'Horror is at the (skewered, bleeding) heart of his obsession with films - not even the director of The Exorcist has name-checked it so often in public - and one inevitably seeks a Freudian explanation in his childhood. Did someone jump out of a cupboard and frighten him at an impressionable age?'The Guardian has published a wonderful interview with popular film critic Mark Kermode, written by cultural commentator Mark Lawson. I've been an avid fan of Kermode's reviews since I was thirteen, after catching him in a documentary he wrote and presented on the film Blade Runner. His knowledge and his enthusiasm shine through whenever he is discussing the films he loves, but he is often equally passionate about the films that he hates. He co-hosts a Radio 5 programme with Simon Mayo on Friday afternoons, which has become popular for his rantings as much as for the banter. But whatever you might think of Kermode, or his opinions, he is rarely less than entertaining.
'[Kermode:] "Ha! From when I was very young, I always liked horror films. I remember very clearly seeing the trailer for The Exorcist when I was 11. I knew that I couldn't go to see the film - but just the idea of it was enough. A car pulling up outside a house, and a voice saying that something beyond comprehension is happening to someone inside. I remember the sense of transcendent terror; a sense of something beyond this world and beyond our comprehension. For some people it's football, for some people it's girls, for others it's pot and, for me, it was horror. And I want to be very clear about this: it made me very happy to be scared. I really liked the feeling and I cherished those nightmares."'
Lawson's interview touches on Kermode's radio programme, its possibilities for the future, and the reviewer's recent forays into presenting with BBC arts programme The Culture Show. Kermode shares his passion for the horror genre in particular, and discusses the influence that his wife, film professor Linda Ruth Williams, has on his reviews. Lawson suggests that Kermode's relationship with his wife could be his main weakness as an interpreter of modern cinema; I think that he's just an occasional sucker for sentimentality.
You can read The Guardian's interview in full by clicking here; you can find the official BBC Culture Show website here; or, if you'd like to find out more about Mark Kermode's weekly radio show with Simon Mayo, you can listen live or download a recent podcast here. Enjoy!