These days, a scary movie will likely consist of some predictable devices.
There will be dramatic music.
The characters will investigate a series of false alarms such as ravens suddenly flying out from behind the shed, or a crash in the next room that turns out to be a cat knocking over a vase.
There will also be plenty of dark windows and mirrors for characters to peer into, and then glance away from just as the killer slips by.
This month The Guild Hall makes its own attempt at creeping out an audience.
Freak Winds follows insurance salesman Henry Crumb, played by Winluck Wong, into the home of Ernest and Myra, played by James McCullough and Charlotte Courage.
Director Sarah Rodgers compares the production to some on-screen hits, both new and old.
“It reminds me of Dexter,” she says. “It’s really suspenseful, but it’s more about the twisted intellect of this guy. To me — and this is what’s always so great about theatre — it’s about the relationships.
“There are three people, and it’s like watching a bit of a triangle. In a sense I would compare it more to Hitchcock, because Hitchcock often had two or three lead people and it was about the mind games and that sense of suspense that continues through the story and through character.”
Rodgers has directed for The Guild multiple times, travelling North from her home in Vancouver. Most recently she performed in the comedy The Number 14 at the Yukon Arts Centre. She admits that laughter is her forté.
“I definitely have a wide spectrum of styles that I’ve directed,” she says. “But I love comedy, and am a comedian myself.”
Freak Winds presents unique circumstances: she must balance the elements of dark comedy with real suspense.
“As director I’m working on finding the balance of humor and fear,” Rodgers says. “When we read [Freak Winds] out loud with the actors I realized what a great comic piece it is. It’s hilarious. But there also needs to be a real threat underlying the whole piece. This man, Henry Crumb, he doesn’t know if his life is in danger or not throughout the whole play. He’s unsure if these are good people, or if they’re truly evil.”
The play was written by Australian playwright Martial Napier. It will be one of two Australian plays featured at The Guild this season.
“It was a massive hit by the way, when it was produced in Australia about 10 years ago,” says Rodgers. “You could not get tickets to it. In 2006 he took it to Broadway. It definitely has that Aussie humour to it — which is laughing at themselves, and dark. It’s got a darkness and it’s very clever.”
Freak Winds plays at The Guild Hall theatre from Sept. 26 to Oct. 12 on Wednesdays through Saturdays. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Whitehorse Motors and all shows start at 8 p.m.