As it turns out, the Netflix original movie, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, is a sort of family affair. The ghost story is written and directed by Osgood “Oz” Perkins, son of the late actor Anthony Perkins. His brother, Elvis, created the soundtrack, and the entire film is a tribute to dear old dad.
Just in time for Halloween, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House premieres on Netflix on October 28. The movie is “less interested in the things that go bump in the night, and more in the ghosts that we make out of the past, and out past people that we can’t seem to leave alone,” Perkins said in the film’s press release.
Inspired by the work of Edgar Allen Poe and American ballads like “Pretty Polly” and “Fatal Flower Garden,” which weave a story of murder, Pretty Thing tells the story of Lily (Ruth Wilson), a hospice nurse sent to care for a dying patient in her home. The woman is Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss), a former gothic horror writer who is suffering from dementia. While there, Lily starts to read Iris’ most famous book and discovers that the book is “quite literally part of the house itself,” said Perkins.
“The house in the film was imagined as an echo of a rural Massachusetts house that my father bought in the 1960s and where I spent all of my summers as a child and Lily’s curiosity is an echo of my own,” Osgood explained.
He goes on to say that the Netflix project has been a “timid search” for truths about his father “whom I knew not enough.” Osgood’s mother, photographer Berry Berenson, also mentioned the house in an interview with the New York Times, where she says Anthony loved the small house in Cade Cod, because he was “treated like a private person.”
Osgood’s first acting appearance on screen was playing the role of Young Norman Bates for his father’s sequel, Psycho 2, in 1983. Although Anthony was tired of being stereotyped by his role as Norman Bates, he made the most it with his directional debut for Psycho 3 in 1986.
Anthony passed away in 1992 due to AIDS, and only a few people knew about it at the time. Berenson shared this quote from the famous actor that her sons wrote down from one of their last meetings with their father.
“I chose not to go public about this, because to misquote Casablanca, I’m not much at being noble, but it doesn’t take too much to see that the problems of an old actor don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy old world.”
Berry later died in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. She was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11.
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After years of acting, Osgood tried his hand at directing with the horror film February, which was later re-titled The Blackcoat’s Daughter and will be released sometime next year by A24. Netflix saw the film (before A24 made a decision to purchase the film) and wanted to know what else Perkins had up his sleeve. He shared with them his idea for Pretty Things, and the next day, Netflix called him to say that they were on board. Perkins can’t say enough good about the company.
“And I said, ‘No changes, no notes?’… We asked for money and they gave us the amount of money we wanted, which was two-and-a-half times as much as we had the first time.” Perkins said in an interview with ComingSoon.net. “And they let me put whoever I wanted in it. And they never bothered me and they never came to the set and looked over my shoulder. They never came to the set. And at the end of the process, in the final week of cutting they had five notes and they were all great. That’s the true word for word about Netflix.”
[Featured Image by Jeremy Chan/Getty Images]