Monday, May 30, 2011

Is the Internet Good for Horror? Or Is It Just Me?

Is making B movies less fun now than it used to be?

When me and Jace first got a chance to write our first movie CROCODILE, it was exciting and cool but we also knew we were making a low budget film that we wouldn't get rich off of. So even back then we had slightly mixed feelings about it. But overall we were writing a movie that was going to be directed by Tobe Fucking Hooper and getting paid for it! We didn't worry about reviews or the nasty comments people would make about it on Bloody-Disgusting. As a matter of fact, I don't even know if there were horror websites back when we made it. There probably were, but we didn't know about them For the first 4-5 films we wrote that were produced, we weren't members of any horror scene and didn't care what our fellow writers and directors thought at all.

But then, in came the Internet. Stomping with loud boots and followed by a horde of fellow filmmakers, fans and journalists that we now think of as friends and peers. Being a part of a community was great -- but it was only around 2005 that we learned our little films were getting reviewed at all. We were, and still are, growing as writers. And it's during the writing of TOOLBOX MURDERS that we really started to get self-conscious. That we really started to worry about what "they" would think.

Since then I've become a director, and I've become more and more self-conscious about what other people think -- so much so that I don't even read the reviews any more. (Believe me, there are a lot of them. The bad ones hurt a lot more than the good ones make you feel good. It's also the bad ones that you remember.) Everyone has opinions: some smart, some dumb, some just a matter of preference. I just keep wondering whether or not putting yourself out there to be eviscerated online later makes the whole filmmaking process less fun than it used to be.

Don't get me wrong: I don't want to sound whiny. As far as I'm concerned, I have the best job on planet Earth -- but I am human, and I do worry and get down on myself. So what do you think? Does the world of online horror news and websites make it harder to do our jobs? Is this something that affects horror writers and directors more than people in other genres? Or do you delight in reading your imdb comments? Please let me know! As hypocritical as it sounds, your opinions do matter to me.


  1. The internet is a great marketing tool. But the downside is that, in the past, reviews rolled out over time. And during that time people were still giving a movie a chance. The reviews hadn't poisoned the waters so to speak. Now a bad review hits thousands of readers in a matter of minutes. A million over the course of a few hours. Thus killing a movie in its tracks. Doesn't matter if the reviewer has an axe to grind or is bias in some way. The damage has been done.

    The other problem is the anonymity of the net. Those IMDB posters all use "handles" so one never knows the who's and why's of the comments. Some of them are so mean spirited you have to assume most of them are simply haters who got nothing better to do than hate, or have some kind of personal agenda.

    Like anything, the net has its pluses and its negatives.

    But I'd lean more toward the positive. The fact you can make a movie and put it on the net and have thousands of people see your work is a positive thing, IMO. It's good for creatives and if you genuinely have talent, it's another avenue by which you can be discovered.

  2. This is a really great article, and an important question. How have fan-boys and fan sights changed the way filmmakers make films.

    I'm going to be quoting this in my next blog post. THANKS!

  3. Hey Adam, interesting post and it's something I think about a fair bit too albeit from a different angle.

    I write about horror movies a lot in various ways on my website and blog but I'm also a filmmaker and screenwriter trying to get a foot in the door along with the other 5 million schmoes doing the same thing as me. As I progress with this however I am more and more uncomfortable with 'bad' reviews. It's become such an internet critic's easy attention grabber that most times nowadays a lot of reviews and comments are made so that attention is on the critic rather than the movie. I think a well written or funny piece deserves attention and acclaim but not when it's at the expense of a completely undeserving piece of work. It's a different case when the movie in question is truly offensively bad or something which is made with only cynicism and contempt for the genre.

    It just seems that everything and anything provokes an incredibly vitriolic response on the internet. Things are either insanely good or insanely bad with absolutely no middle ground at all. This applies to movies, reviews, short films on youtube or even comments on blogs such as this.

    Ultimately though, I think the internet has gotta be a good thing for horror - I certainly wouldn't have ever heard of, let alone seen, a ton of lesser known, low budget or simply freaky movies that I hold dear to my heart otherwise.