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Every day until Halloween, The Hollywood Reporter will be speaking to a notable horror director. Previously in this series: ‘V/H/S: Viral’s’ Marcel Sarmiento and ‘ABCs of Death 2’s’ Alejandro Brugues.
“I decided if it looks cheesy, if it looks stupid and fake it’s going to take people out of the movie, and all the rest of the work will be for nothing,” DeGennaro tells The Hollywood Reporter of why he decided to wait to release his film until the effect was just right. “There’s something about practical effects, especially for gore stuff, that is better. Even if you have to do the cheap version of that, you are better off than doing the cheap version of the visual effect.”
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The pitch for this film is that it’ll do for found footage what Scream did for slashers. How did that idea come to you?
That was one of those ideas that just appeared fully formed in my head. Scream and Blair Witch are probably my two favorite horror movies. I was just sitting down one day working on another script, and suddenly I had this idea.
Why found footage?
I knew that by the time I raised the money and shot the film it would be just about the right time for this, because when I started working on this two years ago, people had already started to sour a bit on the found footage concept and would be ready for this kind of story. That was really the genesis of the idea. I love metas — probably my favorite movie ever is Adaptation, so it was very much a chance to poke fun at the crappy versions of the genre I love while also making a found footage movie.
You’re raising funds to complete the film. Did you always know you’d need them?
No. But it was a very tight shoot — we shot it in 15 days. And we had a key practical effect that did not work the way it was supposed to. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. We tested it, and things seemed to work OK, and on the day it didn’t work out. We could have found the money in our budget, and we priced it out to four or five visual effects companies, and we got bids on the very low end of the scale and the high end of the scale. I decided if it looks cheesy, if it looks stupid and fake, it’s going to take people out of the movie, and all the rest of the work will be for nothing.
You have comedy element in your pitch video. Is that indicative of what the film’s tone will be?
We’re really aiming for the whole Scream sort of thing. We are trying to make a movie that is funny and scary. The way the movie is structured in a narrative level is it’s funny up front and it gets scarier on the backend. The humor is not anywhere as broad as in the Indiegogo video. The humor is much dryer. It was important not to go too broad with the humor. What’s great about found footage as a genre is the ability to ground the story in the real world. Most movies are about heightened reality and making things more extreme. I really wanted to ground this in a way The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity did.
Do you have a sense of who’s donating to this?
We have a lot of friends and family, who we are grateful for, but we have almost 25,000 Facebook fans so we are tapping into that audience. It’s always amazing to me that we have so many people interested in the movie, even though we haven’t really released anything from the movie.
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