Having already won over the audiences at FrightFest Ruben Pla’s amazing documentary The Horror Crowd is heading for Grimmfest 2020 with an online screening at the sensation festival which runs 7th till the 11th of October.
What makes the creators of horror movies dream up the nightmares that keep us awake at night? Are they as strange and twisted as their creations? Or do they have normal everyday lives, with families and friends? A chance to find out, in this revealing, intimate documentary spotlighting the Hollywood horror community, and covering such wide-ranging topics as Being The Weird Kid, Sparking The Imagination, Women In Horror, Race Relations, Helping Each Other, Film Festivals, and The Dark Side.
Our very own Hayley Roberts had a chance to chat to Ruben before the upcoming screening at Grimmfest.
Hayley Roberts: How did you first become interested in the genre and which films shaped your love for horror?
Ruben Pla: Universal horror films. The originals. Dracula, Frankenstein. The Wolf Man. Those are the ones that did it. I used to watch the TV shows “Creature Features” and “Chiller Theatre”, when I was growing up in New York City, and they would show all these great classic horror movies. It was awesome. Later on, I moved on to more modern classics.
Hayley Roberts: What inspired you to create a documentary about the current voices of horror?
Ruben Pla: I was travelling in the horror circles of Hollywood and decided to make this film, THE HORROR CROWD, about a group of horror filmmakers who are friends and hang out together, work on each other’s films, spend Halloween and other holidays together, and attend each other’s screenings and parties regularly.
Hayley Roberts: What do you think draws us to the dark side of the movies?
Ruben Pla: That it’s safe. That you can plunge into a world of horror and danger and death and still get out alive. No harm done. Well, not much anyway.
Hayley Roberts: How long did the documentary take to make? And can you talk us through the behind the scenes of the filming process?
Ruben Pla: It was quick, actually. The interviews themselves happened over a period of several weeks. It was just a matter of scheduling everyone…all 37 of them! Then I started editing. That was a blast. I loved “sculpting” the film. Putting together the scenes and making them blend into each other. That was a lot of fun.
Hayley Roberts: What were your personal highlights from the documentary?
Ruben Pla: Discovering all the interesting revelations about these horror filmmakers and icons. It was just so cool to learn those personal secrets and stories. They held nothing back.
Hayley Roberts: As you have acted in many genre movies, including Insidious, which role have you enjoyed playing the most?
Ruben Pla: The role of father to my two daughters. Seriously though, I’ve played so many different types of characters, from killers, to lawyers, to cops, to doctors, to teachers. I find something interesting in all of them. I try to bring a part of myself to the role that will make people say, hey, that’s pretty cool…but I do like playing killers. LOL!
Hayley Roberts: The Horror Crowd recently played at Frightfest 2020: Virtual Edition and is soon to screen at Grimmfest’s Online Edition. What has it been like having to screen your film virtually, rather than in a packed cinema due to current restrictions on this year’s festival circuit?
Ruben Pla: We are incredibly excited about Grimmfest. It’s a great festival and they’ve been just wonderful about everything. We can’t thank them enough. As far as virtual festivals, it is what it is. This is the world we live in right now. I always believe in being positive and making the best out of any situation, and I do think it opens up a lot of possibilities. Some people may not be able to make it down to Manchester to Grimmfest and some people can’t go down to London or wherever. Now they can watch the festivals from all over. Of course, it’s great with a live audience and all the interaction and seeing their reactions as they’re watching your movie. That’s all great. But on the bright side, I’ve got it entered into several festivals next year and, hopefully, those will be live.
Hayley Roberts: What has the fan response been like to The Horror Crowd so far?
Ruben Pla: The response by almost everyone has been extremely positive. We’ve been getting some great reviews (Thank you) and the buzz seems to be quite good. I really think the film speaks to not just the horror community but to the general populace. It does cross boundaries. That’s why I included segments about “Race Relations” and “Women” and “Comic Books”. These are subjects everyday people, not just horror aficionados, can relate to.
Hayley Roberts: What’s next for you creatively, do you have any future projects in the pipeline, documentary or fictional film wise?
Ruben Pla: I have a lot of scripts ready to go, Horror, Supernatural Thriller, Fantasy, Adventure, even Rom-Com. I don’t care. As long as the script is good, it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is. To me, it’s all about the script. I also just shot a horror short while in lockdown. I didn’t want to just sit at home and do nothing, so I went out back to the woods I live by and shot it. The footage looks great and I can’t wait to dig in and edit it…as soon as the festival fervor dies down!
Hayley Roberts: Finally, you can only choose three, what are the horror movies that you couldn’t live without?
Ruben Pla: THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. THE EXORCIST. ALIEN.