'The Innkeepers,' the new film from director Ti West, investigates all the things that go bump in the night at the eerie Yankee Pedlar Inn, a hotel set to close its doors for good. Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are watching the front desk, but there aren't too many guests ... at least not of the living kind.
The haunted horror film is set to be released Feb. 3, but audiences can catch an early glimpse with video on demand. Recently, we caught up with West for a candid conversation about ghosts and his work in the horror genre.
Q. How did this project start for you?
West: I guess it started when we made 'The House of the Devil' a few years ago. We stayed at this hotel, and we stayed there just because it’s a cheap place to stay. And we would drive about 30 minutes to set every day to make this satanic horror movie, but weirder things would happen back at the hotel where we were staying.
I didn’t think too much of it at the time. I just thought of it as being funny stories. And then about a year later when I was trying to think of what to do next, I wanted to do a ghost story, and I thought, ‘What if I just made the ghost story like the one I lived?’
So I wrote it about the experiences we had at the Yankee Pedlar. And then we called the Yankee Pedlar to see if they would let us shoot there, and they said, ‘Yes.’ And the next thing I knew we were back there making a movie. It was really an odd way to do things.
Q. The hotel management liked the idea of having a ghost story filmed there?
West: They seemed into it and they also could use the money of a movie crew staying there for a while. It was like a double whammy.
Q. Is it a creepy hotel?
West: It’s not scary because it’s kind of a cooky place. There’s a weird vibe there, for sure. I’m sure Sara (Paxton) told you little ghostie things. I don’t believe in ghosts. The only one I think was really weird is that in the movie, the room we use for the most haunted room, like the honeymoon suite, the only reason I used that room was because it was on the third floor at the end of the hallway and it was big enough to do a dolly shot. It was purely technical reasons.
When we wrapped I found out that that is the most haunted room in real life. And it could just be a coincidence, but it’s a weird one. And when you add it up with all the other things that were going on. It’s a strange place, for sure.
Q. How did you find these actors?
West: Well, Pat (Healy) is someone I knew a little bit in real life. I just e-mailed him and said, ‘Do you want to be in this movie?’ And he did. So that was pretty easy.