession genre that you haven't seen in other places?
RG: Except for a few, many possession movies are based solely on possession. In The Demons Within, you go through the movie wondering if Izzie is having a mental breakdown or is she really possessed. There's a ton of room in this movie for some in-depth psycho-analysis.
THR: What's one piece of trivia about you that everyone watching the film should know?
RG: Even though I love scary movies, I am the world's biggest chicken. I always say I can handle a good scary movie any time. It's the real stuff that scares the hell out of me. Another good piece of trivia is that I grew up in a haunted house.
THR: There are some great moments in TDW between the main character and her mother. It's really as much a sad, dramatic piece as it is horror. Is it intended to be as heartbreaking as it comes across in the script, or is it more of a background-type choice to give the characters motivation? I ask more because I'm an aspiring writer myself, and I always want to know the intentions of the action behind-the-scenes.
RG: The drama between Izzie and her mother, Katherine, was done on purpose. I wanted to show how these situations affect not only the victim but the family and those close to her. Also, I wanted to demonstrate just how dangerous and violent a demonic possession could be.
THR: If you could work with anyone in the industry, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
RG: Let's see, if I had to narrow it down, I'd say, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Stephen King. All are exceptional writers and moviemakers. They never fail to entertain, and I think it would be a great experience getting to work with these guys.
THR: If you had unlimited funding and access to any Hollywood stars you wanted, what movie would you make and why?
RG: I actually have two movies that I've written that call for small ensemble casts. One movie is a fast-paced thriller, and the other is a full-blown horror. Honestly, I would be pretty open to casting. I only want actors that will take these characters I've created and bring them to life in the best possible way. I know it may sound cheesy, but it's true. There's a lot of great talent out there.
THR: There are tons of movies where all of the bones are there, but they're just missing one key ingredient. In a lot of cases, the script is not what it needs to be for the movie to be successful. If you could pick one film that you think you could make into a hit by just rewriting the script, what would it be?
RG: That's a tough question. I really can't say what movie that would be.
THR: What horror movie desperately needs a remake, and would you be the one to write the script for the remake?
RG: A remake? There are tons of older horror movies that would be awesome to recreate. I'd have a lot of fun with some.
THR: What's next for you? Is there anything exciting coming up that you can share with us?
RG: I'm currently wrapping up a new thriller I'd like Stephanie to look at. It may be our next adventure.
THR: If you could learn any one skill in the world without trying, like if you could download it into your brain, what would it be and why?
RG: Learning a few different languages. I really admire people with a gift for knowing several languages. I always have.