Scott Derrickson — the director of Sinister, Doctor Strange, and The Black Phone — says that he survived two home invasions. The experiences colored his movies, including the “Dreamkill” segment of the horror film V/H/S/85.
Derrickson tells Yahoo Entertainment that he survived his first home invasion at age six. “I had gone down the street to a friend's house,” says Derrickson. “His parents weren't home and somebody broke in. We were just little kids, and we ran down to the basement where his dad had a little bar area. We hid behind it while this guy moved through the room that we were in. As soon as he did, I bolted up the stairs and ran back home.”
Derrickson's second home-invasion incident occurred when he was an adult. “There was a guy trying to break into my house, and banging hard on the door trying to get in,” says Derrickson. “I was just beside the door and yelled, ‘If you come through that door, I'm going to shoot you in the chest!' I'm a gun owner. I'm also very pro-gun regulation, but if somebody wants to break into my house, I will defend myself. Luckily the cops arrived before he got through. But that memory of ‘I might actually have to shoot someone' doesn't dislodge itself from your brain.”
Scott Derrickson Channels His Scary Home-Invasion Experiences into His Work
Scott Derrickson directed the “Dreamkill” segment of the anthology movie V/H/S/85, the sixth installment of the V/H/S horror franchise. “Dreamkill” follows two cops investigating a series of gruesome break-ins. “It's something I'm always aware of,” says Derrickson of his run-ins with home invaders. “When you have little kids, boy does it become the only thing you think about. You're always running scenarios like, ‘If somebody breaks in here, I'm going to do this. If somebody breaks in there, I'm going to do that.' You have such a primal need to protect your children. The reason I'm a gun owner is that I don't want to get caught with a golf club! I want to stand back at a safe distance and fire away. That's my plan!”
V/H/S/85 is set one year after Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced a generation to razor-gloved dream demon Freddy Kruger. Derrickson says that both his home-invasion experiences as well as seeing A Nightmare on Elm Street in a theater affected his moviemaking.
“I've had three or four experiences where I was truly terrified in a theater,” says Derrickson, who was 18 when he saw A Nightmare on Elm Street. “Anyone who was my age and saw A Nightmare on Elm Street back then, that first kill was so violent, unprecedented, and brilliantly conceived. I'm sure that's in my my subconscious somewhere.”
Derrickson continues, “As a horror director, I don't find it funny to think of myself as a puppet master playing the audience. I try to create things that I find terrifying, because I figure that if it scares me, it'll definitely scare the audience.”
V/H/S/85 is streaming now on Shudder.