Criminal Minds‘ Matthew Gray Gubler made an appearance at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival to support two movies he’s starring in, Surburban Gothic and Life After Beth. We were lucky enough to catch up with the ball of energy… er, actor for a quick interview about the films and genre film in general. He also gave us some insight into the beginnings of his life-long love for and a teasing amount of information about his upcoming projects.
Here’s what the Gube had to say:
You’ve consistently played in quirky, often dark, comedies. Is that a reflection of your own humor or personality?
I think it is actually. I’m a big fan of the dark comedy genre, and to get to be in two films here at Fantasia that have those overtones is a total honor.
And still you’re no stranger that sub-genre of horror having appeared in How to Be a Serial Killer and Excision. How much of a horror fan were you growing up?
Yeah! I’m so glad you know about How to Be a Serial Killer, that sort of got overlooked by a lot of people. I love it, man. I’m the biggest fan the genre ever had, I’m the biggest fan this festival ever had, so to be here with two of my closest friends, Jeff Baena and Ricky Bates, and to be showing movies with the people I love the most to the genre I love the most is like Christmas morning to me.
[I’ve] always been a horror fan! Ever since I can vastly remember, and I think it’s because I was so terrified of monsters and ghosts as a kid that I had to sleep in front of my parents room until I was 12. I was horrified of the dark. I realized that the only way I could get over that fear was by scaring other people, so I became obsessed with ghost stories, drawing monsters, watching monster movies, sneaking into horror movies, and it’s just been the love of my life forever. When I eventually direct movies it’ll definitely be horror movies.
What was the first horror movie you saw?
The first horror movie I saw was Psycho with my dad. I was carving a pumpkin, I remember it was a crisp October night, and I remember hiding my eyes on his lap. I was probably 6 or 7 or so, and I remember thinking this is so radical that a movie, and that’s why I love the genre, can make you experience visceral reactions whereas in dramas and other things you don’t get that feeling of being shaken to the core. I just fell in love with it, and then I became obsessed with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Mummy, and then watching the Universal films — Dracula, Creature From the Black Lagoon, all of those — and then when I was about 12 or so I started sneaking John Carpenter’s The Thing.
There were two integral movies to my childhood: Something Wicked This Way Comes and Watcher in the Woods, that Disney put out. Horrifying kids’ movies, and those remain some of my favorite movies of all time. I love John Carpenter, I love every horror franchise, I love , I love Donald Pleasence, Vincent Price, he’s one of my favorite actors, love the genre.
I imagine it was the original Psycho with Anthony Perkins that you watched?
Oh, yeah, yeah, of course. And then I watched Psycho II, which is surprisingly a masterpiece. Hilton Green produced it, the assistant of the original Psycho. Again, Psycho sort of started this slasher genre, and then Halloween came in, and Halloween II and all those, and then seven years later, I think, they did Psycho II, which was a continuation of that. They did a great job.
Have your purposefully aimed for horror comedies with your career or has it just happened?
You know I haven’t aimed, but I’ve been fortunate to find those. I’m on Criminal Minds for 11 months a year, so I have a short window of about 4 weeks where I can do fun stuff and I’ve been very fortunate now to be at a point with my career to work with people I just like. So Ricky, who made Suburban Gothic, actually sort of wrote that movie for me knowing that I’m sort of similar to the character in real life, but a bit more optimistic, and I just had the very good fortune of meeting Jeff and getting to be in Life After Beth.
What do you like best about starring in genre films?
My favorite time of year is October, Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I know that watching Vincent Price movies and all my favorite guys, Bela Lugosi, you know, all the masters, was such a special thing to me as a child and my only dream is that I get to make it feel like Halloween all year round for other kids, for other weirdos like me.
Matthew Gray Gubler shares his directorial ambitions after the jump…