Originally published at Fangoria.com on October 16, 2009
The anthology, DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW, is meant to be a blood splatter fest consisting of five thrilling and gory short tales. Director Michael Neel and producer Greg Ansin collaborated on creating a unique macabre character, The Projectionist. The Projectionist showcases each of these five short films at his abandoned drive-in theater.
Editing a single feature length movie takes many hours to build. Imagine trying to concise five separate stories, including the prologues and epilogues with The Projectionist, into one whole narrative. Continuity would have been drastically changed if the filmmakers had to contact their actors a year and a half, especially the child stars. What if the child actor’s voice had changed or if they had grown a foot since principal photography? The true nature of an independent production involves extensive storyboarding and pre-production planning in order to keep problems at a minimum.
“Mike (the director) and I edited together, and we would cut each tale after we shot it,” mentions producer Greg Ansin. “We could see where we needed to get pick-ups and what would work as is, and we would film whatever we needed as soon as we could. We didn’t want to have six half-finished tales at the end of production and then have to go back in fill in the gaps, jumping around from story to story.”
But no matter how much time they prepared themselves, new situations would always arise. Sometimes small cuts are necessary to be made. Lines of dialogue thought to be expository turn out to be filler. From their experience, the filmmakers realized good editing shortens the film, not extends it. The editing builds rhythm with the pacing of the performance and captures energy with the suspense. The switching of the tone and mood between each tale prevents the audience to predict what they think is going to happen next. The audience is treated with tense, nail-biting scenes at first. Then they will find themselves laughing upon the next scene.
Ansin describes the switching of the humor and scares as a way to grab the attention of the audience. “‘Pig’ is brutal, and it really grabbed people, even in script form. We wanted to get the audience engaged in the film as quickly as possible, and that is why it is first.”
“The Closet,” which follows after “Pig,” is funny and tongue in cheek about a young boy who finds a monster in his closet. “Fall Apart” is dark, tragic, and disgusting because of its body horror premise. “The Meat Man” is again a much lighter tone and has tons of comedic relief with its tale about two brothers who think they may be related to a serial killer. For the last entry, the conclusion combines the scares and humor when a crazed hunter stalks a group of campers in “The Watcher.”
Now the completed film takes its turn at the film festival circuit. The anthology was presented at the Dark Carnival Film Festival in Bloomington, Indiana and nominated for best feature. Soon the film will be screened at the Rock and Shock Festival in Worcester, Massachusetts and looks forward to the opportunity to be demonstrated at the Killer Film Fest next month.
While the filmmakers of the anthology, DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW, look forward to the possibility of a theatrical distribution or a venue through video on demand, the DVD is certainly sure to be the final market. Depending on DVD space, the special features will include commentary, music videos, and make-up tests. Director Michael Neel and producer Greg Ansin approached their anthology with never-ending affection and thought as well as an appreciation for the gore.
For more information about DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW and its premieres, check http://www.driveinhorrorshow.com/