Horror Business (2005) [4/5]

Take a walk on the scary side with guerrilla horror filmmakers and the bizarre culture that drives them to pursue their dreams. In 2003, filmmaker Christopher P. Garetano began what would become a two-year journey to discover what possesses people to become horror filmmakers. Armed with nothing but a camera and a microphone, Chris traveled all over the United States to visit independent filmmakers on and off their sets. In Horror Business, you will witness that quest unfold and meet some truly independent filmmakers including Mark Borchardt (American Movie) and Dave Gebroe (Zombie Honeymoon), along with monster movie personalities like Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast), Joe Bob Briggs (cult film critic and author), and Sid Haig (Foxy Brown, The Devils Rejects). This timeless essay of popcorn-generation nostalgia and behind-the-scenes moments just may prove "movie making really is no way to spend a life!"

This movie was recommended to me by Blumhouse and I’m so glad it was because I found great inspiration from this documentary. Now I am here passing it on to any and all filmmakers I know, whether you are into the horror genre or not. It follows the journeys of multiple indie filmmakers chasing their dreams of finishing movies they’ve envisioned in their heads for years, against all odds, with no money or support. I found it amazing because sometimes I feel like no one is personally on my side, everyone wants me to fail, and some of my closest loved ones can’t wait until I give up this "stupid dream of mine" and quit. But guess what, I will never turn my back on what I believe in, and I was happy to see that the real life people in this doc were going through the exact same thing. Even though it’s a shitty thing, it is empowering to know that I am not the only one, and these people who I now look up to for finishing projects with no support or money - they honestly give me strength; knowing they overcame all obstacles makes my hair stand and I’m honestly about to rise from this chair I’m sitting on and clap out loud six times for them and another six times for myself. If you’re an indie filmmaker with a dream I expect you to stop reading this review right now and despite if you’re in a library or on the train, stand and clap six for the other hustlers out there and six for yourself and then fuck it, one for good luck.

Sorry for the cursing, this movie definitely dropped a ton of “F” bombs and also some comments and phrases that would make my mother's ears bleed. But it was real. Here are some of my favorite quotes for being inspirational or just down right amazing…

“Fuck censorship. This is America.”

“It doesn’t take money to create something. Do you think God said he needed a bunch of fucking money to create earth?”

Guy pulls up to the fast-food drive-thru and orders “One taco, hard like my dick!” (haha! This was in a movie and then it showed the reactions of everyone watching it and they loved it! “Best line in the entire movie!”)

Guy is down on his knees cursing at God in the sky. Suddenly, he looks up before him… "You fuckin’ asshole! What are you doing here?” Reveal Jesus standing before him. “It’s not fuckin’ asshole, it’s Jesus Christ.” Then Jesus SLAPS THE SHIT out of him! (What a great scene/dialogue - Hahah! This particular movie was titled Necromaniac.) 

“Fuck Hollywood. Fuck the studios.”

This movie was also inspirational in the fact that basically all of the film clips that were shown from these indie films that these indie filmmakers made or were making, some got distribution deals, etc…most of the clips shown looked extremely amateur. Honestly, most of them looked pretty shitty and the storylines didn’t really hit home with me. I’m not denying them their dreams. I personally have never finished filming an entire feature which is a huge standing ovation, but then again I wouldn’t want to make an entire movie with a weak storyline and terrible actors/lighting/quality/etc. Some films I have been working on for a "cool minute" look WAY better than what these guys and gals were releasing. From lighting to acting to quality. 

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I notice "crew shadows" in the shot used in the final cut, and that was apparent almost the entire movie with every project shown except one - Catharsis by David “Slave” Stagnari. Catharsis looks amazing! By far the best lighting, cinematography, and special effects out of any other movie shown. Some of the clips were so great, awesome and bizarre that I added Catharsis to my movie-watch-list and I literally can’t wait to see it. You should too!

This documentary also had a lot of great cameos of actors and filmmakers shooting advice, from Sid Haig (awesome dude I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few times at some different horror conventions) to Lloyd Kaufman (indie king). It also was cut with lots of old vintage movie previews from snack bar advertising to intermission cartoons. Lot of cinema history people, especially from the lost “Drive-In” era.

Horror is by far the only genre with absolutely no limits. It can be taken as far as the most disturbing mind can think, or a lot of the time horror films are based on real life tragedies. I recall Ron Atkins (Necromaniac) saying that he uses horror films to express his feelings, and instead of going out and beating a guy’s face in, he will make a movie about it. Which is therapeutic for himself and better for everyone’s environment. He’s somewhat doing the public a service.

Once again, this documentary was great for horror filmmakers, but highly recommended for any and all indie filmmakers despite genre. It gave great advice from people who have been through the muddy trenches and I would like to end on a good note that should be taken with a grain of salt because some of my really close friends are phenomenal actors: when shooting an indie film, one of the biggest mistakes made are when filmmakers cast their friends and family instead of professional actors due to budget restraints. There are acting schools all over with students looking for projects to get involved with. It doesn’t take much to contact the schools, post adds, or even physically go and meet up-and-coming actors eager to work for cheap if not for free. Take advantage people! Just don’t take advantage of people. Be courteous, professional, passionate, and whatever you do…NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER!

-Rocco Bovo