Get Spooked with Skylar and Jason Gudasz

The brother-sister creatives discuss their art and creepy stories their dad told them.

Skylar and Jason Gudasz took different career paths, though both in creative arenas. Skylar went with music, and her recent album Cinema has gotten rave reviews. Jason is a filmmaker whose short film Place is a dark comedy that involves some visits from the spirit world. Just in time for Halloween, they spoke to each other about the spooky things their Dad told them as kids—and the spooky house they grew up in, among other things.
—Josh Modell, Executive Editor

Skylar Gudasz: Anxiety drives the bus sometimes. 

Jason Gudasz: Like when you’re about to slip off into sleep, but then the tiniest inkling of this thought gets in your head, like “Ah, I’m a little thirsty.” Then that’s all you can think about until you can drink something. That’s anxiety. 

Skylar: Yeah, like last night when I was falling asleep, when I texted you? I was falling asleep and then my brain was like, are you feeling restful? Because now, sabotage! It was like “Well, Jason’s probably dead.” That was the thought that went through my mind. “I think Jason’s dead.” And then I was like, well, I have to text him to see if he’s dead. 

Jason: Why do you keep..? Why do you think I’m dead? 

Skylar: I don’t! It’s just the way my anxiety is manifesting itself right now! 

Jason: I’m very healthy and I don’t do anything dangerous anymore.

Skylar: I know, right! Well, but now you have to knock on wood because something like that is just the perfect setup for a foreshadowing. Okay, okay, okay. What do you think the purpose of a ghost story is? Is it like that quote that’s attributed to David Foster Wallace, that all love stories are ghost stories? Is a ghost story the same thing as a haunting?

Jason: Well, I think about ghost stories—there are all these functions of archetypes. I think most people have heard stories about a “lady of the lake” or a “woman in white” type of ghost, who’s searching for her lost children by the water or looking for her husband who’s missing at sea. When I was making Place I read this article in Desert Oracle about La Llorona, a ghost story from Mexico about this woman in white, who’s always pictured near water. The general story is she drowned her children, and she feels incredibly guilty about it, so now she’s always searching for her children. But the article pointed out that it’s an archetype that’s present around the world.

Skylar: Yes, like Medea who kills her children in the Jason and the Argonauts myth. But she wasn’t a ghost.

Jason: Right, this presence of a woman in white archetype that comes back as a ghost and can be a sort of a manifestation of guilt or longing for something that isn’t there anymore. I know the first version of that sort of ghost story I heard was from when we went to camp. The Candle Lady.

Skylar: I don’t remember the Candle Lady. 

Jason: So there was the homestead on the camp where we went to, Camp Hanover, that was built on this land in rural Virginia that was where the Battle of Cold Harbor took place in the Civil War. There was a house that had been abandoned for some time but you could still walk in the ruins of it. The main crux of the story was that the house burned down while the mother was away, with the children and the father inside. So now this woman in white, The Candle Lady, is always searching for her family. I remember there were lots of stories of people seeing a candle floating in the night at camp, especially by the lake.

Skylar: So the woman in white archetype is searching for a lost something that she feels responsible for, whether it’s her family or children or whatever. That’s interesting because I feel a haunting or ghost can play this role of reckoning with questionable morality. We have these hauntings in the in between places. This gray area between what’s real and what’s not real, or reckoning with what’s totally unacceptable. Do you feel like a ghost is the same thing as haunting? 

Jason: Oh, I don’t know. I can believe in ghosts, somehow I can wrap my head around that, you know, like energy is neither created nor destroyed, so when we do die, the question isn’t about whether or not something is left behind, but what it is exactly that does linger, and are the rest of us living people able to perceive it in the first place. I can sort of buy into seeing flashes of someone or feeling their presence in a place where they were. But I don’t believe that our loved ones are watching from the beyond and that they can tell us things to look out for, like, “Stay away from the market on the Ides of March!” or whatever. A haunting to me, I guess it’s more of a feeling or more of a vibe, even, that doesn’t feel like it’s specific to a person.

