Interview: Manny Banerjee (Aargh!)

Even though we have reached the end of Disability in Horror Month for this year, Popcorn Horror aims to continue to provide a platform for horror creators with disabilities throughout the year. As part of our ongoing interview series which we launched in DiHM, we spoke to Manny Banerjee, who created his short horror film Aargh! as part of the Different Voices film project.

Can you tell me a bit about how you started filmmaking?

I always loved cinema. I started making films with my family. Then I joined the Different Voices project and made Aargh!

What are your favorite horror films?

I was inspired to make Aargh by films like The Shining, Alien, The Babadook, The Witch, It, The Evil Dead 2.  I like films that do something different with the horror genre. I like to disturb people.

Were you trying to convey a message to the audience with the film?

I wanted to make a film where you don’t see the demon until the end to build suspense. It’s scarier by not seeing it. What you see in your imagination is more frightening. Horror is really interesting. I want to scare people but also I want people to talk about it. The boy in the film had lost his father.

Have you ever experienced discrimination in your filmmaking because you have a disability?

I have experienced discrimination sometimes, it has been hard. People have teased me and done horrible things to me and I have been excluded because of the way I speak. They think because I have needs I am nobody. It makes me feel angry and sad. I used those feelings in my film.

How would you like to see the film industry be more open and accepting towards disabled people?

I think the film industry needs to be kinder and more open. We need people like me to get the chance to make their films. People who can’t talk or who have needs want to make their own films. It’s not fair. We should have more chance. The openings are not there. We can make fantastic films and people would be interested to see something different. Where are the disabled artists in Hollywood? We don’t get the chance to say what we think? People in Hollywood don’t really care about us they don’t listen. They don’t think we have good ideas. Hollywood ignores us. They don’t think we are important. It doesn’t make sense and it’s not nice. Not enough films have disabled actors or actors who have trouble talking.

I played the voice of the Demon in the film. The demon was like me when I feel angry and people don’t like me.