THE HORROR CROWD *** USA 2020 Dir: Ruben Pla. 92 mins
Actor / director Ruben Pla is a jovial – if sometimes slightly intrusive – onscreen presence throughout this warm documentary, in which he interviews an assortment of friends and contacts within the Hollywood horror film community. The line of questioning is often as shallow as it gets (“What was it like to be the weird kid?”) but it’s a fun series of engaging talking heads.
Darren Lynn Bousman is among those reflecting on childhood experiences with the genre, including his influential early dabble with the Gothic series of Ladybird books, while others talk openly of bullying, dyslexia, depression and wearing spiked bracelets. Loveable screenwriter Jeffrey Riddick recalls being spooked by SALEM’S LOT, Kevin S Tenney highlights THE OMEN as a key film from his formative years, Oren Peli discusses the origins of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and Chelsea Stardust celebrates the importance of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD in her life.
Weighty topics – the black experience, horror as a genre leader for female roles – are touched upon with no real depth though the contributors like Mike Mendez, Ernest Dickerson and the always lovely Lin Shaye are charismatic subjects as the film breezes from childhood experiences of horror to choosing when to show horror to kids as a parent. In the veteran corner, Russell Mulcahy steals the show reminiscing of a career stretching from the ‘Hungry Like A Wolf’ music video to RESIDENT EVIL 3, with welcome HIGHLANDER anecdotes about making Sean Connery breakfast for good measure. Ultimately, THE HORROR CROWD has nothing of great significance to share other than conveying the Hollywood horror crowd as a close-knit group of like-minded souls – but it’s a pleasure spending time in their company.
Review by Steven West