Skylar: So less personified and more general. 

Jason: Yes, it could just be something as simple as you know, maybe you’re on a tumultuous fault line, and maybe it’s just like a place something terrible happened or where the vibe is off.

Skylar: So does Place fall within the category of ghost story or haunting or horror? 

Jason: Probably all three in some capacity, but I know I was meditating on the concept of people haunting themselves. In Place the idea was that the ghosts and demons are born within the characters. There’s the moment where the little girl in Place says, “They’re going to take what’s inside us and make it worse.” It’s partially about letting those things destroy ourselves from the inside out, and not being able to communicate about it effectively.

Skylar: Yeah. Makes me think about the James Baldwin quote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Being haunted by things that you can’t face, but are still present within you. So then that makes me wonder, what makes something scary to you? Not to make you give away a formula, but is there something that will definitely unsettle you in a film? Or something specific that you like to explore or employ?

Jason: Well, I’m an ideal suspense audience member because I react to everything. I’m wound tight and I scare very easily. I believe and see all the terrible possibilities. 

Skylar: I’m the same, but it’s so effective for me that I can’t even watch scary movies because I get too scared. 

Jason: You know, coming from working mostly in comedy, comedy and horror are sort of tied together. They both work with the setup-payoff structure, like building tension then having a jump-scare…

Skylar: What specifically is a jump-scare?

Jason: A jump-scare is just a too-loud noise paired with an intense image at an unexpected moment. It’s like when you’re watching a scene and you’re saying to yourself, “Is something behind them? Is something behind them? Ah! It’s in front of them!” It’s primal, an easy form of subverting expectations.

Skylar: I was intrigued by something you said about how ghost stories have a rare enduring quality to them that isn’t necessarily shared by comedy. 

Jason: Yeah, I might be wrong in this, but I think most comedy requires a specificity of the knowledge of whatever is going on at the time. Today’s subtle idiosyncratic jokes within a contemporary film are probably eventually going to be lost on viewers in future generations. In Annie Hall there’s a scene where a young Jeff Goldblum is on the phone in the background of a party in LA, and in a stressed out tone admits, “I… I forgot my mantra.” It’s a bit that’s still kind of funny now, but must have been especially funny to an audience in the 1970’s, when Transcendental Meditation was gaining popularity in California. As a result, I think comedy doesn’t age as well as other genres. People love hearing ghost stories from long ago, but they don’t really care about jokes that have been passed down for centuries and centuries. 

Skylar: I feel like your hunch is right that like, maybe there’s something more related to how fear works in our brain that is primal, that remains.

Jason: But then again you have Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin.

Skylar: Like slapstick?

Jason: Yeah, like physical comedy can work. 

Skylar: So, we grew up with this sense of intensity and the macabre in setting. I feel like that was related, firstly to Dad and his giant family, who emigrated from Poland and then operated and lived on the second floor of the Radozycki funeral home. And there was all this spooky family mythology that accompanied that, like Dad as a little kid going down to the basement to help prepare bodies for burial. And then secondly, I think also where we grew up in Ashland, Virginia, on Yankeetown Road, was the landscape of being deep in the woods of this violent history, digging up bullets from the Civil War in the garden and arrowheads down by the creek. So just a very physically grounded sense of history that was showing up right where we were playing as kids that made the past still very present. 

Jason: I remember the graveyard parties we used to go to, and mainly the pervasiveness of Civil War ghost stories in every building around Ashland. I mean, the building where I went to preschool, my best friend’s house, and the Laserquest building all used to be Confederate hospitals. So we were surrounded by that kind of thing. 

Skylar: Do you feel like these themes of haunted buildings and landscapes are present in your work? I’m thinking about the title of Place.

Jason: Definitely. I think the horror movies that I like the most are ones where it’s centered a lot on the place. 

