The latest installment of A24's Deep Cuts podcast is a must-listen, featuring a chat between two of the most exciting names in genre filmmaking at the moment: Robert Eggers and Ari Aster. 2019 sees the release of sophomore features from both directors; Aster’s Midsommar, in theaters now, and Eggers’ The Lighthouse, arriving later this year. It’s been four years since Eggers made his debut with the hit horror flick The Witch, which became an instant favorite among the genre crowd (and inspired exhausting debates on social media over its classification as a horror film—the surest sign that you’ve made a very good horror movie). Although ultimately successful, Eggers explains that the marketing was a point of contention between the filmmaker and A24:
So we didn’t have any stars for The Witch. A24 felt they needed something special for marketing, and they wanted to have the Satanic Temple endorse the film. I don’t have anything against the Satanic Temple or their political agenda or anything like that at all, but I didn’t want the movie endorsed by the Satanic Temple like I wouldn’t want it being endorsed by something that called itself Christ’s Temple either. And I have tons of personal philosophical, semi-spiritual reasons for not wanting this, and also, I said, ‘People are going to think I’m a fucking Satanist.’
Undeterred by Eggers, A24 partnered with the Satanic Temple to promote The Witch. Most reasonable folks probably didn’t make assumptions about Eggers’ personal beliefs based on that marketing gimmick, but while the director was getting ready to scout locations for another project, it turns out that some people most certainly did think he was a fucking Satanist—at least in Poland. “The woman who was running the film office said, ‘We don’t want Robert Eggers coming to Poland because he’s a Satanist,’” he says. Eggers subsequently had to “spend a week convincing them” that he didn’t make some unholy bond with that goat.