When I was a kid I wasn't allowed to watch horror movies at all. And actually, one of the genesis points for 'Mandy' and 'Black Rainbow' was this memory I have of being in video stores, reading the backs of videos and looking at the art, imagining some kind of non-existent imaginary film based on that.
I think what I was unconsciously expressing in 'Black Rainbow' was a very abstract and metaphorical grief, in the way I had suppressed my grief about my mother dying. In retrospect I realise I started writing 'Mandy' as a sort of antidote to that, to sort of express those emotions, to purge that grief.
You write a character, but in essence, it's just a concept of what it could be, and then actors come in and they have their own sort of interpretations and thoughts. If you respond to those and then go forward with them, then it's kind of like magic to see the idea you had become alive and in the flesh.
I try to look at the films as I make them from a distance, in a way. I think of them as kind of pop culture artefacts. I'll often make posters and tag lines as I'm working on them, and not just conceive of them as a story I'm going to tell, but as a whole, a piece - a whole object that exists in the pop culture realm.