Director Matt Winn Talks Horror Movies and ‘The Hoarder’

Andrew Hawkins

The Hoarder is the new film from director Matt Winn. Mischa Barton, Valene Kane, Robert Knepper and a group of others play characters trapped in a large, multi-level storage unit where things are not what they seem. The movie is a claustrophobic horror thriller with plenty of homages to classic genre pictures and quite a few memorable scenes of disturbing creatures and well done practical effects. The Hoarder is now on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and VOD from RLJ Entertainment. This is one worth seeking out for fans of dark and strange horror films that feature twists and turns at every corner.

Fandom: What can fans of horror movies expect from The Hoarder?

Matt Winn: A lot of the films I like are quite traditional. Films from the 70s and 80s; Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street and also thrillers like The Vanishing where it’s really about the characters. Since this film is dealing with this idea that we live in the city but everyone got a very private life, part of what the story is about is what’s going on behind closed doors.

You’re trapped in this underground storage facility with other people and you meet them and you think, “Here’s the mild-mannered girl who looks like a hippie. Maybe what she’s got in her unit is going to completely defy her personality.” You have this cop and he turns out to have a slightly different agenda from the one you expect. So one of the things we wanted to create here was the location has a sort of anonymity to it. Everywhere you look, it’s always the same. We put some depth into them and there are surprises everywhere you look. It’s not the bloodiest movie, but I think there are some quite memorable images in terms of effects.

Fandom: Were you inspired by any specific 70s and 80s movies?

Matt Winn: The initial Alien is one of my favorite films. I think the reason that film works so well is it’s an absolute pitch perfect movie. It looks like the effects are just as good if not better than anything you see today. There’re real characters in that story. It starts with a couple of guys complaining they’re being ripped off, y’know. And also, Ridley Scott really holds it back in that film. You never really see the alien till far into the movie. You know it’s in the corner, but you don’t quite get glimpses of it. We wanted to try to do things in the shadows. Another movie that’s one of the more terrifying things I’ve ever seen is The Vanishing. Certainly there’s a little bit of homage in our film in that the last thing you’re left with seeing is the image of claustrophobia and really wanting to get out.

Fandom: What’s the story behind the development of The Hoarder?

Matt Winn: I as a writer and director, I don’t try to limit to any one genre. I just sort of have ideas and some of them are not so good, and some of them I persist with. I had an idea one day and I thought, “Oh. That could be an interesting idea for a film.” I was moving around between a lot of apartments and kind of couch surfing. All my stuff was in storage. I was visiting my storage unit one night in the middle of the week. It was pretty late, it was out of town and I was the only person there. It was just me and the security guard and I went on to the third floor to look for my unit. Got out of the elevator, walked down one corridor, took a right, took a left, took another right and suddenly I realized I didn’t know where the hell I was.

I was completely lost. Each direction I looked in, the corridor looked exactly the same and it was a little creepy. I thought, “Hold on. Something could happen to me now and nobody would know. I thought this was a pretty interesting place. Behind all these doors, people are keeping things and what are these things? Are they weird, are they dangerous, are they hiding secrets? I was quite curious. I noticed at the top of all the units there was chicken wire, so I pulled a chair out and I peered over the top and fell of my chair when I saw inside. There were ten naked mannequins staring back at me, and that confirmed there was some material here. That was kind of the genesis of the story of the film.

Andrew Hawkins
Andrew Hawkins is a fan contributor at Fandom. He has been on the fan media scene since 2011. Arriving at Fandom by way of CHUD, and Trouble.City; Andrew loves Sci-Fi Horror movies and supervillains. His dislikes include weak plotlines and sky lasers.
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