Jordan Peele chats with Ari Aster about his 'atrociously disturbing' horror film Midsommar in new Fangoria
In the third issue of the relaunched horror magazine Fangoria, Paul Thomas Anderson spoke with fellow director and genre lover Jordan Peele. Now EW can reveal that Peele has returned to the pages of the mag to chat with Ari Aster, the filmmaker responsible for last year’s unforgettable supernatural shocker Hereditary and the upcoming Midsommar (out July 3), for the cover story of Fangoria No. 4.
“Who better to interview an acclaimed director about the highly anticipated follow-up to his game-changing feature debut than Jordan Peele?” Fangoria editor-in-chief Phil Nobile Jr. says via email. “On the other side of his own second at-bat, Peele deeply understands Ari Aster’s headspace as he preps his second feature better than maybe anyone. It’s a great, super-candid peer-to-peer conversation about their work, their processes, their hopes and their fears (as Aster says to Peele, ‘You’re catching me at a time where I’m just terrified about whether I made a piece of s‑‑‑ or not’).”
The new issue of Fangoria also includes interviews with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark director André Øvredal and author Joe Hill (whose book NOS4A2 has been adapted into the AMC show of the same name), as well as new fiction by Stephen Graham Jones. And that’s not all! In fact, the issue sounds terrifyingly full.
“There was a trending topic on Twitter recently about how horror fans are ‘ostracized,’” says Nobile. “I grew up in the ’80s and this annoyed me, because honestly these kids don’t know from ostracized. So I reached out (via contributing editor Chris Alexander) to Damien Echols, whose obsession with all things macabre in the ’80s and ’90s got him railroaded right onto death row, where he spent half his life before being freed. Echols knows a thing or two about the downside of being branded a horror fan, and writes about it in this issue. New York Times essayist Timothy Kreider delivers a great piece about the evolution of the way we depict violence in art. Todd Masters, who created the new Chucky for the Child’s Play remake, writes a piece about reimagining a beloved horror icon. Alexandre Aja writes about the aquatic, claustrophobic horror of Crawl and shares some behind the scenes pics.”
“For the 40th anniversary of Fangoria,” says Nobile, “we reached out to writers across 40 years (going all the way back to issue 1 in 1979, when writers thought they were contributing to a magazine called Fantastica) to get their thoughts on Fango’s influence and legacy — both culturally and personally.”
To receive Fangoria issue 4, subscribe to the magazine by June 10. Read an exclusive excerpt from Peele and Aster’s conversation and see the cover of Fangoria No. 4 below.
JORDAN PEELE: I’m a staunch believer that audiences are so accustomed to claustrophobic, dirty horror movies that situate them in places they wouldn’t elect to be, that the innate slickness of Hereditary and the sheer vacation that Midsommar provides, to me, is a recipe for, “I want to go see that movie.” So actually, I think that’s a really commercially savvy choice. When I texted you after the screening, I wrote, “I think you’ve made the most idyllic horror film of all time.” You’ve taken Stepford Wives and shattered the attractiveness of that movie with this one. That alone is a feat. Also, there are some obvious comps out there, but this movie is just so unique. This hasn’t existed yet, and anything after Midsommar is going to have to contend with it. I mean, this usurps The Wicker Man as the most iconic pagan movie to be referenced.
ARI ASTER: Gosh. Well, thank you. It’s funny, because I guess it does belong to the folk horror space. But I guess what it’s trying to do is establish footing on that path, and then proceed in a way that is anathema to what you’re expecting. It’s funny, because somebody sent me an article: “The Films That Will Be Referenced By Midsommar, and How Midsommar Will Fit Into The Folk Horror Space.” I really hope that by the time we’re on our way towards the ending, I hope that it enters some new territory. I’ve been asked, “What is it?” and I’ve been happy saying it’s a breakup movie dressed in the clothes of a folk horror film.
JORDAN PEELE: It plays a weird sleight of hand, where it transcends the horror of itself. It is an ascension of horror. I didn’t feel victimized; I felt like I was being put up on this pedestal and honored through the eyes of the protagonist. It’s a very unique feeling for a film to conjure because after it ended, I found myself looking back at the final act like, “Holy s‑‑‑.” That was some of the most atrociously disturbing imagery I’ve ever seen on film, and yet I experienced it with this open-mouthed, wild-eyed gape. I think that part of how we get there is never reducing the villains to any kind of snarling monsters with an evil agenda.