Under the Scares (No business like Indie-horror Showbusiness)
Documentaries have a unique position with me in that I can find myself getting interested in just about any subject if I happen to catch a decent doc about it. That being said Documentaries about horror are a particular favourite of mine. The best ones are usually a labour of love that hopes to showcase and educate its audience but Under the Scares seems to go a step further and tries to serve as a list of do’s and don’ts for anyone looking to break in to horror.
The Documentary was directed by Steve Villeneuve and told through the perspective of the good folks at Digger films who are trying to get their very independent movie Stories of a Gravedigger made and distributed.
It could have easily been kept as a personal tale about a few young filmmakers trying to make a movie but that only serves as a framework for the entire picture. Throughout every step they take into completing their film there are intriguing interviews from people all over the industry really providing the substance.
Everything to proper planning, a good relationship between filmmakers and actors and even box art are touched on. Really this entire endeavour seems destined for film schools or anyone looking to break into indie horror.
As I said before there are a tonne of people who contributed to this doc, George Romero, Lloyd Kaufman, Herschell Gordon Lewis and Sv Bell are just some of the people who not only have made names for themselves in horror but got their starts on shoe-string budget movies.
All of them and many more actors, FX artist and the other main stays of horror that are interviewed have stories of triumph and defeat when trying to push their films out the door and it seemed almost therapeutic to some of them to vent their frustrations of the common mistakes they see from what is now becoming an oversaturated market of Indie horror that has come on the toes of the digital age.
Not only are the technical aspects discussed but also making sure by the end of it you can try to build a career. Under the Scares reveals an interesting world where distributors can hand pick what films they decide to promote and how much they would see for it. For many moviemakers it means getting next to nothing with little chance of ever building a career beyond that initial movie no matter how much money it could potentially make. There is a big message of self promotion and networking with a emphasis on making sure you are making good deals.
Some of the most interesting advice coming from Hershall Gordon Lewis wasn’t really about breaking into notoriety with his splatterfilm Blood Feast but rather how to promote yourself and get that good deal where you’ll actually see the kind of money you were promised.
There really is no pretty picture painted at all. They portray making these Indie films as truly hard work that will more than likely leave them penniless; which begs the question of why would anyone even want to consider doing it in the first place. The simple answer is passion for the genre and filmmaking in general and that is the overall message I think you can take away from it.
The number one quality I judge any documentary no matter the subject matter is the sincerity in which it was done. Steve Villenenuve and everyone at Diggerfilms have made something truly sincere here. Not only does it show a casual audience just what it takes for that crazy horror dvd to finally make it to your hands but it’s also a can’t miss educational tool for anyone interested in making film. Check it out.