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It's the Booze Talkin': Are Fan Films the wave of the future for horror?

As a horror fan, I’ve been especially forgiving on certain genre franchise films. We’ve had more than our fair share of crappy sequels to classic scary movies, and I am more than willing to sit through each and every one of them. Why? Perhaps it’s the nostalgia factor of growing up on guys like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kreuger and Pinhead. In fact, that is likely the main reason many of us can still find entertainment in FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE or FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN. Strangely though, I've never been much for watching fan films. Yet over the past few years, we’ve seen some interesting things when it comes to fans wanting to celebrate their favorite horror icons.

While there was a time when we’d see a new Jason or Michael movie nearly every year, things have changed quite drastically. This year we’ve had a few familiar titles like AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING, CULT OF CHUCKY and LEATHERFACE, yet they either had a minuscule theatrical release, or just went straight to streaming and home video. In terms of theatrical sequels, there was the return of JIGSAW, and the surprisingly impressive ANNABELLE: CREATION. However, the classic villains of the Eighties have found a bit of trouble getting back on the silver screen. Perhaps the Blumhouse/John Carpenter HALLOWEEN sequel coming next year will change that, but we have to wait and find out. Who else can we seriously consider reviving in a unique and exciting way? Are fan films part of the answer?

For many fans, the way to keep these creations alive is to make their own films. And frankly, the so-called “fan films” are starting to present really intriguing ideas. You can find prequels like Myers (Rise of the Boogeyman) and the web series Krueger: A Tale from Elm Street. And even the official FRIDAY THE 13TH blu-ray releases gave audiences a few fun shorts entitled Lost Tales From Camp Blood. You have to credit these folks for trying to keep these modern day classic scares alive. Now it's very likely that you'll discover a bunch of cheap and lazy videos - including one I made years ago which I won’t be sharing - yet it’s kind of cool that folks still have that love for HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, HELLRAISER and such.

With all the creative ideas that filmmakers are trying to bring to the table, by offering their own slant to their beloved franchise, it's clear that somebody out there is capable of creating something inspiring and genuinely scary. Myers (Rise of the Boogeyman), directed by Chris R. Notarile, adds a credible beginning to young Michael Myers before he killed his sister. And while Halloween: Resurgence - directed by Darren Jones - follows the basic storyline of a slasher flick, it does so with a lot of heart and a few solid performances. And there are so many more of these entertaining tales that you’d think one of them could easily be the building block for a very satisfying movie going experience.

My personal favorite when it comes to fan films in the exceptional Never Hike Alone. Remember when there were rumors that a new FRIDAY THE13TH sequel was going to take the “found footage” route? Well, this terrific not-so-short short film (running just under an hour) manages to integrate that into its narrative in a smart and satisfying way. Vincente DiSanti not only wrote and directed this fan tribute, but he also stars as Jason Voorhees, and he is quite menacing. And when it comes to the victim, actor Drew Leighty is terrific as an extreme sports enthusiast who stumbles into a very familiar camp. The actor carries the film exceptionally well, and he brings his A-game when he ultimately faces the legendary maniac. This guy has the goods. Even the cinematography here is downright gorgeous. This is so good, it’s arguably better than most of the official F13 sequels. If you are a fan, this is a must watch for a number of reasons; one very good one includes a brilliant cameo from F13 vet Thom Mathews.

never hike alone vincente disanti drew leighty thom mathews friday the 13th fan film jason voorhees

Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but genre fan filmmakers can help bring horror icons back to life. This may have already started, as several new filmmakers have gained attention thanks to short films. In fact, Gary J. Tunnicliffe gave us the fan film No More Souls: One Last Slice of Sensation, and now he is bringing fans HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT. The creativity that goes into a few of these shorts could easily be placed into making a new sequel to a number of classic horror films. Of course you’re going to find a lot of bad when scouring the internet for fan films, but I’d be wiling to wager that someone like DiSanti could contribute something truly special to a new Jason Voorhees flick. And there are tons more talented guys out there that could do the exact same.

Extra Tidbit: What are some of your favorite genre fan films?
Source: AITH

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