Alexandre Aja sees nothing new under the sun: the acclaimed French director regards imagination as “combination” and the horror-genre driven by universal, repeatable fears. After starting his career at age eighteen by earning himself a nomination for the Palme D’Or at Cannes Film Festival for his 1997 short film Over The Rainbow, Aja rose to international fame with his horror films High Tension (2003) and The Hills Have Eyes (2006). Aja is a pillar of the New French Extremity school of film.

We sat down with Aja for the third installment of our Directors series following the release of his latest horror mini-series, Campfire Creepers, at Tribeca Film Festival. This is Aja’s first foray into virtual reality, challenging the traditional model of the horror film by bringing the viewer face to face with the subject and allowing no reprieve from the action on screen in front of them. We got his word on the universality of horror cinema, the re-interpretive aspects of filmmaking and the crucial importance of loving your material.