Skylar: Like The Shining, where there are these people and what changes is they enter into this place? 

Jason: Yes, that they become changed by the place or else the place reveals something else within them, yeah, yeah.  Poltergeist is the same thing: These new people coming into a land that doesn’t belong to them and then having to deal with the vengeance. 

Skylar: Colonization. 

Jason: Yes. If some terrible atrocities take place in a specific location, it’s like, does that energy go away? So yes, I tend to think first about the place. It’s easier for me to access the story through settings. 

Skylar: I’m trying to remember those Civil War ghost stories from Ashland. 

Jason: It’s not even necessarily important exactly what the ghost stories were, but just that they all had the feel of being tied into this idea of the “Old South.”

Skylar: Yeah, some of them felt a little bit like this moral reckoning related to the Confederacy. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but underlying was perhaps people reckoning with the legacy of slavery and the evil and duplicity of you know, white supremacy. Not being able to face it, so having to put it into ghost stories. I feel like this is something that we’re seeing now addressed in Jordan Peele’s movies, but you know, if what scares us societally shows up as monsters and ghosts in culture, what are the monsters of our era that are showing up in film right now, do you think? What’s our collective subconscious reckoning with that’s getting a catharsis on the screen?

Jason: I might need some hindsight to answer that. I heard on some podcast, maybe Radiolab, that in ‘60s films there was this presence of quicksand as a plot element in a lot of movies. You rarely see that in films now, but people at the time had bizarre fears of drowning in quicksand. In Oliver, there’s a scene where Fagan almost gets stuck in a puddle of quicksand, in the middle of a street in London, where quicksand would never be. It’s not even a real thing, but the fear could have been related to the Vietnam War escalation. This quicksand was a representation of the feeling of recklessly dredging into muck you couldn’t escape, as it slowly destroys you. Thinking in terms of what is expressed in today’s horror films, I think millennials are a particularly anxious generation, especially since 2016. I suppose movies like Get Out or Midsommar are essentially driving at the fear of what evils humanity can do to itself. 

Sklyar: Climate change, too. Or what about Black Mirror and the fear of technology? Or, I haven’t seen any of these because I’m too scared, but there’s Hereditary, or Pandemic, which we are living through now. I’m interested in how this era we’re living through right now is showing up and is going to show up in art. 

Jason: You know, the fear of certain aspects of technology. Or fears of the current administration and fascism rising. Just an anxiety of people being gas-lit. Gaslighting and what humans do to each other. 

So, a question for you—macabre things are floating in the air in the house where we grew up — the setting, and you know, our family history, Dad being an anatomy professor coming from the funeral home… I’m wondering if there’s an example of something from our childhood that’s in your work today. 

Skylar: Well, definitely when I was working on Cinema, I was envisioning Yankeetown a lot. There’s some lines in Have We Met, Sir that are pretty specific to that house in Virginia, stuff about blackberries and the sailboat. The landscape there evokes something I’m not sure if I’ve quite captured yet in a song but that I’ve thought a lot about incorporating. But definitely what’s interesting to me about ghost stories is partially the terms of what people choose to interact with in their settings and what they choose to overlook, you know. 

Jason: I definitely agree with that. Cinema is atmospheric. It feels like there’s a setting where it takes place, some sort of ether or liminal space. Kind of like how you can listen to Kate Bush and you feel like you’re in a Gothic castle. Looming darkness. 

Skylar: Definitely the looming darkness. 

Jason: I guess that people regularly throw around words like haunting or dark when they describe your music or your vocal quality. Is this something where you lean into that or do you think these are kind of placeholder descriptions for something more complex at work?

Skylar: Well that kind of comes back to the original question about, like, what is a haunting, you know? Is haunting just like a longing? The desire to feel connected I would say is definitely in there.  

