Ari Aster says Beau is Afraid completes his "unofficial trilogy" with Hereditary and Midsommar

Joaquin Phoenix in Beau is Afraid
(Image credit: A24)

Ari Aster sees Beau is Afraid as the capper to an "unofficial trilogy" with Hereditary and Midsommar – even though the former is more of a dark, discomfiting comedy than an outright horror.

In the latest issue of SFX magazine, which features Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on the cover, the filmmaker described the upcoming movie as a three-hour "Jewish Lord of the Rings", and somewhat of "a parody" of his previous flicks. One that delves a little deeper into the themes they all have in common...

“In some ways I saw this as… I mean, it's too reductive, but this functions almost as a parody of the last two, while also, I think, going deeper, in a way," Aster tells the publication. "If anything, I've always seen these as an unofficial trilogy, and the things I'm planning to do next are much more divorced from those three, which are obsessed with the question of family and the burden of being a parent, or an offspring. Really just the burden of being in relationships with anybody else!"

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Talking about the similarities between horror and comedy, Aster went on: "I think both modes really come down to set-up and punchline. [With horror] you're being set up by a scenario that is troubling or worrisome and could go wrong in any number of ways, and then what does that reveal that is meant to upset you or horrify you or disturb you? I think about HP Lovecraft and so many of his stories are like, 'And then the next thing I saw was so horrible, so ghastly, so absolutely bone-chilling...' 

"Of course, the more you do that, the more difficult it is to satisfy whatever is building up in the mind of the reader, or the viewer," he continues. "But still, there's a punchline in there – what is the answer to the thing that you've built up? Which is how a joke works, right?"

Starring Parker Posey, Amy Ryan, Nathan Lane, Patti LuPone, and Joaquin Phoenix, Beau is Afraid follows an anxiety-ridden man who embarks on a epic, surrealist quest to get "home" to his mother following her death.

That's just a snippet of our interview, available in the latest issue of SFX Magazine, which features Strange New Worlds season 2 on the cover and is available on newsstands from Wednesday, May 17. For even more from SFX, sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.

Editor-at-Large, Total Film

Jamie Graham is the Editor-at-Large of Total Film magazine. You'll likely find them around these parts reviewing the biggest films on the planet and speaking to some of the biggest stars in the business – that's just what Jamie does. Jamie has also written for outlets like SFX and the Sunday Times Culture, and appeared on podcasts exploring the wondrous worlds of occult and horror. 

With contributions from