Features and Columns

Fund This Film: ‘Why Horror?’ Hopes to Explain Our Love of Scary Movies

By  · Published on October 26th, 2013

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of us at FSR are horror geeks. Actually, a lot of movie writers on the web in general seem to be fans of the genre. It’s the one type of movie that warrants tons of sites specifically focused on that niche audience, and that’s because there are plenty of films to discuss and plenty more fans to do the discussing. Why that is, I don’t know. I’m one of the few who doesn’t care that much for scary movies – or the many horror films that aren’t even meant to be “scary” – and while I have plenty of theories about why others are obsessed with the genre, I’d love to hear whatever conclusion is made by a new documentary in the works called Why Horror?

Probably intended more for you horror geeks than someone like me, but hopefully satisfying to both, the film follows actor/journalist/horror aficionado Tal Zimerman in the quest to answer the title question and understand his own love for blood-soaked movies, comics and video games. The attempt is to be the definitive doc on the subject, so pretty ambitious. Zimerman and directors Rob Lindsay and Nicolas Kleiman have already assembled some necessary interviewees, including George Romero, John Carpenter, Eli Roth, Ben Wheatley, actress Barbara Crampton and Fangoria editor-in-chief Chris Alexander. I’m sure some of the other faces highlighted on the Why Horror? Kickstarter page are familiar to and a draw for horror geeks. The ones I’m more interested in are the “accredited scholars, including sociologists, psychologists, historians, anthropologists, and, yes, even critics.”

What I don’t want to hear at all is anyone saying, “I’m not sure what it is… I just love it.” For a documentary this talking-head heavy and centered around a discussion to get to the bottom of answering that question, there better not be a lot of filler fluff. Especially from any big names where it’s obvious the inclusion is just for their presence. That goes for filler clips, too. Much of the $30k (Canadian) the filmmakers are seeking through crowdfunding is to pay for the licensing of horror movie bits, possibly to make this more visually appealing than just heads talking. Let it be illustrative and relevant to what’s being discussed, then, and not ever random footage. Too many films like this suffer for not allowing their serious points to stand on their own, instead depending on distractions to look busy and feed short attention spans.

Then again, without visual appeal, that serious discussion would be better suited for a book or an audio documentary. Good or bad, though, Why Horror? has a built-in audience that is sure to eat it up. I’m on the side, curious and hopeful, and look forward to the end result come October 2014 (the estimated release month, according to pledge incentives). The doc seems well enough into production that it will happen no matter what, but if you’re interested in making certain its finished and high quality, there is the aforementioned Kickstarter campaign. I’m really shocked that they are past the midway point on this and haven’t even raised a quarter of their goal yet. Maybe the more important question at the moment is Where Horror Geeks?

Or perhaps some of you are wondering why a film comprised of people talking horror movies has to be so expensive when a number of creative horror directors could produce like ten movies for the same price. Just kidding, you’re really just waiting for the filmmakers to snag an interview with one of FSR’s horror experts, right?

Watch the Why Horror? campaign video/trailer below. For more, check out the Kickstarter page or the film’s official website.

Do you want to see this film? Enough to help fund it?

Thanks to Elijah Wood for pointing us to this week’s Fund This Film project!

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.