Mary Harron didn’t start her career as a film director until her 40s, after a wild and fascinating early life that included a stint as one of the first writers of Punk magazine and a brief romance with future British Prime Minister Tony Blair when the two were students at Oxford. And she hit the proverbial ground running, garnering acclaim for the debut, 1996's I Shot Andy Warhol, before directing an instant horror classic with American Psycho in 2000.

Horror and suspense streaming service Shudder recently sat down with Harron, who recently directed the entirety of Netflix’s Alias Grace, to ask her for tips on creating terror and tension in a scene. The key, according to Harron, is power dynamics, and, as she puts it, “who’s looking at who.” You can check out the rest of the interview on The Core, Shudder’s new talk show where director Mickey Keating (Darling, Carnage Park) interviews his fellow creators about the art of the scare.