ROARS: 5 Out of 5
Rated: N/R / Time Run: 1 Hr. 50 Min.
DIRECTOR: Steve Villenue
Date: Sat., May 29, 2010
Location: Tribeca Cinemas, NYC.
Cause: Mind, Body and Soul journey into the world of the “Darkside.”
It’s a shiny Sunday morning as I type this and I’m still feeling the chills from last night’s event. DiggerFilms premiered Under the Scares, which happens to be one of the most unique documentaries I’ve ever seen in my life. Most of you (my readers) are fully aware how I feel about this kind of genre, and there isn’t anything more enticing than combining it with another favorite genre of mine, HORROR. Under the Scares provides an insightful look into the independent horror film industry in North America. Having been shot in various cities within the U.S. over the past 4 years, Producer/Director, Steve Villenue compiled great footage covering just about every aspect pertaining to one of the most interesting facets of art today.
Most of the film’s genius stems from numerous personalities who were interviewed regarding filmmaking logistics. Some of the topics covered were the urgencies of good story-telling, never bore your viewers, funding, the marketplace, modern technology and its effect within the industry today versus years ago, casting, seriousness about your production, going beyond a “coworker” relationship with cast/crew, gullibility with those who are inexperienced, sound/music, editing, the importance of conventions for ALL (Producers, Filmmakers/Directors, Actors) and so on. Every single part which goes into creating your vision and presenting it with much pride and pleasure… Two important lines which stood out and still think of are 1. During contemporary times of modern tech “Anyone can make a film.” (But how many of these people present something worthwhile) and 2. If the product, timing and people are right, money will come, otherwise “Don’t expect to make any money. Do it and continue to do it because you love it.”
Like cults or religious organizations, the horror genre has its own community. Feeding off their own with specific critics, directors, actors, publications and common indie horror-flick actresses known as “Scream Queens” (Who ALL happen to be HOT), only those deeply involved will be familiar with those interviewed in this film. To name a few, Interviewees include Rod Gudino (Rue-Morgue Magazine), Gary Jones (“Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Boogeyman 3”), Debbie Rochon (Scream Queen), Tony Timpone (Fangoria Magazine), Lloyd Kaufman (Troma Entertainment), Herschell Gordon (The Godfather of Gore, “Blood Feast”), Robert Kurtzman (“From Dusk Till Dawn,” “The Rage”)
DiggerFilms, a Canadian-based company, specializes in the art of horror and through their years of executing GOREifying experiences, the time to educate is now, and I can honestly say the team did just that. Having chatted and networked with ALL those involved with the film, it was truly a fun experience. Lots of chats regarding horror flicks from yesterday versus today, famous horror names of today like George Romero, Wes Craven, and thorough chats of differences within acting unions in Canada / U.S., conventions and one of the most evil and powerful horror films of all The Exorcist. Everyone was pleasantly hospitable and when handing out those business cards, one can tell these guys mean business when saying “keep-in-touch.”
In conclusion, Under the Scares not only serves an informative aspect when dealing with horror flicks, but I was also able to grasp that the same knowledge CAN be applied to other genres as well. This piece is well-crafted, paced, great story-telling considering it’s a documentary and truly a film I advise all my industry people to check out at some point in their lives. It’s presented in such a straight-forward way, it’s almost revolutionary and yes, the truth hurts, but in time you’ll appreciate all that was exposed.
May GORE-flicks live today, tomorrow and forever!
I would also like to thank Steve for having added music by “Midnight Syndicate.” For those unfamiliar with them, they’re a musical group that works mainly in the genre of Gothic music. It’s influential in the sense of building emotion and great music to write to given specific circumstances. Of all their tracks, Cold Embrace is one of my favorites and during the film it was GREAT hearing it in the background.
For more information on DiggerFilms, go to www.DIGGERFILMS.com