West’s films tread familiar horror ground (paranormal activity, creepy houses, satanic practices, a fair share of blood) but always with a modern touch, a wink toward what’s come before and patient, suspenseful storytelling—the slow burn. Following his feature-length debut The Roost (2005), about four friends stranded on a remote farm replete with killer bats, West has to continued direct, write, edit, produce and at times act in his own films. His titles include the new cult classic The House of the Devil (2009), a Rosemary’s Baby-meets-pitch-perfect-′80s-pastiche; The Innkeepers (2011), with Kelly McGillis (Top Gun, Witness) starring as a psychic medium; the “Second Honeymoon” segment for horror anthology V/H/S (2012); and The Sacrament (2013), a faux found-footage documentary about a Jonestown-like cult.
Last year, West traded ghosts for gunslingers in In a Valley of Violence, a Western shoot-′em-up starring Ethan Hawke and John Travolta. His skills have been applied to the small screen as well, with directing stints for such series as Scream and Wayward Pines. More recently West helmed an episode for this season of Robert Kirkman’s Outcast, a possession-and-exorcism-focused drama complete with demons and dark secrets.
The video above highlights filmmaking’s allure for West, his affinity for horror in particular and the time he spent honing his craft at SVA.