Ángel Gómez • Director of Voces
"Terror motivates me, moves me and thrills me"
- Ángel Gómez directs his first feature film Voces, focused on classical horror and psychology, with no shortage of supernatural elements, a haunted house and legends of the past
With Voces [+see also:
interview: Ángel Gómez
film profile], producers Guillermo Sempere and Juan Moreno are betting on a genre cinema which tends to collect good results at the box office (despite the limits imposed by the health crisis): terror seasoned with recognisable ingredients such as psychophony, mysterious houses and tragic families. The film is directed by first-time director Ángel Gómez (Algeciras, 1988), who we talked to during a break he took while making final and fundamental sound adjustments to his first work.
Cineuropa: Of course, the sound and the score are fundamental pillars for a film called Voces [Voices]...
Ángel Gómez: Yes, sound and score are one of the pillars of horror, they are essential for the tension to be sustained and to remain high. In this film in particular, the title suggests that these ingredients must be in their proper place and very well refined so that they have the desired effect on the audience: connect on an emotional level and to the characters, but most of all on the level of horror.
Where does your passion for the horror genre come from?
My entire career in the world of short films has been dedicated to that genre: there hasn’t even been a small excursion outside of horror. Only the short film Y la muerte lo seguía, which I shot when I was 22 years old, was a western… but it was a horror western. It is the genre that inspires me the most, it moves me and thrills me as a viewer ever since I reached the age where I could use reason. That influence comes from my family, because my father is a big fan of genre, a lover of all kinds of horror films from all eras and from all countries, he is the biggest connoisseur of horror I know: that influence had an impact on a child who grew up in an atmosphere where people constantly talked about Paul Naschy, Universal, Hammer films and german Expressionism. Besides cinema, there is also literature: Poe, Mary Shelley and Lovecraft. In my case, the love of genre comes from there.
What’s a horror film, Spanish of foreign, that you have seen a hundred times?
I have many favourites, but if I had to choose one, it would be The Innocents by Jack Clayton, based on the Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw. There is also the Spanish classic Who Can Kill a Child?, directed by Chicho Ibáñez Serrador.
He put the bar very high: in fact, Chicho raised the genre to stratospheric heights…
I tell you, I would put this film in my international top 5 because it is a complete masterpiece, perfect from every angle. It's so bold, that you couldn’t do it again today. I showed it not long ago to my film students, young people who had never seen it, and they were marvelling at the modernity of the film: it even overwhelms current generations, leaving stunned those people who are usually so accustomed to gore because of how everything is explicit in video games, TV series and cinema.
There is also a child in your film, as a disturbing and preoccupying element for adults.
Yes, in the end they are a fundamental engine to make the horror genre flow and they work very well: they bring to stories components like innocence and purity, the naivety and vulnerability necessary to the dangers that usually surround horror stories, and so it was in Voces.
Finally, where does your interest in the film’s central theme, psychophony, come from?
I’ve always felt a special attraction to the world of psychophony: I'm a fan and I do it as often as I can, in places that are said to resonate and where sounds can be picked up. I was sceptical at first, but then I understood that they have something mysterious and powerful, even while knowing that they could be false. You hear them and they make your hair stand on end, because the fact that they do not present any specific images and the fact that they are only sounds allows you to visualise a flow image constructions to the point where, in some cases, what you build to argue and justify those sounds you hear can be even more terrifying than if you were seeing the images themselves. All that ambiguity it causes, starting from those disturbing sounds, seemed to me very interesting and attractive. We realised that cinema hadn’t done justice to this phenomenon the way it should have, because psychophony has always appeared as a collateral thing on the side in films. They rarely serve as the basis for an entire story.
(Translated from Spanish)
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