Frightfest Digital 2020: Daniel Wood Reviews The Horror Crowd

There’s certainly no secret that the horror community is one of the best, and most inclusive communities in the film industry, but is there a reason why? That’s what Ruben Pla attempts to find out with his documentary The Horror Crowd, which receives its world premiere at this year’s Frightfest Digital.

Pla, who is certainly no stranger to horror and the horror community himself, having starred in Insidious, Big Ass Spider and Contracted, amasses a huge number of names to ask them about their place within the horror community and what they think are the common threads that link them all together.

We get intimate insight from several of horror’s past and present filmmakers including Paranormal Activity’s Oren Peli, Highlander’s Russel Mulcahy, scream queens Bea Grant and Lin Shaye, Saw II’s Darren Lyn Bousman and Satanic Panic’s Chelsea Stardust to name just a few. The variety of guests and diverse perspectives that Pla assembles here is truly great and certainly helps make the documentary much more interesting.

The documentary covers many topics within the horror industry with a series of laid-back conversations between Pla and his guests, with subjects ranging from women in horror, being the weird kid, race relations, and film festivals. Pla certainly covers a lot of ground with these topics and as a result, cuts very quickly from one to another, but he always finds good segues to do so, making the documentary itself flow quite well and at a fast pace.

The whole film is an incredibly interesting insight into horror filmmakers and it was fascinating to see some of the common threads that tie them all together get exposed, with it being particularly revealing how many of them started leaning towards the genre from an incredibly early age and how many of them were watching horror films way before they were technically supposed to be.

It definitely made me think about my love of horror and look back to my childhood and watching Alien where my father was supposed to pause and fast-forward the gruesome bits but fell asleep, meaning I watched the whole film, chest-burster scene and all. Perhaps this is why I’m such a fan of the horror genre now!

There were some other very pertinent statements made, such as the progressiveness of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead in both having a black lead, but also having a lot to say in terms of race relations in America at the time. Another point I hadn’t considered but is absolutely true is the relatability of Alien in terms of how these were ordinary people, or ‘truckers’, in space, many people could relate to the Alien characters which meant it was scarier to see them die.

Ultimately, a lot of the revelations that The Horror Crowd makes aren’t particularly all that revelatory – for example it’s certainly no secret that a lot of the people involved in horror are on the weird-side! But if you’re a fan of the genre it is a must-watch documentary about the people who make it and it’s also a tribute to them, and a love letter to the genre as a whole. You can’t help but watch The Horror Crowd and recognise some of yourself in these people, and realise that you belong.

Read our interview with The Horror Crowd director Ruben Pla here

For more information on Frightfest Digital 2020 including reviews and interviews as they happen, head here

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