To coincide with the new release of sonically charged horror Sound of Violence on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital following its UK premiere at Arrow FrightFest, we spoke to writer-director Alex Noyer to learn some of his biggest cinematic influences.
In the film, a young girl recovers her hearing and gains synthetic abilities during the brutal murder of her family. Finding solace in the sounds of bodily harm, as an adult she pursues a career in music composing her masterpieces through gruesome murders.
Starring Jasmin Savoy Brown (2022’s Scream, The Leftovers), Sound of Violence is one of the most memorable and shocking horrors of the year. But what inspired the film, and its creator?
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Alex Noyer says, “This is my favourite movie of all time. I was 12 years old when I saw it and was very aware of its video nasty reputation. I felt it was such a rebellious film to watch. When I finally saw it, the combination of music and violence, paired with Stanley Kubrick’s direction and the commitment of the actors, really blew my mind. It’s not really a horror movie as such, but it exists in its own space. This film means the world for me.”
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
“I saw this when I was nine years old, the first horror movie I ever saw. In hindsight, I think it showed me what was possible, and it broke the rules. For those who don’t know, there’s not much of a TV watershed in France, where I was growing up at the time, and I saw it in the middle of the afternoon, can you imagine?”
The Evil Dead (1981)
“I really love Night of the Living Dead, but the next summer when I saw The Evil Dead, I found it even more insane. It felt like the rules had changed, and people could be as crazy and weird as they wanted, which still inspires me to this day. I like to tell people that my passion for horror got me kicked out of the boy scouts! I took a French magazine called Mad Movies into scouts and they called my dad saying I had an inappropriate magazine. I think he expected Playboy or something, so when he showed up and saw their reaction to that magazine, he realised I didn’t exactly belong there!”
Heavy Metal (1981)
“It’s not just about the music and unapologetic, wild comic book culture that was around it, it’s very bold, energetic and fun. I was a teenager when I saw this and it made a big impression on me at a pivotal time. Go and watch The Fifth Element and I think it takes a huge amount of influence from Heavy Metal.”
American Psycho (2000)
“This inspired me a lot in the crafting of my film and it’s one which a lot of audiences have picked up on. Within the story, we follow someone we like or relate to in a way, while seeing them do unspeakable things. That’s a dynamic I found very interesting, and a challenge I wanted to take on as a writer.”
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
“It’s interesting how films can shape your narrative directly or even indirectly. You can watch films that have no direct bearing on what you’re doing, and they still inspire you in some way. A good example for me is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It’s one of the most memorable, emotional and psychological rollercoasters I’ve seen, and it put me in a state I haven’t often been in. I was a wreck! I’m a big fan of director Julian Schnabel too, in fact my first short documentary was about him, A Conversation with Julian Schnabel.”
Assassination Nation (2018)
“This has got to be one of the most underrated movies of that year. Stylistically, the use of colour and the way identity was so inclusive was extremely inspiring for me. When I started creating Sound of Violence, this helped me see how I could modernise and make my work in tune with the times, while still serving and driving the story.”
“My number one favourite director is Stanley Kubrick. I can’t think of any other director who has worked across so many genres and made such a strong mark.
My horror influences stem from George A. Romero, but I’m a huge Wes Craven and David Cronenberg fan too. In fact, one review compared me to Cronenberg, and I was very happy. I had to read it 15 times because I thought it was a mistake! [laughs] He really knows how to build a monster, so I was very flattered by that comparison.
I love Quentin Tarantino’s style and energy, too. When I was starting out and trying to find my voice as a filmmaker, I read his comments that he didn’t go to film school, he went to films. I love that and it inspired me a lot. He’s true to himself and keeps his work authentic, he simply is how he is, and his work shows that. Hopefully I’ve been able to achieve that with Sound of Violence and I hope I have the guts to keep going.”