Blood on a Budget
Just like Hollywood, indie horror hits hard around Halloween. If you’re looking for some underground gore to compliment the season, allow me to suggest the haunted-attraction documentary Monsters Wanted and All Hallows’ Eve, an interesting twist to the seasonal anthology sub-genre.
Getting laughs out of a genre audience isn’t especially easy, and indie horror-comedies are a case-in-point for this. What might seem to be knee-slapping hilarity to the filmmakers often translates to groan-worthy cheese at best, and at worst, sexist, offensive tripe. Proving my point are these two aspiring gut-busters, Vampire Camp and Fat Chance; both of which, despite some charm, don’t come off quite as funny as intended.
Germany’s reputation for extreme horror, brought about by gritty underground films Violent Shit and Nekromantik, can be hard to live up to. Thankfully, our no-budget buddies across the Atlantic are up to the challenge, and with entries like Voyage to Agatis and Necronos: Tower of Doom, they prove there’s still plenty of extremity left in das Vaterland.
While most films covered in covered in Blood on a Budget are American, some of them, like Amerikan Holokaust and An American Ghost Story, feel it necessary to state their patriotism in their title. Ironically, these films don’t always depict our best friends to the south in the most favourable light. Read on!
Although Blood on a Budget is dedicated to indie features, a group of people who truly embody the DIY spirit are The Ghouligans. Beginning in the mid 2000s with a handful of no-budget web shorts, that put Universal-inspired Monsters is cheesy comedy sketches, these ghastly goofs have been dedicated to their hand-made horror-comedy for years, producing two DVDs and tirelessly touring conventions. Finally they landed a TV show which highlights what The Ghouligans are best at: classic horror-humour with a ton of heart. Though all 6 half-hour episodes of the first season, which can be best described as a cross between The Munsters and SCTV, you can truly see how much fun, love, and elbow grease this ghoulish gang have put into this project, and on such a criminally low budget.
Psychoses are a tricky subject. When presented on film, people who suffer from this rarely get the politically correct treatment. Their portrayal tends to fall into one of two categories: the family of diverse, kindhearted kooks of a psychiatric facility (Girl, Interupted, The Princess and the Warrior, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) or the solo psycho on the verge of -or in the midst of- a killing spree (Maniac, Pieces, Psycho). Sometimes the two are even combined (Don’t Look in the Basement). Few films venture out of these stereotypes, and even fewer horror films.
Although the films of this entry tend to gravitate near the solo psycho and the sympathetic clan of crazies categories -not to mention playing fast-and-loose with political correctness- they still manage break out of the box in they portrayals of psychiatric disorders.