I like found footage films because they’re scary. Something has happened to whomever made these videos and watching them is like an investigation into what led up to their disappearance. There’s an anticipation of seeing something horrible happen. The Outwaters, the new horror film from filmmaker Robbie Banfitch, is horrifying. It’s the terrifying tale of what happened to a group of friends who set off to the desert to make a music video. There’s no explanation as to what is going on, and it relies on you using your imagination to piece the story together. To celebrate the release of the film, I chatted with Robbie about the inspiration for th film, working with his mom, why he loves horror, and more!
PopHorror: I watched The Outwaters last night and I loved it, so I’m super excited to speak with you today.
Robbie Banfitch: Oh good. I’m glad that you liked it.
PopHorror: What inspired the film and how did the project come about?
Robbie Banfitch: Specifically, the story and what you see all stems from a combination of I needed to make a found footage film because I’ve always wanted to make one ever since the original Blair Witch Project, and because of the resources I knew I could. But it also came from making up the word Outwaters because I thought it’d be a great film title. The first initial story pieces and images came from thinking about that word, which isn’t a real word. That I’m aware of.
PopHorror: I’m not aware of it either. You wrote, directed, starred in, shot, edited, did sound design. You did so much on this film that I’m impressed. That’s very impressive.
Robbie Banfitch: Thank you.
PopHorror: What are some of the challenges you find having so many roles, and how did you prepare for shooting?
Robbie Banfitch: I guess the challenges are sometimes more on the back end now that the film’s been made. I’m still doing a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, and trailers, and marketing stuff. I guess the challenge is it’s a little time consuming, but it’s a good problem to have because I’m not usually actually busy, so I’m just being lame by complaining about that. How did I prepare for shooting? Lots of lists. Lots of lists, and bullet points of shots I needed, and supplies I needed. Trying not to forget things at the store on our way out to the desert, so lots of lists and writing bullet points.
PopHorror: I’m a list maker so I get that. What is it like working with your mom? This isn’t your first project with her, and you have more in the pipeline with her as well. Obviously it works for you, but what’s it like?
Robbie Banfitch: Well, I know she can cry really easily. Uh oh, she shouldn’t have let me know that because I love a good cry in a movie. When I’m working with my mom, I just have to realize that she’ll do it, she’ll do it but I really have to try to get it in not that many takes because she gets super bored and annoyed if we have to do things more than a couple times. It’s just a matter of planning as good as I can so that we don’t have to do a million takes. She’s great. She has a big role in my upcoming movie, Tinsman Road. I’m very excited for people to see it because she’s amazing in it. But I did have to cram most of her big scenes into two days so she didn’t… She’s got other stuff to do like cooking dinner, and she has art stuff that she was doing in the garage. She’s busy so I’ve got to find ways to sneak the scenes in.
PopHorror: Do you write these roles with her in mind? Does she have to approve of it?
Robbie Banfitch: I definitely had her mind for The Outwaters. Actually, in the new movie it was supposed to be my aunt. I kind of wanted to give my mom a break. And then my aunt ended up not being able to do it at the last second, so I was like, “Mom, gotta do it!”
PopHorror: That’s awesome! What is it that draws you to horror?
Robbie Banfitch: Adrenaline. I love it. I like being scared. I hate being scared, but I love being scared. I love when you’re watching something, or partaking in an activity, and you definitely feel that rush thing. Probably because it makes you feel alive.
PopHorror: I agree with you 100%. If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
Robbie Banfitch: Oh, Lisa Barlow from Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, Kyle Richards from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Ramona Singer from Real Housewives of New York, and Paris Hilton.
PopHorror: Those are some really interesting answers. I’ve never had those before.
Robbie Banfitch: Did you see Housewives of the North Pole?
PopHorror: No, I’ve never watched any Housewives.
Robbie Banfitch: Oh my goodness. So them, and also musicians. A lot of musicians. It would be cool to do a horror movie with Lana Del Rey but that’s a pipe dream I think.
PopHorror: That would be amazing. She has a very distinct look that you could do a lot with.
Robbie Banfitch: Sixties style, for sure.
PopHorror: Yes! What is up next for you?
Robbie Banfitch: My new feature film I was talking about that has my mom in it is called Tinsman Road, and it will premiere at a festival next month.
PopHorror: That’s exciting!
Robbie Banfitch: So we’ll have a chance to check out a new movie one month after my first movie opens. That just happens to be the case due to timing and the fact that I was pretty bored during the pandemic, so I just kind of made some stuff.
PopHorror: I will have to keep an eye out for that.
Robbie Banfitch: What’s your favorite horror movie?
PopHorror: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Robbie Banfitch: Yes! Mine’s Candyman but then The Texas Chain Saw Massacre I think I’ve watched more times, technically, so I don’t know if that means it’s my favorite or not.
PopHorror: That was my next question for you.
Robbie Banfitch: Candyman, and Session 9, and Texas Chain Saw, and The Shining.
Thank you to Robbie for taking the time to speak with us. The Outwaters is now exclusively on Screambox!