Jason: In terms of the song “Femme Fatale”—how that opens up with this looming tone. That’s what comes to mind for me as an example of it expressing itself as a little bit of a darker record. 

Skylar: There’s just like a lot of wrestling with mortality on that record. And I think that’s, like, you talked about the ether place, you know, of passage crossing and underworld and rivers, this liminal existence.

Jason: Yeah, crossing the river Styx. I mean, maybe that’s in the line between the songs “Waitress” and “Actress.” It’s like reality vs. fantasy at work? Life, death, and then you kind of explore all these paradoxes we have to live with and wrestle with in living day to day. 

Skylar: I feel like that’s what you wrestle with in your work as well. 

Jason: Remember we were recently talking about how we both listen to that Alison Krauss and Robert Plant record still. 

Skylar: What a great record.

Jason: Yeah, T-Bone Burnett. I don’t even really know how to put my finger on it. Like what? What is that? 

Skylar: Just sort of that je-ne-sais-quoi of eeriness and reverb.

Jason: And your stuff is incredibly different but it’s just there is this similar vibration. 

Skylar: T-Bone Burnett did some Gillian Welch records, too. But that darkness is there in Gil &  Dave records as well, but more in the subject matter than the reverb. There’s a minimalism. Yeah, it’s a liminal space that’s generically Appalachian and feels old, you know, it feels like… There was a Seamus Heaney thing I was reading where he talks about the voice of history, or speaking with a “tone of inevitability.” I feel like that is something that is present in those recordings. Like a longing, moaning, I feel like it’s present in the sort of the fuzz or the static of things, the space of it. The interplay between, like, physicality and the ether. It’s hard to put a finger on it. 

Jason: Early Americana does have these roots in sort of dark subject matters.  I’m thinking early Dolly Parton kind of stuff where every country song is just about people murdering their wives.

Skylar: You know that Doc Watson saying where he’s like “if there’s a river and a woman in a song by the end of the song the woman’s going in the river.” Or something like that. [Laughs.] It’s terrible. 

Jason: The murder ballads I think are going back to that thing you were talking about — warnings and reckonings about entering spaces that are not hospitable. 

Skylar: Yes, maybe you’re not supposed to be there. Maybe it’s dangerous for another reason.

Jason: For some reason Matty Groves is coming to mind. 

Skylar: Well, I’m always trying to think about Matty Groves. You know on that same Fairport record, there’s a tune called “Reynardine,” which is about this werewolf man, and that song is about — and you know, again the Appalachian tunes, a lot of them are coming from old English ballads and that area of geography—this woman walking alone on a road and she encounters, like, a werewolf character essentially. She’s like, venturing alone in an inhospitable environment in the mountains near his castle. But the lesson is not to be trusting of those around you even though they might present as trustworthy. There are no savior figures usually for women who are out alone, in those stories.

Jason: It’s interesting finding out that stories you think are specific to where you are that their roots come from all over the world. 

Skylar: That also makes me think about the women in Place. In terms of the short version (spoiler!) these women do kind of escape the — the thing I mean, I guess you could ask yourself, do they escape — but they aren’t necessarily the ones destroyed by it.  I wonder if that’s like a shift in modern storytelling, where women get to escape.

Jason: Let’s hope so. It’s shifting that way hopefully. While we’re talking about old stories, The Man Buried in The Front Yard story. Can you tell me more about that?

Skylar:  Well, our parents built this house in the woods on this land that used to be an old logging camp, I think shortly after the Civil War. But it was also this place where the Yankees camped during the Civil War, which is why it was called Yankeetown Road. But then it was a logging camp. And there was this tree at the edge of the forest in the front yard that was completely dead, even though all the trees around it were alive, and there was a very old barbed wire fence around the dead tree. So as a little kid, it was always sort of strange. Eventually I think we got it out of Dad — you know Mom would not have told us — that it was the grave of somebody who worked at the logging camp who died in an accident there. I don’t know if we ever figured out or knew how he died. But this grave was right there in the front yard and I don’t think we knew his name or anything like that. It was just this creepy dead tree surrounded by barbed wire on the edge of the woods.

