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Ti West’s Four Horror Movie Classics (and One That’s Way Overrated)

The director of The Innkeepers makes some suggestions for your Netflix queue

All you amateur ghost hunters could learn a thing or two from The Innkeepers, the creepy haunted hotel flick from House of the Devil director Ti West. With Innkeepers out on DVD and Blu-ray on April 24, we spoke to West about underrated horror movies, overrated horror movies and Teen People. Because, as we all know, it’s impossible to have a conversation about The Shining without also discussing spring flings and Orlando Bloom. Here are his top picks...

The Changeling (1980)

Photo: Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
I think The Changeling is my number one underrated horror movie that people surprisingly haven’t seen. It is one of my favorite horror movies. I think it’s terrifying, it’s a great movie and I’m surprised how many people have not seen it.

Don’t Look Now

Photo: Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
To some degree, Don’t Look Now is the same way. I find people saying, “No I have never seen that movie,” and I feel obligated to show it to them.

The Exorcist and The Shining

Photo: Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
Some of the greatest horror movies ever [are] The Exorcist and The Shining. The Exorcist is a movie about a woman with a sick daughter, and then it’s a horror movie. And The Shining is about an alcoholic man who hates his family, and then it’s a haunted hotel movie. They were movies first and horror movies second…So they were well-thought-out and not just about killing people.

Overrated: An American Werewolf in London


An American Werewolf in London is one that I’ve never been able to care about….Like some people rank it as their number one of all-time best horror movies and it’s never quite done it for me. But it might be great, I just might be wrong.



On Determining If You’re in a Haunted House
Well, I don’t believe in ghosts, so I feel like you see a ghost, that would be the time to leave, or be really excited that you’re the first person to ever see a ghost. If I’m living in the hotel that The Innkeepers takes place in, and if a door sort of creeps open by itself, I don’t jump straight to ghost on that. I’m like, “This is an old, weird building. It’s crooked, there are a lot of doors and windows, it could be a breeze.” It would take a lot to make me move out. Maybe if every time I came home I saw a ghost trying to attack me. Otherwise, little creaks and groans and doors opening and closing, things like that, I can live with. It doesn’t bother me. So I would just say, get a hold of yourself. [Laughs] Wait ‘til it gets really bad.

On His Weekly Karaoke Habit
I live in L.A., which is a very snooty city. Karaoke sort of transcends all annoying snootiness and there’s a camaraderie between everyone at the place during karaoke. That’s why I like it. It’s a good hang-out that isn’t a bunch of people standing as far apart as they can.

...With Guest Appearances By Liv Tyler
Oh, what did she sing? She sang “Islands in the Stream,” which is Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. And it was pretty good. She was in town, I invited her to come and she showed up, which just proves that she’s awesome.

On Casting Girls Star Lena Dunham in Bit Roles


I’ve known Lena for years, and I do all the post-production on my movies in New York. When she did the thing for House of the Devil I was staying with her and I was like, “Come do this.” As far as The Innkeepers, I don’t know, I just wrote this character as an annoying barista and I was like, “Ah, I know who should play this.” And you know, we’ve just been friends forever, so it’s one of those nepotistic deals. But I knew she’d be able to add something and make it funnier than I could.

On Appearing in a 2001 Issue of Teen People
A friend and I were walking down the street one time and they asked us to be in this thing. They styled us in what could be the worst clothes I’ve ever worn in my life. But my mom still has the photo in like the bathroom of my house. It’s like me in some sort of weird zip-up turtleneck thing and these ridiculous shoes, and yeah, they just sort of stopped us and I think they paid us like $50 to come be in this weird fashion thing for Teen People.

On Wanting to Direct the Next Hunger Games
That’s not a joke, I actually do want to do that! I mean, it’s a joke because it’s not gonna happen, but having made the comment, I realized that I would love to do that....So start the petition. I’m ready to do it. I’m available, and I’m willing. I did kinda already ruin one franchise for Lionsgate [Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever], but I can make up for it on this one. [Editor's Note: Sorry, Ti, looks like it went to Francis Lawrence.]



The Innkeepers is out on DVD and Blu-ray on April 24