You could say that director Osgood Perkins was born to scare people. The director’s father, Anthony Perkins, played Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 terror classic Pyscho and reprised the iconic role in several sequels, including 1983’s Psycho II, which also featured the young Osgood in its cast. The latter developed a taste for horror from an early age, partly as a way to reach out to his father.
“It was my father’s business,” says Perkins. “As some children go into banking because their fathers are bankers, and some people become dentists because their fathers are dentists, one of my ways of connecting with my old man — who I couldn’t always connect with — was through the fact that he was an icon in this genre.”
As an adult, Perkins returned to acting, scoring roles in Legally Blonde and Secretary, among other projects, before transitioning behind the camera. His directorial movie, supernatural thriller The Blackcoat’s Daughter (previously called February), was much-acclaimed during its festival run and will be released next year. Ahead of that, Osgood’s second movie, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, premieres on Oct. 28 on Netflix. The film stars Ruth Wilson from The Affair as a nurse named Lily who is employed to provide care for a Shirley Jackson-esque horror writer, played by Paula Prentiss (The Parallax View), at what turns out to be the author’s very spooky abode.
“I had written a shorter thing about a woman in a head cast, who was in a bed in an old American house, whose father was a horror writer, and she was being taken care of by nurses,” says Osgood. “Then, one day, it just changed. I’m a believer that, once you start writing something, it does take on a life of its own. I had laid all the track for this one thing, and it just reversed itself, and bloomed into this thing. A lot of the best, dreamy stuff happens that way.”
Given that, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that Perkins has chosen David Lynch’s dream-like Eraserhead as the perfect Halloween movie.
“The best movie for people to watch over Halloween is Eraserhead,” says the director. “Eraserhead is the most disturbing, beautiful, textural, silent nightmare that I think has ever been made. I don’t think that they will make another one like that any time soon.”
You can see trailers for Eraserhead and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, below.