I’ve held the assertion that the future of horror cinema is in the hands of indie filmmakers for some time now. And I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts and encourage our readers to support independent film and the filmmakers that pour their hearts and souls into it.
The studio system is primarily focused on PG-13 rated horror and remakes at this point because that’s where the money is at. There are some good PG-13 rated horror films (Insidious, Drag Me to Hell to name a couple) as well as some well made remakes. Yesterday, I even took to the site to make a case in defense of the horror remake. Evil Dead is a great example of a studio picture – and remake – that got it right. But films produced via the studio conglomerate are not always crafted with the same love and care that is put into an indie film where the director maintains total or near total creative control and doesn’t have to answer to a studio executive when translating his or her vision to the screen.
An independent production almost always represents a film where the creative team responsible for the finished product has poured blood, sweat, and tears into their feature and they often do so for little financial gain – just hoping to break even or make a marginal profit on the production. But most independent filmmakers are in the game to see their voice heard and commit their ideas to film, not to get rich. They are not in it for the glory but to make a creative contribution to the world of cinema.
Because of the raw determination required and the lack of recognition associated with indie film, what we see from independent filmmakers is a more raw, honest, and often intelligent finished product than what we get from pictures made with big studio backing. When done right, indie film is an art form and it represents the future of the horror genre for the foreseeable future.
Filmmakers like Steven C. Miller, Dave Parker, Dante Tomaselli, The Soska Sisters, Ti West, and Eric England are turning out really impressive and meaningful work that is too controversial or too graphic to be greenlit by the studio conglomerate. Without the hard work of indie filmmakers, we would be at the mercy of the studio system and probably starved for well-made horror pictures.
With quality, R-rated studio horror at a near standstill, the livelihood of the genre rests on the shoulders of independent filmmakers. But without big advertising budgets and a publicity team big enough to fill a small island, indie filmmakers are increasingly reliant on fans to help get the word out about what they are doing. So don’t hesitate to spread the word about indie film and don’t underestimate the value of your role in getting the word out. And when thinking about the future of the horror genre, be mindful of the impact that independent film has on the future of genre film.