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Friday, May 8, 2015

From the Mouths of Horror Filmmakers: Ryan Turek


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 Ryan Turek, Director of Development at Blumhouse Productions. Turek previously co-founded and created

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?

To me it boils down to perspective. With the examples you provided, you have a group of filmmakers who are channeling familiar tropes through a fresh, exciting viewpoint with characters you care about. Also, there's something deeply emotional anchoring these characters, whether it's where they're coming from or where they're going or what they're being put through. Audiences need more than just a simple monster movie or slasher movie or home invasion thriller. While I greatly enjoy movies that go back to the basics, I think these days you need to at least offer your audience something a bit more.

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

I think it's definitely a positive thing. It shows that a unique indie horror film can find its wide audience. Right now, the nature of film distribution is back in "wild west" mode as everyone tries to figure out how people want to watch their films. So I'm not sure if there is a definitive answer for your question. I do know that indie horror filmmakers have - now more than ever - myriad avenues through which people can view their movies.

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

They're important for all of those reasons we've heard time and time again: On the surface, they can provide release much like a roller coaster ride, but the films that truly resonate deliver a potent message, reflect today's climate of fears, or provide a sobering commentary on any given subject from what it's like to be a mother to dealing with sexuality, grief or bullying. The best horror films are those that can deliver the scares and offer something to think about in equal doses. 

What's your favorite horror movie?

Toughest question of all time for a horror fan to answer, but my go-to favorite is Tom Holland's 1985 film Fright Night. It was the first film to show me a horror movie could be scary as well as funny. It's a really clever film.

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