NEW YORK — Some might say the horror genre is in Oz Perkins' genes.
The actor, whose father Anthony Perkins starred in "Psycho," is making his directorial debut this spring with the psychological thriller "The Blackcoat's Daughter." He said he was inspired by the classic film "Rosemary's Baby."
"That's a very glamorous movie where a lot of the tension is paid to silence and colour and texture and glamour, look, beauty, frailty. And so keeping with those sort of concepts and those feelings, those vibes, I set out to just sort of to make something like that that was going to be sort of a sad movie disguised as a horror movie," he said.
Perkins also wrote the film, which stars Lucy Boynton, Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka, of "Mad Men." Shipka said she jumped at the chance to be a part of the female-led project.
"I think I've been super lucky to fall into projects even like this that have really strong, interesting, cool, and creepy female leads," she said.
"The Blackcoat's Daughter " follows two teens who are terrorized by dark, supernatural forces during winter break at their boarding school.
"I've always been really terrible with horror films," Boynton said. "I scare really easily and can't stand all the violence and gore. So it was so exciting reading a script that had all of those horrific elements to it, but was so much more about the characters' experience. So it's much more a film that's about grief and loss that uses horror as a kind a vehicle to drive that. So you kind of get the best of both worlds, doing a really beautiful film while also having all the blood and guts that you need."
Perkins said he's often working through his relationship with his famous father. Anthony Perkins died in 1992 when his son was not yet 20.
"There's a knot there which I think is obviously common for a lot of people, especially people whose parents die when they're young. There's a quality of like, 'Oh the person is gone.' That's when finding out about them starts," he said.
"The Blackcoat's Daughter" opens in U.S. theatres and On Demand on Friday.
Brooke Lefferts, The Associated Press