Jason: I just remember Dad saying there was a man buried in the front yard and he had to sign some papers when they built the house that said he was aware that there was a grave and if anybody wanted to come by and visit he would let them. 

Skylar: Yes. And so then, for a while, I was convinced when I was little that I was being visited by his ghost. But, I don’t know, like looking back, I’m like was that real? What was it I was really experiencing, you know? 

Jason: Well, even if you were feeding into it a little bit…  I feel like the version of the story is that the spirit was sort of protective of you. And then that these sort of odd goings-on went away once you started dating your first boyfriend. 

Skylar: I do remember the timing of that. The odd goings-on were just like, lights that would go on and off. There was the kitchen sink that would turn on. But maybe it was just a leaky faucet! I can explain almost all of it away as an adult. But the last thing that I remember the clearest, and feels the least explainable to me, is being downstairs playing the piano and no one else was home. And there was a stack of books on the table and, on top of that, a stack of papers.  I was just playing and then all of a sudden — as if somebody had knocked it off with their arm — something pushed the books and papers off the table. They fell but it wasn’t hard, it was just like a gentle whoosh and then they were on the ground. I was nowhere near them. No one else was home. No animals, no fans, no earthquakes, no open windows. 

Jason: What about the mirror?

Skylar: Looking back on the mirror, I think I probably just saw what I wanted to see. The story with the mirror was that I got out of the shower and there was a heart drawn in the condensation on the mirror. But you can draw things in the mirror and they’ll stay there over time, you know what I mean? And I used to doodle over the mirrors, so it was probably left over from that. I’m suspicious of myself believing in that at that point in time. 

Jason: What’s interesting is that whether it’s real or not, in one sense it is real in that at the time it felt real to you, or you wanted it to be real. This function that ghosts and hauntings played for you, like when you say the DFW quote. But it’s interesting that even if you were making it up, somehow this archetype was already baked into you, some sense of longing and protection.

Skylar: Well, and from Borges: All memory is fiction. But Dad certainly encouraged this perception of the reality of things unseen, not on purpose or anything, but just in the lessons he would share about the world. Dad would always be like, “There’s things out there but you don’t need to go looking for them.” Like, almost from a wariness of  hubris standpoint.

Jason: I think Dad looked at things like, of course there’s things out there that we don’t understand and dont you go futzing around with ghosts. But also, his streetlight stories, like if you pay attention, when you walk under them, street lights go out and come back on. 

Skylar: Yeah, he’s tuned in. The man is on some kind of a wavelength.  He would always quote To Kill A Mockingbird when we were scared at night: “Boo Radley’s insane fingers picking the wire to pieces.”

Jason: Mom had to hide Carnival of Souls because he would have watched it with us.

Skylar: What was that one he used to say? When we were scared at night and didn’t want to turn the lights out, he would say it to be calming but it wasn’t actually assuring. “There’s nothing there in the dark that isn’t there during the day.” Which, you know, is right.  But also like if you’re an anxious little kid you’re like wait, so there’s creepy stuff to be scared of there during the day, too?

Jason: In that way, he’s not an explicitly comforting guy. He’s truthful. I told you, I stayed in the cottage, which is also kind of a spooky place to be alone, and then before Mom and Dad left me alone there, Dad had a moment with me where he was like, “Isn’t it funny that you can, you know, wake up in the middle of the night and you hear the people in the other room, but you know, no one could be out there.” And I’m like “What?” And he’s like, “You know, the  people in the other room.” And I was like, “The what?” [Laughs.] And then he just changed the subject and then left me there. He just drove away.

Skylar: Dad!

Jason: If I didn’t know him, I’d say he was doing it intentionally, messing with me.

Skylar: But he’s not. 

