Beyond Horror: The History and Sub-Culture of Red Films

11/27/2019 06:18

Film: Beyond Horror: The History and Sub-Culture of Red Films

Year: 2019

Director: Marcus Koch and Jessie Seitz

Writer: Marcus Koch and Jessie Seitz

Starring: Marian Dora, Dustin Mills and Dave Parker



I’ll be perfectly honest, when I saw there’s a documentary that was playing at the Nightmare Films Festival, I made it a point that I would go check it out. The co-directors Marcus Koch and Jessie Seitz, were actually in attendance as this was the world premiere. What was interesting is they made it sound like they were editing and still working this almost close to the day that it finally aired. I didn’t know what the subject matter was, but soon learned that it is the history and sub-culture of extreme gore films, which I’m not overly familiar with.

It was interesting seeing some of the interviews in this one. They took filmmakers, actors and people who aren’t really overly well known until you get into more of the independent circuit. An example is that earlier in the day I actually met Dustin Mills, who also had a film that was showing at the festival and I was shocked to see that he was interviewed here. Another is Dave Parker, who I see in horror podcast groups on Facebook that I’m in. When you have a connection, even as small as this, it really makes it that much more interesting.

What I like about this documentary is that we’re given the history of what they’re talking about. This goes to films like The Last House on the Left and Cannibal Holocaust. I saw both of these in high school and college respectively. They seem to be some of the more common extreme films that introduce horror fans into the underworld of independent film. This takes it much farther than that though.

Going from there, there’s a lot of in-depth research into the extreme gory, splatter films that were made popular in the 2000’s and into even today. We get to see clips from these films from the likes of Marian Dora, as well as actually hearing an interview of him. This also includes films from Lucifer Valentine, the Guinea Pig films from Japan and from the likes of Fred Vogel with his August Underground films. Interesting, Koch is behind the American version of the Guinea Pig films, so he really knows what he’s talking about with his background in special effects.

I will warn you with this though, it can be tough to watch this, because of how graphic the clips that are seen. A question that was posed was how they were going to edit this to show in more mainstream or academic forums in which there could end up being a cut with the clips taken out. I will say though, seeing the clips really make you understand why people despise this, but also the art they’re creating as well.

Since this is a documentary, I don’t really have a lot more to say. It is definitely a documentary that I really dug, even though it’s not the easiest thing to watch. It is a sub-genre of films that I haven’t really gotten into, but I am considering it for sure. I think they interviewed people that are both knowledgeable on the subject matter, but also in horror as well. If you can handle the clips that are shown, I would definitely recommend this, even more so if you want to get a crash course of the sub-genre or just interested to see the interviews. If you can’t handle the clips, but still interested, keep an eye out for the edited version. This is still very new so there’s not a lot of details on how to see this or what ways you will be able to at the time of writing this. I do think this is an above average documentary for sure though.


My Rating: 7 out of 10