Going behind the scenes of the horror world is often as fascinating as the films themselves, this documentary is no exception as Ruben Pla (Insidious) explores the horror scene of genre filmmakers and the true stories of how they conjured up the nightmares we see on screen.
The Horror Crowd is a rare and intimate account of how the horror genre has personally impacted the lives of those who create and star in the dark side of the movies. Ruben Pla takes a down to earth approach in interviewing his peers, evoking a warmth to the interactions.
The documentary features genre stalwarts such as Lin Shaye who fondly recalls her small appearance in the beloved, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) which was produced by her brother Bob Shaye. Lin light-heartedly embraces her status as a “Scream Queen” claiming she can scream with the best of them! It’s such a joy to see a long-standing horror movie actress talk so passionately about being part of the community, proving a trending theme throughout the documentary as many others involved openly and affectionately discuss why they are drawn to the genre.
On a more serious note, the film does touch on the roles of African American people and women within the genre. There isn’t a lengthy focus on the subjects, however they are shed light on through discussions of George A. Romero’s influential 1968 zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead and its cultural impact. Moviemakers, Ernest R. Dickerson (The Walking Dead) and Jeffrey Reddick (Final Destination) honestly speak about their struggles in building their careers within a white dominated industry. Brea Grant (After Midnight) provides an honest account of women’s roles within horror and their evolving status once age is factored in. Grant is proactive in not keeping her eggs all in one basket as not only is she an actress, she directs and produces projects, continually keeping her career fresh and interesting.
In addition to the heavier subjects discussed relating to race and gender, the filmmakers frankly speak about being pigeonholed in horror and the stigma that can be attached to it. Horror is often viewed as a steppingstone into the industry resulting in either progression into other genres or remaining typecast forever. That being said; the genre can open so many doors and elevate many career paths. One of the best examples illustrated in the film is how Lombardo Boyar after being involved in Mike Mendez’s B-movie, Big Ass Spider (2013) went on to do some voice acting for Pixar’s Coco (2017). This proves that there is no harm starting off in horror as its never known where one’s career could lead.
Another interesting aspect was Oren Peli providing an insight into the creation of Paranormal Activity (2007), which reinvented the found footage sub-genre in the late 00’s. He talks about his inspirations and being inventive in utilizing the tools that were accessible to him that ended up creating a successful low-budget film. His story is inspirational to aspiring filmmakers.
Ruben Pla combines the personal and the professional in a candid snapshot of the horror community from balancing their relationships and family life with working hard to create terror on the big screen. He supplies an insight into the unity of the horror family and how working on projects and attending genre festivals has cemented a loyalty between filmmakers. The segment focusing on the now closed, Jumpcut Café exemplifies the sense of togetherness within the community and its lovely to hear the filmmaker’s reminiscence over their former haunt.
The Horror Crowd is snappy and fast paced, covering a range of topics through various perspectives. It doesn’t ponder for too long on each subject and frequently intercuts between talking heads. However, the sincere approach is hugely welcoming making for an enjoyable documentary about people who love horror.
Read Five FrightFest Facts From Ruben Pla director of The Horror Crowd HERE