Jason: I think out of all of us he’s more spiritual than anyone.

Skylar: In some ways I feel like he rejects superstition, which I think has to do a certain amount with the work that he does, but then in other ways, I think the Radozycki family is incredibly superstitious and that’s like within him.

Jason: It’s so dumb but even last night, I came home… I’m pretty skeptical, I’m mostly on the atheist, agnostic side of things. But still, when I went to bed, drunk as I was, I had my shoes sitting outside my door and I went to bed and then like, before I could go to bed, I was like, oh no! and I went outside and I flipped one of my shoes so it was turned the other way.

Skylar: I do that too! Why do we do that? Why is that a thing?

Jason: I think I read it in a book when we were little. It’s supposed to confuse ghosts.

Skylar: I do the same thing to this day. Dad would always throw salt over his left shoulder. If you spill salt. 

Jason: So Pitchfork pointed out something interesting about Cinema that a lot of your songs have an I and a You in them. I’d add that it’s pretty amazing not to go down the obvious route in making a concept album that’s like a different character in every song and this is their story. You know, like an album of Maxwell’s Hammer type of story songs. But so I guess, why did you settle on the name Cinema? Who are the I’s and You’s in Cinema? Does it change song to song? Is this a dumb question? 

Skylar: [Laughs.] This actually might lead me to a question for you, but I feel like the I’s and You’s, especially on Cinema, are just like different parts of not just myself but also the ideas of myself, or, the different roles a person could be. Some songs are like letters to myself or a different version of myself in a different time, maybe the future. In terms of the use of I and You as a device, I’m thinking about this book I just read called Fourth Person Singular where Nuar Alsadir’s talking about how to enter the I. Like she’s talking about how to write from the first person without it feeling — she reaches this place where she feels like she can’t honestly incorporate her full experience just using the I, so she invents “fourth person singular.” It comes to her in a dream, which has to do with Einstein’s theory of relativity, and I can’t really summarize it perfectly, but I do think that’s really interesting, which point of view you’re writing from and how that is, to use your word, an entrance — for you or your character or your audience. 

And, you know, the function of a love song itself — there’s another quote from a Rachel Kushner novel, one of the characters posits that “all songs are about unrequited love.” I don’t know if that’s true or not, it’s kind of besides the point, but I do think there is longing. I think the longing is the haunting, the unrequited love, and songs exist in this world or they can exist in this world where longing is being negotiated in whatever way.

Jason: Yeah.

Skylar: So it functions as a way to enter into this feeling. Which makes me think about your Haunted Reviews Instagram account where I feel like the voice you’ve created for that character is — this is one of the most hilarious parts of it to me — this regular guy who is a Yelp user and is haunted no matter where he goes? But it’s not interesting to him that he’s being haunted, it’s just a part of what happens to him when he goes to these restaurants. He’s kind of a hapless guy that has a sixth sense but he’s not concerned about the sixth sense, but he just wants to review things on Yelp. Which is hilarious to me. 

Jason: I never thought of him as a character until people started pointing out… I guess it comes from this place of, like, someone who doesn’t think anything is out of sorts, really, it’s just kind of quirky. It’s the equivalent of someone being like, “Ah, I found a cockroach in my soup and I didn’t love that part, but I really love the atmosphere of the place!” Part of that comes from when I was making this web series “Somewhere in Highland Park” and it was really important to me that — it was sort of like a Twilight Zone type show — but it was really important to me that the characters never acknowledged anything being out of the ordinary. It’s such an easy thing to have the straight character playing the, “What! What! What just happened?” and reacting. But what if the reactions aren’t what they should be, or the characters are reacting to the least interesting part of what’s going on? 

Skylar: Yes. 

