Ti West hadn’t made a horror film in nearly a decade, the last one 2013’s The Sacrament. Truth be told, I had forgotten the he had one coming out, X, which opens this week and I will be screening later tonight. But the slasher flick also had its world premiere at SXSW over the weekend, and clearly West is enjoying being back in the genre. How do we know? Because he’s already shot a prequel, titled Pearl, and teased it to enthusiastic audiences in Austin.
This is a big deal for a couple of reasons. West is one of the best horror filmmakers around but he’s never done a sequel to one of his own films. No, Cabin Fever 2 doesn’t count. Also, A24 very rarely does followups to any of their projects, although with The Souvenir Part II they’ve done a couple within the last year.
Set in the 1970s, X follows an amateur filmmaking crew in Texas shooting a porn movie, only to end up the prey of a murderous elderly couple. The film stars Brittany Snow, Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Kid Cudi, and Owen Campbell. Goth plays both one of the actresses and the killer old woman, Pearl. She also reprises a younger version of that role for the prequel, which is set in 1918.
West isn’t doing all of this as a one-off, either. He wants to turn X into a full-blown franchise.
“I’m trying to build a world out of all this, like people do these days,” West said ahead of the SXSW premiere. “You can’t make a slasher movie without a bunch of sequels.”