Greek mythology is full of tragic horror. From the story of Persephone to the tragedy of Prometheus (getting your liver torn out every day for all eternity??), the Greeks knew how to tell a terrifying and heartbreaking story. In his new film Pollen, director D.W. Medoff took inspiration from those tragedies to shape his terrifying creature feature.
Read the full synopsis:
After a senior coworker assaults Hera, her dream job becomes a living nightmare as she tries to keep her career together while being tormented at work, at home, and in her dreams by a mysterious tree monster.
In our exclusive clip from Pollen, Hera wakes up to find a strange tree monster standing at the foot of her bed…
Watch the clip below:
Dread Central also spoke with Medoff about what inspired the creature design, tragic horror, and more.
Dread Central: Tell me more about the film’s monster. What inspired its design?
D.W. Medoff: Pollen has some Greek Mythological elements built into the story, and the visual appearance of the monster was inspired by Dryads, typically female tree spirits. This tree monster is a manifestation of Hera’s trauma, but it’s more than that. Trees represent natural life cycles, and what happened to Hera happens to many people. Over and over. The pollen from the tree is constantly spreading. The monster is immovable, grotesque, and uncaring. It represents a problem deeply rooted in our culture. The tree monster is intentionally unnamed because it is such a recurring problem in the world. We even had multiple men wear the tree monster suit during the film as a nod to the fact that any man can become someone’s tree monster.
DC: Were there any films, in particular, you took inspiration for in making Pollen?
DM: Saint Maud, The Babadook, Lake Mungo, It Follows, and Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House. Stories that are truly tragic and explore the real pain of living are what inspire me. The world, despite its beauty, is destructive and chaotic, and people have the potential to be terrible monsters. As a storyteller, I gravitate towards all that hurt because I am so afraid of it.
DC: Why did you choose to tackle violence against women and process trauma in your film? What did you hope to add to the broader conversation in the genre about those topics?
DM: This movie is fortunate to have a star like Ava Rose bring to life the torment of a young woman after surviving sexual assault. Pollen is a horror movie, but the villain is very real. We need to continue talking about violence against women and teaching younger generations how to be better. We also need to discuss how women are treated in the workplace. Not just the pay gap in corporate America, but on a daily basis.
Women are forced to prove themselves repeatedly. Men take being on a simple Zoom call for granted and sometimes demand women turn on their cameras. Women should not need to look a certain way or be forced to act a certain way in order to get respect. Right now is an important time because men and politicians are discussing women’s choices over their own bodies, and we need to ensure we are listening to and supporting women.
Pollen comes to VOD on June 6, 2023.