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From Barry’s Bootcamp to horror director: ‘I wrote 21 scripts in 18 months’

Barry Jay, the co-founder of the gym chain, on turning his back on the fitness industry to make films – and why his own traumatic childhood is the source of his gruesome inspiration

In 1998, Barry Jay co-founded a gym called Barry’s Bootcamp in West Hollywood. It went well. There are now 70 Barry’s across 14 countries. But two years ago, aged 55, he retired to make horror films.

“There was an attraction to that feeling of chills running down my spine,” he says. “Of seeing people in peril.” Therapists have credited this to his traumatic childhood. “I lived in a lot of fear growing up. I was under height, underweight, quite a target at school and in the neighbourhood.”

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