Monday, April 09, 2007


What's with angry whiteboys making camcorder horror films? Filmmaker Chris Garetano put together this excellent documentary profiling a small handful of caucasian auteurs (including AMERICAN MOVIE's Mark Borchardt) showing clips from their films and explaining why they do what they do, peppered with commentary by well-known cult film figures H.G. Lewis, Joe Bob Briggs, Lloyd Kaufman and Sid Haig, all of whom offer very useful insight about the world of low-budget horror (some of which seems to go against the asthetic of up-and-coming directors interviewed in the doc).

I found it a bit strange that the Hollywood many of the featured filmmakers are speaking ill about is currently producing gory, torture-filled bloodbaths that are just as extreme in many cases as the stuff they themselves are struggling to produce. Horror isn't what it was 5 or 10 years ago, and the kind of depravity you used to look to the underground for is now showcased at the local multiplex. Coupled with the fact that so many kids now have access to digital cameras and editing software, I was left wondering just how these guys plan on surviving in an increasingly flooded marketplace. The high point of HORROR BUSINESS for me was getting to see Ron Atkins, director of SCHIZOPHRENIAC: THE WHORE MANGLER (still one of the craziest indies ever made) and the guy who played the psycho in that film. Garetano also displays considerable skills as an editor; this thing flows extremely well and is just as high-quality as anything you'd see on IFC.

Joe Bob Briggs and H.G. Lewis offer the greatest words of wisdom in this movie. Briggs notes that the worst movies are made by people who are merely copying their heroes, (I can attest to this) while Lewis reminds us the bottom line is entertaining your audience. There's a reason why people still love to watch BLOOD FEAST; it knows exactly what it is and delivers the goods in an up-front, unpretentious way. Sounds a bit more like Hollywood cheese and less like art to me.


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