When I saw Sam Zalutsky’s first feature film, You Belong to Me, a psychological thriller about one man’s experience dealing with the neighbor you really don’t want, I knew we’d need to invite him to the Next-Door Neighbor blog. Variety calls the film, “A nifty little suspenser bordering on horror.” We called up the director for his favorite neighbor flicks. —LS
1. Rosemary’s Baby: Roman Polanski’s hilarious/frightening ode to the devil and Mia Farrow’s pixie purity. If you were the devil, wouldn’t you want her to have your baby, too? That insane apartment, Ruth Gordon and friend, “Lara Louise,” Charles Grodin as the sexy square doctor, freakily beautiful/beautifully freaky dream sequences, and Scrabble tiles save the day (hey, did he get Hasbro’s permission?).
2. Repulsion: Polanski’s earlier treatise on paranoia. The apartment isn’t as grand (although the elevator is better) and it’s shot in black and white, but Catherine Deneuve rocks it as a beautiful ice queen who barricades herself in her own apartment and disintegrates before our very eyes. You’ll never think of rabbit in the same way again.
3. I had another Polanski here but the editor nixed three in a row. Can you guess which one?
4. Single White Female: I know, another psychological thriller. But Jennifer Jason Leigh rules at her freaky-deakiest here—and that’s saying a lot. That hair salon scene remainss an inspiration to me. Another gorgeous apartment and a juicy climax make me flit between laughter and tears every time.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird. Tricked you, didn’t I? After beautiful opening credits, Scout, Jem, and Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) all struggle to make sense of life in the small town South. Stern but sexy, brilliant but humble, Atticus takes on Southern racism to save Tom Robinson (the amazing Brock Peters). The perfect fantasy father, if only Atticus were my next-door neighbor!
Sam Zalutsky’s first feature, a psychological thriller (duh!), You Belong to Me, starring Patti D’Arbanville (The Sopranos, Rescue Me) and Daniel Sauli (The Sopranos, United 93) currently airs on Pay Per View (Warner) and is available on DVD. He teaches screenwriting at Spalding University in Louisville, KY, and lives in New York City. His six word memoir is: “Love drama, just not my own.”