[Interview] Director Samuel Bodin Talks ‘Cobweb’, John Carpenter, and More

The new horror movie Cobweb spins a genuinely scary tale, of a young boy who begins to fear his own parents, in all the warm autumn colors and October atmosphere of Halloween, and we recently talked to director Samuel Bodin about creating his vision of a holiday that he mainly experienced through movies and books when he was growing up in France.

In a video conversation earlier this week, Bodin, who previously created and directed the Netflix series Marianne, told us that much of his earliest exposure to Halloween itself came from John Carpenter’s 1978 classic film. “To be very honest, in France we don’t do Halloween,” he said. “When you’re a teenager, it’s an excuse to make big parties, but there is no traditional holiday about it. So all of what I knew about Halloween was through literature and obviously movies. I think my biggest contact with Halloween was John Carpenter’s movie. Halloween for me was the sign of Halloween. So all my feelings about it were kind of a phantasm. 

“I dreamed about maybe one day I would be able to do a Halloween movie or a Halloween tale, and when Cobweb came, it was, for me, a chance, but it was still kind of a dream. I did it with a feeling of what is really the holiday in the USA or this kind of film. I wrote my own, in a way. I wrote my little own Halloween celebration with my imagination and my feelings, so it was a great experience for me.”

In the film, eight-year-old Peter (played by Woody Norman) is plagued by a mysterious, constant tap, tap from inside his bedroom wall – a tapping that his parents (Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr) insist is all in his imagination. As Peter’s fear intensifies, he believes that his parents could be hiding a terrible, dangerous secret and questions their trust. And for a child, what could be more frightening than that? Cleopatra Coleman also stars as Peter’s concerned substitute teacher.

The story, written by Chris Thomas Devlin, takes place in the week leading up to and culminating on Halloween, as the holiday is effectively weaved into the plot. Bodin tells HDN that the Halloween aspect was definitely part of what drew him to this project. “It was part of my decision,” he said, “because when I read the script the first time, it was written as a Halloween tale. There was this kind of weird feeling. It was not a normal script. Since the beginning, it was like it tells you a tale, a story, a kind of weird lullaby. It talked to me a lot. I said, ‘Okay, with that script, I really can bring my way to do it’. It will not be a grounded story. It will be like a weird Halloween joke, a weird Halloween tale, but it was really already on (the script) by Chris since the beginning.

“I love that feeling that you’re in a weird fairy tale with a big twist in it or something that you don’t want know, or something like that. So it was there since the beginning, and from that, we really embraced it.”

We also discussed the challenges of creating all that wonderful Halloween atmosphere featured throughout Cobweb while filming in Bulgaria, which, like France, also does not typically celebrate the holiday, and we talked more about John Carpenter’s influence on Bodin’s work, as well as that of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, which he re-watches every three months partly to learn more about filmmaking, and more.

You can watch our full exclusive interview with Samuel Bodin below.

Cobweb is currently playing in select theaters, from Lionsgate. Read our review of Cobweb here.

For more Halloween news, follow @HalloweenDaily.

Matt Artz

Founded Halloween Daily News in 2012 and the Halloween International Film Festival in 2016. Professional writer/journalist/photographer since 2000.