Horror Favourites – Ruben Pla

Fear…the most primal of human emotions. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman… The Exorcist, Jaws, Alien. What made the creators of these films dream up the nightmares that kept us up at night? Were they as strange and twisted as their creations? And what about today’s creators of horror? Who are the minds behind the macabre of present day?

A revealing, intimate documentary from veteran actor insider Ruben Pla, The Horror Crowd puts a spotlight on the dedicated nightmare-creators that form Hollywood’s horror community. Covering wide-ranging topics such as ‘Being the Weird Kid’, ‘Women in Horror’, ‘Race Relations’, ‘The Dark Side’ and ‘Film Festivals’, this fascinating insight into horror filmmaking and the movie industry features contributions from some of horror’s most innovative and renowned creators such as Oren Peli (director, Parnanormal Activity), Russel Mulcahy (Highlander, Razorback), Lin Shaye (Insidious, A Nightmare on Elm Street), Adam Robitel (Insidious: The Last Key, Escape Room), Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II), Ernest R. Dickerson (Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, The Walking Dead).

The Horror Crowd is the directorial debut of veteran horror actor Ruben Pla (Insidious, Contracted) and below the man himself talks about his favourite horror film, Alien:

“I remember the first time I saw this movie in the theatre, how terrifying it was. I sat there in the audience not knowing what to expect. You see, the trailers hadn’t really given anything away, let alone shown us the Xenomorph. It was a packed house and everyone was incredibly excited because we’d heard how good it was…how scary it was. It did not disappoint.

When that Baby Alien burst out of John Hurt’s chest (I always thought how ironic it was that his name was “Hurt”), the audience exploded into screams. They had no idea that was coming. Nothing like that had ever been seen in a movie before. People all around me were covering their eyes for the rest of the movie. My eyes were glued to the screen. I loved it. Couldn’t stop looking, taking it all in.

Later on I discovered that the director, Ridley Scott, hadn’t told his actors when, or from where, the Alien would be coming at them. He wanted natural reactions…and it worked. The scene where Tom Skerritt is crawling through the darkened access tunnels, and has no idea where the creature may be, is terrifying. Then when it does pop out, the effect is both frightening and cathartic…because the tension is finally over.

Sigourney Weaver, who I took an acting workshop with in New York City, did a phenomenal job as Ripley. I truly believe she defined the essence of the “Final Girl” with this performance. I really can’t think of another female character before that who starts off as an average person and, by the end, has become this incredible badass…and that’s not even taking into account what an even BIGGER badass she was in ALIENS. And that’s why she got a well-deserved Academy Award nomination for that film.

I know people who were so passionately influenced by ALIEN they went on to become filmmakers themselves…and many others who dove into the world of acting because of the realistic performances of the cast. Those characters were so relatable, so everyday, like blue-collar truckers, but in space, sitting around eating dinner together, talking about this and that…until the Chestburster explodes.

I’ve always thought of this film as a haunted house movie in space. Some people may think it’s a science-fiction movie, but it’s actually a horror movie. And that’s why ALIEN is my favorite horror movie of all time.”

FrightFest Digital Edition presents the World Premiere of The Horror Crowd on 29 August on the Arrow Video Screen
Buy The Horror Crowd digital screening tickets: https://bit.ly/3k2MHNw

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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