Jason: One of the Haunted Reviews is something I wrote for Brite Spot, which is near me in Echo Park, and the character, this guy on Yelp, he’s like, “I love this place for their Denver Omelettes, but lately whenever I drive by there sometimes it’s there and sometimes it’s not.” And the thing that bothers him about if this place exists or not, he’s not concerned necessarily about whatever magic is going on, he’s more concerned with, “Last time I drove by and stopped there, I got a Denver Omelette even though I wasn’t hungry, just in case it wasn’t there next time!” There’s something fun about that sort of voice, about the person who’s worried about the practicality of “We’ve gotta get a Denver Omelette before it goes away!”

Skylar: Like, dude, there are bigger issues at hand, man!

Jason: There are a couple of very strange coffee places in LA that have a mythical quality to them… There’s one in Silver Lake where you have to make an appointment with this guy and he just does it out of his garage, but it’s not on Yelp or anything, you just kind of have to know about this guy.

Skylar: Then is it really good coffee? 

Jason: It’s supposed to be some of the best coffee in the world. 

Skylar: How have I not been there?

Jason: My favorite coffee shop, though, is somewhere in Glendale that’s run by these two Armenian brothers and they don’t have set hours and it’s just kind of like, whenever it’s open it’s open. They don’t have any information, they’re not trying to be friendly, they don’t talk to anyone. Sort of like soup nazi kind of thing, where it’s like, “We’re open whenever we’re open. Come in and get the coffee and don’t talk to us, go away.” But it’s supposed to be the best coffee anyone’s ever tasted.  

Skylar: That’s fascinating.

Jason: I still don’t know what it is about scary stories that moves me. I guess the alluring thing, as a kid, is that it’s an adult thing? Like you’re not supposed to tell kids scary stories. If you do hear them as a kid you feel like you’re getting access to things that only people who are old enough to hear them get access to. 

Skylar: That’s interesting.

Jason: And I think why watching with Dad — probably too young — The Shining? I felt like I remember being in a funk for like four days afterwards, this existential dread and like not knowing what to do with it and sort of having to rebuild my world. Like over the next few days.

Skylar:  Yeah, you’re totally right. Same. And then there’s also the function of kids in scary stories and in movies that are like — they have access to this sort of sixth sense type thing. They are closer to the veil somehow. Being closer to the beginning of their existence on earth, they are connected in some way to these things that are unseen or not if the earth, and the adults are too busy with their own mundanities to dial into the weirdness or just maybe like the primalness of it.

Jason: It’s like innate wisdom versus educated stupidity. The kid is the only one who understands what’s really going on and the parents won’t listen to them. The kids always know first. And before the kids the animals always know first. 

Skylar: They’re tuned into something that the older humans are tuned out of, or don’t want to tune in to, or want to believe they have control over. 

Jason: The animals are interesting — the idea that they are closer to something primal, wild.

Skylar: That’s definitely how they are appearing in a lot of movies or scary stories.

Jason: I mean in life, too. And that they can’t communicate in words. 

Skylar: Back to communication! Are ghost stories just about communication?

Jason: Oh, yeah they are. Or the lack thereof.

Skylar: Yeah, mostly the lack thereof, or ineffective communication. With others or just ourselves.

Jason Gudasz is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has received positive reviews from Vulture and been featured on Amazon Prime. He has worked in features and TV for some time. His short film PLACE was an official selection for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and was included in IndieWire’s “10 Must-See Short Films in Park City.” He lives in Echo Park, Los Angeles with no pets and a healthy relationship with anxiety.

Durham, North Carolina-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Skylar Gudasz‘s 2020 album, Cinema, was released to rave acclaim in Pitchfork, MOJO, NPR’s All Songs Considered, Billboard, and Uncut. Gudasz has shared stages with the likes of Ray Davies, Cat Power and Sharon Van Etten as part of the Big Star’s Third tribute concerts, opened for Television & toured from the US with Teenage Fanclub to Europe with the Mountain Goats, and appeared as a background vocalist on albums by Superchunk & Hiss Golden Messenger, making her TV debut with the latter on Late Night with Seth Meyers.