Edgar Wright leads the cast of a new book paying tribute to the big-screen moments that most influenced those behind the camera.
“It’s one of the few horror-comedies that’s really funny [but] the thing that really marks it out is how scary the horror is. A lot of horror-comedies are written with stylised dialogue. What makes American Werewolf is that the reactions of all the characters feel real. That tone influenced Shaun Of The Dead. We made a rule that all the humour came from the reactions and the context. “It was directed by John Landis. People didn’t know how to take it as they were really scared by it [but] it was coming from the director of Animal House. “It can never be replicated — nor should it be. I’m always reminded every time I watch it of how much it means to me.”
Rebel Without A Cause (1955)
“I truly love this movie. When I watched it, I thought I was James Dean. I combed my hair like him, but I couldn’t afford to buy wax, so I had to use water. I even talked like him. “I had a very miserable life when I was a kid. It was pretty tough to survive. I used to have to deal with gangs. They wanted me to join them, but I refused. Almost every day I had to grab some weapon. “I had a friend who was in trouble. I tried to protect him. It was a sad story. When I saw Dean, he looked out for his friend and I felt the same way. “[Dean’s death] was big in Hong Kong. It was a shock. He was a lot of young people’s idol. He not only changed our lives, but also changed our attitudes. He changed movies and how they looked.”
Apocalypse Now (1979)
“The greatest war movie ever made. There are greater movies that condemn war, but no film captures our abhorrence of war and yet the pleasure we get from seeing it depicted in the movies. That’s what’s extraordinary about it. “It’s obviously made at the absolute Everest of [Francis Ford Coppola’s] megalomania. The [extended] Redux will go away. The point of this film is that you trust the madness Coppola was in while editing it. What you don’t want is a re-examination of it from a more leisurely perspective. You want to see it edited by someone who is going insane. It fuelled my obsession with experiences in the cinema.”
The Film That Changed My Life is out now, priced £10.47
(Images: All Star)