Catching up with Emoi, composer for The Accursed and Willy’s Wonderland

The Accursed - Courtesy Screen Media Films
The Accursed - Courtesy Screen Media Films /

Upcoming dark horror film The Accursed has a couple of unexpected ties with the campy, somewhat goofy Willy’s Wonderland; one of those ties is director Kevin Lewis, and the other is composer Emoi, who scored both films.

1428 Elm had the opportunity to chat with Emoi when Willy’s Wonderland was released, and we enjoyed the conversation so much that we were more than happy to catch up with him about his work on the upcoming The Accursed. You can watch the trailer for The Accursed at the end of this interview.

1428 Elm: Hi, Emoi! We spoke last year, just before Willy’s Wonderland released, and now you are working on another feature film, The Accursed. It stars two big name actresses, Mena Suvari and Meg Foster, so that’s a pretty good followup to Nicolas Cage. Tell our readers about The Accursed.

Emoi: Hi Carla, so nice chatting with you again! The Accursed is a very unique brand of horror film.  In many ways it’s like a horror-drama really. It is also very metaphoric, so I think a person’s relationship to the film will be quite personal. My interpretation is that it is a story mainly about guilt and regret…the kind that comes from children having to suffer the sins of their parents – which I believe will hit home for a lot of people.  It is a psychological, spiritual journey into the darkly repressive aspects of not only facing one’s demons, but also inheriting them.

1428 Elm: Willy’s Wonderland was your first full-length film, and you scored it during the pandemic. How different was your experience scoring The Accursed, with not so many precautions in place?

The Accursed
Emoi – Courtesy Projection PR/Jesse Boots /

Emoi: It was very different. One of the things that still haunts me to this day with Willy’s was that due to the pandemic, I couldn’t get children to sing on those spooky kids songs. I had to do a lot to cheat that and it still doesn’t sound near as good as it would have. With The Accursed, besides the score, I also had the opportunity to write two songs for the film, but this time we had options, so Kevin and I thought that one of the songs, You Are My Baby Girl – which is the Mother and the daughter song – should be performed by a female singer. And so I got to venture into the studio with the amazing Sydney Ember on that. Also just being able to meet Kevin finally in the flesh after working together for two years was awesome!

The Accursed is a very different film from Emoi’s last big project

1428 Elm: The two films are very different in tone (even though both were directed by Kevin Lewis). Willy’s Wonderland was very fast-paced and sort of campy, you compared its style to The Evil Dead, and after I saw it, I totally got that comparison. The Accursed is much darker and more serious in tone. Tell me how the different styles of film influenced your musical scores.

Emoi: Yes, very different scores here. You nailed it, campy vs. serious. Willy’s was electric guitar, kids sing-a-longs, 80’s new wave, didgeridoo, the weirder the better, because you are scoring Nic Cage pulverizing a bunch of furry animatronics. But The Accursed is a dark, very unsettling story. So the music needed to be heavily dramatic, featuring unique handmade instruments, lots of musical sound design, dark orchestral arrangements, unnerving stingers, textures, and character themes that would span various emotions from sadness, to isolation, loss, fear, etc.

1428 Elm: Willy’s Wonderland was a fairly big hit with the horror crowd, did working on it open some doors for you?

Emoi: The biggest door was the amazing relationship I’ve developed with Kevin Lewis, who has not only become an incredible collaborator, but also a great friend.

1428 Elm: Tell us what’s coming up next from you…if you are allowed to talk about it, of course.

Emoi: Kevin has a lot of projects in development, and many of them are very exciting, but the one I’m really crossing my fingers for is a script that he co-wrote called The Houdini Pact – which is just such an awesome story. I probably can’t give too many details at this time, but trust me, it is one heck of a story!

1428 Elm: And just for fun, in closing, what are some of your favorite horror films you’ve seen over the past year?

Emoi: Does Blonde count as a horror film? Haha. I thought Prey was extremely well done. Other than that I haven’t had too much time to watch anything, because when you are working on a film, it consumes your life. Now that The Accursed is finished, I have a long list of films I need to catch up on, including, but not limited to, Deadstream, Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, The Black Phone, Nope, X, Scream, and I cannot wait to watch the new Hellraiser!

1428 Elm: Great choices! Thanks so much for chatting with me today, and I will keep my fingers crossed for The Houdini Pact.

The Accursed will be available on demand October 14, and can be found on Vudu, redbox, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.

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Are you a fan of dark horror? Are you planning to watch The Accursed? Tell us what kind of horror you prefer in the comments section.