Hello, readers! Welcome back for another installment of one our featured columns here at Daily Dead, Deadly Dialogue: A Conversation on Cinema, in which we catch up with notable folks—both in front of and behind the camera—from the horror and sci-fi genres, to discuss the films that inspired them to become the artists they are today.

For February’s installment, I thought the timing was perfect to catch up with the directorial quartet behind XX, considering it is Women in Horror Month and the anthology is making its way to select theaters and VOD on February 17th. Here’s what Jovanka Vuckovic, Karyn Kusama, Roxanne Benjamin, and Annie Clark had to say when asked about films or filmmakers that inspired them to follow their own creative paths.

Jovanka Vuckovic: I’ve been a horror fan my entire life, and every time I would finish watching a movie, and see a woman’s name at the end of it (which wasn’t that often), I was surprised and inspired by that. I always thought, “If she could do it, then maybe so can I.”

I don’t know if there’s one particular filmmaker that I gravitated towards—for example, I’m not some kind of David Lynch devotee—but it’s just that I like horror stories in general.

Karyn Kusama: For me, I would say that I’ve never only gravitated towards horror, but there was something about seeing Near Dark in the theater that really stuck with me. I must have been something like 22 at the time, and I saw that it was directed by Kathryn Bigelow. And beyond the fact that it was horror, it was also this mash-up of genres, a vampire western—I just thought there were so many bold statements in that film. So beyond the fact that it made all these bold statements, the fact that there was a woman at the helm of it was just really exciting to me. Near Dark was definitely a call to arms, for me.

Roxanne Benjamin: It was Penelope Spheeris, I must say. Because, one, her documentaries are amazing, but also, she had a “one for her, one for them” approach when it came to doing studio movies. Also, she made Wayne’s World, and yeah, it’s Wayne’s World.

I’d also say Near Dark, too, because Kathryn Bigelow is great.

Annie Clark: I would say for my influences, that would be Maya Deren, but I know she doesn’t really have much to do with horror. I just think her work is so amazingly beautiful. Creators create, and I just always knew that I would somehow be doing something creative—whether it was in music or now in film—and I’ve been lucky enough to have that be able to come to fruition.


In case you missed it, check out Heather's video interviews with the filmmakers behind XX, as well as her Sundance review of the horror anthology.

Next: New XX Featurette Explores the Horror Anthology’s Four Deadly Tales
  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.