When Indie Memphis happened towards the end of last year, I saw an instantly unforgettable movie. It’s called I Blame Society, directed by Gillian Wallace Horvat. It’s a hilarious, f***ed up mockumentary about a fledgling director who decides to change career paths to that of a serial killer. It all starts when Gillian gets a compliment from her friends that she’d make a great murderer. She then decides that her next film project will be a documentary about killing someone if she ever decided to do it. What follows is a lot of hilarious chaos contained within an expose on how women are treated in the entertainment industry. It’s super smart, and I enjoyed watching it more than once. I’m really happy I was able to talk to Gillian about the making of the film. Here’s the conversation as follows.
So is this based in reality a little bit, like did your friends actually tell you that you would make a good murderer?
They were some friends from college. This was out in L.A., but we’d known each other for a long time, and yeah, they told me that I would make a good murderer. I was immediately flattered. Deeply, deeply flattered, to be totally honest. I just love being told that I’m good at anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. I crave validation. So I said, “Why do you think that?” They described some of the qualities that they thought were relevant to good murdering that I would have.
They’re the ones that are discussed in the film. Having a vision of how you would complete something, and then sticking to the plan, being committed. Not deviating from it. Having the follow-through. Having the courage of your own convictions where if you face criticism and doubt, you can see through something to the very end and never waver. This is the real problem for murderers. They have second thoughts and doubts, and remorse. They give themselves away, but I don’t have that problem. Before I do something, I really reflect on it. I truly weigh the consequences, and then I set my mind out to accomplish it. While we talked about those things because we all went to film school together, we realized those were similar qualities to what makes a good director. So they were like, “You’re a good director,” so they said, “So you would be a good murderer.” That kind of planted the seed that eventually blossomed into this film.
“I just love being told that I’m good at anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. I crave validation.”
What was it like working with Chase Williamson in the capacity that you did? Because I thought the dynamic between you two was pretty hilarious.
Thank you. I had directed Chase in a short a few years ago called Whiskey Fist that premiered at SXSW. I had wanted to work with Chase from way before then. I always thought that he was an incredible performer. Our mutual friend Lindsay Burdge put us in touch. I think she said something like, “You guys are basically the same person.” So even before we met, we were getting told by multiple friends we had deeply shared sensibilities. Then, when I met Chase, we were supposed to just have a coffee, and it ended up turning into hopping from the coffee house to the bar next door and staying there for eight hours. Or maybe we drank eight pitchers. It was something like that. It was such a gorgeous soul connection. I think we knew at that moment that we always wanted to be together artistically.
So, it’s been no surprise that we’ve ended up collaborating. He is a true-crime expert, so I wanted to bring him on as a co-writer on this project, even though I’ve never had a co-writer before. I knew that there’s no way that I could absorb what he’s been absorbing for years into the space of time that we needed to write the script. I really loved working with him. He’s really prolific and motivated. He pushed me into places that I would have felt were too narcissistic if I had just written them myself. He wrote scenes that I felt that I could do because I didn’t write them. Knowing that I was going to play the main character, I felt uncomfortable about writing the boyfriend/girlfriend scenes because I had this kind of anxiety about being perceived as a Zack Braff type.
"…You can't have a film financed by a multi-national corporation encouraging people to burn down credit card companies"