Jeremy wrote Grand Theft Parsons and Battlefield 2. He co-wrote award-winning horror short The Other Side. A novel which he co-wrote is due for publication in 2013 and he has a horror thriller called Pink (which he wrote all by himself) due out in early 2014. He now primarily writes action thrillers for the US market and although he swears he is funny enough to write comedy, there is currently no evidence to support this.
When was the first time you watched a horror film, and how did it affect you?
It would have been Jaws, I think. Is Jaws a horror film? In my mind, the term covers any film which scares the shit out of you – and Jaws certainly did that. I went to a cinema in Kingston-upon-Thames and had no idea what to expect, other than a rough idea that everyone was raving about it and the reviews were great. When the head popped out of the hole in the boat, I screamed out loud in the cinema and destroyed any ‘street cred’ I might have built up over the previous twelve years. I didn’t sleep properly for a week…
What was it that first attracted you to horror?
As a writer, I love the idea of making a connection with the audience, whether that be making them laugh or scaring the crap out of them. Horror films allow for a visceral connection with an audience, which is very satisfying. I have a horror film called Pink which is close to being financed and every stage of the process has been fun – how much can I frighten people? How far can I go? What can I bring that is new to the genre?
Other than the birth of my son, seeing Grand Theft Parsons through to fruition. Not a horror film, but very satisfying nonetheless.
What are you working on now?
Pink is written and will hopefully be shot in the spring and released in February 2014. I have just finished a psychological thriller called Persona and am two-thirds of the way through an action thriller called The Drop. I have a novel due for publication in 2013, which I co-wrote – and I can’t wait to see the reaction to that.
Who do you admire in the horror world?
Sam Raimi, Danny Boyle, Alan Ball, Stephen King, John Carpenter.
Do you prefer gore or psychological horror?
I much prefer psychological horror. Gore is easy, but fucking with the viewer’s mind is everything. Which leads us on to…
How important is it to unsettle a viewer?
It is crucial. If you give them what they want, or expect, you have achieved absolutely nothing. That moment when they sit there and go tense and their mouth goes dry and they think ‘what the fuck?’ that’s when you’re doing it right.
How do you evoke fear?
I try to take a situation that the viewer feels comfortable with and twist it. If you’re trapped in a building, that’s not scary. If you’re trapped in a building and you can see other people who can’t see you through a tinted window, that’s just stressful. If you’re trapped and inches away from people who can’t see you and you’re being chased by a man with a knife, that’s much better. Give the audience ‘normal’ and then screw with that; write a horror scene in a library – somewhere they feel comfortable and safe – not on the moors, where they don’t.
What scares you?
Being trapped in a small space. (And the standard writer’s fear of running out of money.)
Why should people watch your films?
Because I need the money to feed my family.
Too much gore or torture porn leaves me cold.
How do you think horror cinema will evolve in the next ten years?
I don’t think the genre will change – it hasn’t much over the past ten, after all. I think the mechanism of delivery will change, moving away from cinema and into the home, on tablets and laptops with day and date release for both download and cinema. (How dull is THAT answer?)
Recommend a film.
Grand Theft Parsons, because I wrote it. Also The Other Side, because I co-wrote that. (I still have to feed the family, you see.)