Last Thursday saw the Canadian premiere of the horror documentary Why Horror? at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.
Life-long horror fan Tal Zimerman spans the globe to find out why the genre is so popular and why we love to be scared.
Having known Tal for several years now, it was really great to see the project he’d been working on, for what seems like forever, finally have its day in the sun. This was the second project I’d contributed to that had a premiere this year – Astron 6’s The Editor being the other – so I’m over the moon having had a small part in its existence.
There are a ton of horror heavyweights interviewed here, including John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Eli Roth and Don Coscarelli, but the doc’s real strength is its variety of subjects. Why Horror? speaks to genre actors, artists, writers and even sociologists and professors about the root of the attraction to horror.
|Tal Zimerman with the great John Carpenter.|
Why Horror? was more than just a “talking heads” documentary though, broken up by countless film clips, an animated two-minute history of horror films narrated by Elijah Wood, as well as several illustrations by several talented artists, including Larry Adlon & Trevor Henderson. There was even a section where Tal gets his brains picked by some doctors to see if there's anything physiological about his love of horror. This thread led to my favourite part of the doc where Tal enlists his mother as part of an experiment to see how horror and non-horror fans react to frightening stimuli.
Why Horror’s global aspect is another strong point, as Tal and his crew, directors Nicolas Kleiman & Rob Lindsay, travelled to locales such as Mexico, Japan and England to see how the subject of horror differed from culture to culture.
|(left to right) Moderator Dave Alexander, star Tal Zimerman & co-directors Nicolas Kleinman & Rob Lindsay.|
Why Horror? has a lot to offer, a feat in itself considering docs on the subject are not exactly sparse. However, its approach keeps it fun and makes it accessible to non-fans of the genre, which is much more rare.