Stepping up to the platform today is one of the nicest people I’ve never met: writer, director, cinematographer – you name it. She’s an award winning filmmaker and the newly minted Director of Operations for the Viscera Organization: Lori Bowen.
“Writing about the unholy is one way of writing about what is sacred.” – Clive Barker
Like the majority of Mr. Barker’s writing, this sentence took my breath away when I read it. How better to describe what I do than this? How better to describe the genre I love and nearly all of its permutations (found footage can fuck off and die and so can remakes)? I profess a deep and ironic love for Lucio Fulci. I have no qualms about listing The Exorcist and Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama next to each other as favorite flicks and The Cabin in the Woods was one of the best flicks of the past couple of decades and no one went to see it or The Mist.
Instead of telling you what I want from horror, which tends to be contradictory depending on my mood anyway, I’m going to tell you what I’d like to see happen. You, who are so anxious to plop down your dough for yet another crappy Hollywood horror flick and complain about how mainstream horror sucks, should instead consider these alternatives:
1.) Go to horror film festivals. Not all festivals are created equal, I know this, nor will all of the films blow your mind, but there’s a much better chance that your mind WILL be blown by watching something made without the pressures of Hollywood conformity. An added bonus is that you will be watching these films with like-minded individuals and you might even get to meet the filmmaker at their screening.
2.) Let’s be honest, did you see Night of the Living Dead in a theater in 1968? Halloween in 1978? Elm Street in 1984? Chances are that when you saw the classics, they were on video and while you won’t get the same pleasure of sneaking some forbidden horror behind your parents’ backs by following this suggestion, you will help a struggling filmmaker and you will support the market for indie horror: check out something you’ve never heard of on Netflix or blind buy something from a filmmaker who is self-distributing or even a direct-to-DVD title that catches your fancy. iTunes/xBox/PS3 have indie horror. How is regretting that purchase different from regretting a shitty mainstream movie that you paid for?
2b) An extension of the above for those with patience is to donate to an IndieGoGo or Kickstarter campaign. Most of them have a $20 DVD tier. It may be a while before you get to see that film, but at least you know that your money went to a film that you’d most likely pay to see anyway and you give directly to the filmmakers to help them make it (assuming they’re on the up and up, of course.)
3.) Like Lloyd Kaufman says: make your own damn film. Here is where I will say what I want to see in a horror film. With the advent of the internet, T&A are not going to sell your film and every one thinks they’ve got the hot new story. You want to make your film stand out? Spend time on your script. Don’t rush it. Don’t trust your friends to read your script and give you a good critique. Study. Know the films that you’re following. Do something unusual. Explore what makes you uneasy. Help out on your friends’ films. Try your hand at every crew position. Above all else: don’t expect to make money. Everyone’s off watching yet another Paranormal Activity instead of your film.