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Friday, April 24, 2015

From the Mouths of Horror Filmmakers #3: Ted Geoghegan

Ted Geoghegan

With the success of IT FOLLOWS and the recent discussions it has sparked about the number of original, critically-acclaimed indie horror films being released, I wanted to reach out to some of the most original voices in horror cinema to ask them a few questions about the state of horror cinema today and why they believe there has been a resurgence of sorts of great horror.

The responses below are from Ted Geoghegan, director of We Are Still Here, which premiered at SXSW last month. 

Why do you believe there has been a surge of critically-acclaimed horror films recently like IT FOLLOWS, THE BABADOOK, YOU'RE NEXT, and others?

Genre fans are smart, and they're always looking for the next big (read: smart) thing. Times have drastically changed since the early-00s torture porn craze: gorefests seem passé, kids want to be scared, and adults want to think. Cerebral, clever genre fare is elevating horror and offering something exciting and new to the masses. As someone who was raised on - and unabashedly loves - slasher films, I admit it's quite nice to see audiences embracing something fresh and clever.

What do you think the wide release of IT FOLLOWS means for future indie horror films, if anything?

I don't think we'll be able to see the real ramifications of its release for a while, but if putting IT FOLLOWS out wide proves to be the success we all think it is, then we can all only hope that it will herald a return to form for the independent theater-going experience. And while I openly admit that I typically wait to watch most films at home these days, there's something to be said about the communal aspect of the cinema, which can greatly affect one's perception of a movie. Frankly, I'd like to have more reasons to drag my butt to the theater.

Why do you believe horror films are important to cinema as a whole?

Edison, the father of cinema, chose to adapt FRANKENSTEIN for the screen in 1910. Since the dawn of film, we've known that audiences will be drawn to the macabre. Horror films might not bring in Academy Awards, but they bring in audiences - and if the box office is strong, then we all succeed. I mean, just look at Paramount - their FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels, which the studio itself always scoffed, kept them afloat throughout practically all of the 1980s. Yeah, horror and its audience are immensely important, whether the suits care to admit that or not.

What's your favorite horror movie?

I love far too many to pick just one, but when cornered, I go with Lamberto Bava's DEMONS (1985) - a pitch-perfect Italian action-horror film fueled by one of the 80s finest soundtracks (Billy Idol, Saxon, Go West, Mötley Crüe). It's influenced everything from 28 DAYS LATER to the RESIDENT EVIL video games, and deftly mixes straight, splattery horror with deadpan humor. I watch it at least once a month.

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