Brian O’Malley’s feature debut Let Us Prey reveals its darkness slowly and deliciously at first, evoking a sense of dread and mystery that keeps you watching. It also provokes a lot of questions. Who is this mysterious stranger who looks a lot like Liam Cunningham? Why has Police Constable Rachel Heggie been reassigned? Why is everyone at the police station so angry?
Oh how we all get richer / Playing the rolling game
Only the poor get poorer / We feed off them all the same
—Society‘s version of the Eton Boating Song
How do you explain a movie like Brian Yuzna’s Society? It truly is one of those things you must experience for yourself. The 1989 film is an important chapter in the body horror/ero goru subgenre, but it’s also just plain weird.
As a founding member of the Italian progressive rock band Goblin, Claudio Simonetti has helped create some of the most famous and recognizable horror soundtracks of the last 50 years. His side bands, Daemonia and Simonetti Horror Project, have also met with great success. Popshifter spoke with Simonetti about the upcoming 30th anniversary re-release of the Demons soundtrack, American fame, and the horror of working for a major label.
Lamberto Bava’s 1985 monster movie Demons is a nasty, brutal affair, filled with sharp teeth, green blood, and enough stream of consciousness nonsense to make an absurdist’s brain melt. It’s also considered a minor classic by horror aficionados. One of the things that makes the film so effective is the ambitious soundtrack by Claudio Simonetti.
In the two years since I talked to Aaron Moorhead about Justin Benson about their amazing 2012 film Resolution, a lot has happened. The pair contributed a segment to V/H/S Viral called “Bonestorm” and brought their second feature, Spring, to the Toronto International Film Festival. (And there was some kind of mascot battle.) In March, they released Spring as part of a BitTorrent bundle, which is an extremely cool way to bring a movie directly to the viewer.
They visited Toronto last week in anticipation of Spring‘s theatrical premiere in Canada so I talked to them about what has changed over the last few years and what they are going to unleash upon audiences next.
When approached with the right mindset, there can be few things better than a low-budget horror film. Limited funding can force creativity and turn a small story into something greater. This is not always the case, as anyone who has been burned by a late-night drunken Netflix choice knows. Cheap computer generated effects can snap a viewer out of a movie like cracking a roasted peanut out of its shell. Unfortunately, that’s the route most filmmakers choose to take.
The guiding hands behind the films Gut and Phobia have chosen the road less traveled by, and their finished products are all the better for it.
As the film’s Indiegogo page states:
“The Void is an original horror film from writer/director team Steven Kostanski & Jeremy Gillespie. Best known for their work as part of the Astron-6 collective (Manborg, Father’s Day), they are also design and FX veterans of major Hollywood productions (Pacific Rim, Robocop, NBC’s Hannibal).”
“With this project we are pooling over ten years of experience to conjure up a terrifying film that will combine the aesthetic attitude of modern horror cinema as it emerged in the 1970s with the splatter and sophisticated practical special effects that ruled the creature features of the 1980s and early ’90s. But make no mistake, unlike Manborg and Father’s Day, this time we aren’t joking around. We are committed to introducing audiences to a unique horror-mythology.”
I’m a huge fan of found footage. I stand behind this method of filmmaking 100 percent. There is a certain aspect that makes it feel like it’s more of a reality than your normal film. Even if a found footage film has ghosts or goblins in it, it can still hold that realism for me. I know it’s not for everyone but I think that’s because we are given a lot of garbage found footage films in addition to all the good ones.
Please Note: This review was written after seeing an unfinished version of the film during SXSW on March 13, 2015.
It seems that computer screen horror is catching on rather quickly and I’m not sure how I feel about it. In the past couple years we’ve had The Den and Open Windows; in both films the actions is presented through a computer screen. The Den worked to an extent and was creative for the most part, but Open Windows didn’t work out because it was so silly. . . well, to me anyway.
Unfriended has the same presentation but it works. Like Open Windows, it runs in real time and that’s one of the main things that works. Our story is told through a Skype chat between five friends who hold a secret. During one of their chats they are introduced to another visitor. They are unsure who this person is and try to get rid of this unknown entity, but remain unsuccessful despite multiple attempts. Soon they realize this person may be someone that they know from their past who is dead set on terrorizing them.
Does every horror film need some originality in order for it to be good? I think half of people surveyed would say yes and the other half would say no. Personally, I’m a “no” because I feel if the film has the right elements, it can be just as good as something completely original. Do we constantly have to be surprised or shown something new each and every time we see a new film? I think as long as the film has a good script, solid acting, good characters, and a decent soundtrack it will be successful to me. This is how I feel about Pod.