Horror Business (2005)

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Overall Rating 54%
Overall Rating
Ranked #11,794
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The movie covers the careers of five up-and-coming horror-movie loving directors Mark Borchardt ('Coven'), Ron Atkins ('Necromaniac'), Dave Stagnari ('Catharsis'), John Gora ('Chirpy'), and Brian Singleton. --TMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: March 14, 2007
A couple of weeks ago, I saw a very favorable review for Horror Business on one of the many online dirt-rags that I read and thought that it sounded fairly interesting, but nothing worth going out of my way to find. Not long after that, I saw a couple of other praise-filled reviews pop up on other sites, so finally, I gave in and decided to give it a shot. After sitting through the eighty minutes of film, I have to wonder - what was the going rate for positive reviews on this, and why did I miss out on that payday?

The subject at hand in this documentary is independent movie-making, and to be more specific, independent horror movie-making. Telling the stories are a mixture of the truly independent guys who most of you probably haven't heard of as well as a handful of the bigger names in horror. On the indie side, we have Mark Borchardt (director of Coven as well as the subject of American Movie), Ron Atkins (Necromaniac), and David Stagnari (Catharsis), while the "names" are filled out with the likes of Herschell Gordon Lewis, Lloyd Kaufman, Joe Bob Briggs, and Sid Haig.

Observant readers may notice that while I pointed out a bunch of names, I never really said what the actual subject of this documentary was other than the overly-broad "independent horror movies." This is because, honestly, there's no real subject to be found. The independent guys talk about how hard it is to make a movie, they question their own motives for continuing in the business, and they discuss their own movies for a while. I have nothing against any of them, but this material felt less like a documentary on horror in general and more like something that should have been included as a bonus feature on their latest DVD releases. A solid ninety percent of the material is simple behind-the-scenes stuff mixed with "Gee, it's really hard to make a movie with no money!" and "We need more drive-in theaters" observations, and while I won't disagree with those statements, they didn't make for a very interesting time in front of the tube.

You may be thinking that the "name" appearances could make this film worth watching, but that wasn't to be as each of the involved men only received a few minutes of screen time and, with the exception of Kaufman, they all "appeared" courtesy of the director filming them at various conventions and signings. Joe Bob Briggs is the most insightful of the bunch, but that's not saying a whole lot as his time consists of such gems as "It's cheap to make zombie movies" and "Don't cast your friends in movies, hire trained actors instead." Everyone involved is fun to listen to and it's obvious that everyone knows what they're talking about, but when you try to extract some real information from what they're saying, you either come up empty or realize that what they're saying is completely obvious.

In my humble opinion, this film was a failure. I can't pin that on any of the people who appeared in front of the camera as everyone is well-spoken and they all seem to have a true love for horror, but without a central theme to the documentary, it's just eighty minutes of "Hey, say something for the camera" and what could easily be bonus features on other DVD releases. The movie begins with a quote from Orson Welles: "It's about two percent movie making and ninety-eight percent hustling" - and let me tell you, I truly feel hustled by all of the positive press behind this release. 3/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added March 15, 2007 at 12:32am
Yeah...I cannot recommend a documentary that would make someone NOT want to be a horror director. It's already hard enough to get decent directing talent into the genre without something like this. It's funny how most of the people interviewed here, with the exception of Herschell Gordon Lewis, are not that respected on the higher tier of the horror genre. You don't see John Carpenter or Wes Craven or Clive Barker or Neil Marshall being interviewed and hurting the genre. This doc would have been a lot better if it had focused on the difficulty of getting a decent horror film out to mainstream America would the ratings edits and things like that. Then it would have been interesting. 2.5/10.
Cryptorchild #2: Cryptorchild - added March 15, 2007 at 11:05am
I haven't seen this but there is another documentary out there WITH those names. It's called Going To Pieces. It's about the rise and fall of the slasher film. It's not just the overall hooror genre but just the slasher side. It's fairly decent. You may check that out instead.
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