Although the movie term ‘mockumentry’ is usually associated with comedies like This is Spinal Tap and Borat, there is a growing trend in horror towards making movies which appear and claim to be real, regardless of their subject matter.
Whether it’s a straight up documentary style film, like the recently released and amazing antipodean Lake Mungo, or found footage like the monster attack movie Cloverfield or even the all time classic Cannibal Holocaust it seems that audiences are all the more scared when they are fooled into thinking that ‘it’s not just a movie’.
Below we run through Love Horror’s Top 6 murderous mockumentries and frightening found footage films. Enjoy, and remember its only a movie… Or is it?!
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Although it’s not the first found footage film, Blair Witch brought the idea to the mainstream and scared us all with the tale of three film makers who go missing in the woods. Looking back at the jerky camera, snotty noses and stick men, it’s easy to parody the movie. But at the time of its release it created a media hubbub with people convinced that the film was fact, not fiction.
Loved by some, hated by others this is a seminal horror film made on a low budget with no CGI and a simple style and concept that has inspired many other movies since.
Although not strictly fitting the rules of the rest of the movies on this list, this fake documentary set in a fictional world where Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers are all real life killers is so utterly brilliant and bonkers it deserves a special mention. Following documentary conventions (well almost), Behind the Mask is the Man Bites Dog of horror as the crew capturing slasher wannabe Leslie Vernon become a little too involved with his training, preparations and planning to become the next legendary mass murderer.
Taking the Blair Witch idea and amping it up to a more kinetic and chaotic level, the REC movies moved mockumentries forward, giving us blood and brutality on a first person roller coaster ride into a infected apartment block in the heart of Barcelona. Reporter Ángela Vidal and her cameraman Pablo cannot imagine the horror that awaits them. During a the recording of a broadcast the inhabitants of the building are transformed into flesh hungry maniacs.
Surprisingly, the sequel is just as good as the first film – something we can’t say for any other film on this list.
Australia shows Hollywood how its done in this chilling, eerie and genuinely frightening ghost story. Lake Mungo is presented as pure fact, following a families foray in to the world of the paranormal after the tragic death of their daughter. Dark, disturbing and unsettling this movie is guaranteed to give you goosebumps and will linger with you long after it’s over.
A freaked out young couple decide to set up cameras in their home to capture what is going bump in the night, unaware that there about to capture something evil lurking in their home. As with The Blair Witch Project before it, this movie may be low on budget and effects but its high on originality, tension and terror. Paranormal Activity captivated audiences and was a massive commercial success, spawning a seen it all before sequel and a threequel on the way.
Starting out like a comedy, this fake documentary following faith faltering evangelical minister Cotton Marcus takes a nasty turn when it appears that the possession of a farmer’s daughter is a lot more real than Marcus first believed. Breathing a breath of fresh hellfire into the possession genre The Last Exorcism is well worth a watch.
Click on the linked titles for a full review and feel free to share your thoughts on your favourite horror mockumentaries below…