The Clovehitch Killer is one of my favorite films of 2018. A teenager growing up in a religious family in the Bible Belt comes to suspect that he might know more about the origins of a serial killer haunting his town than he’d ever hoped to. Charlie Plummer, Dylan McDermott, Samantha Mathis, and Madisen Beaty all give incredible performances into this impeccably crafted film that finally graces theaters on November 16th. I had the opportunity to speak briefly with director Duncan Skiles on the phone before the premiere of the film at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.
So, I was wondering, you and Christopher Ford (the screenwriter) have worked together before, so did you guys come to the idea for The Clovehitch Killer together or what was the conception for this film?
Duncan Skiles: I came to the idea independently after doing a lot of reading on serial killers and thinking that I hadn’t really seen a movie that captured what I was feeling, so I developed an outline and pitched it to him (Ford). He was excited about it and he decided to write it, which I’m very thankful for. He’s a great writer.
I read somewhere that this is supposed to be modeled off the BTK killer, is that true? Or did you have anyone specific in mind?
I drew from a number of stories. There’s certainly some that were more influential than others. I don’t like to call out anyone specific, because I know they would appreciate the attention and I don’t want to give it to them.
“I’m more interested in their dilemma than that of the serial killer themselves…”
Typically we don’t really see the effects on the killer’s family and what they go through. How important was that to you? What feelings were you trying to convey?
Well, it was a sense of mundaneness that surrounded a lot of these terrible crimes, and banality. I wanted to create something that felt normal, so I picked a normal setting and shot a lot of it during the daytime. I wanted to approach it from the perspective of a regular person because I’m more interested in their dilemma than that of the serial killer themselves. I asked “What would I do in that situation?” I wanted it to be very relatable.