I was first introduced to writer/director Paul Solet through another indie genre director, Adam Green, who was serving as producer on Solet’s feature film debut, Grace, which premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2009. However, my first introduction to Solet’s horror sensibilities was through the disturbing (and sometimes hilarious) short film Means to an End he collaborated on with Jake Hamilton.
So when I had the idea of reaching out to independent genre filmmakers for this week’s Indie Horror Month coverage, Solet was a shoo-in. I knew his unique filmmaking vision would spill over into his list of his five favorite independent horror films, and I was right on the money. Check out Solet’s list below, and make sure to check in tomorrow for our final two lists!
Anyone looking to make a smart genre film on a budget needs to study what Bob Clark did with Deathdream. He shot this one in 1974 for a quarter million bucks in Florida but still created one of the most emotionally effective films of the time. I absolutely love this movie. I have a signed copy sitting proudly on my mantle and a second one available to loan out to anyone I care about on hand at all times.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa could teach American genre filmmakers a hell of a lot about a lot of things, but his sound design always stands out most of all. When you finish watching a Kurosawa film, you literally hear the world differently. Aesthetically, he stylizes reality with beautifully unintrusive grace. This movie is just fucking haunting.
3. BENNY’S VIDEO
I love Michael Haneke. Narrowing down my favorite is tough, and there are those who’d suggest that his films aren’t horror films exactly, but Benny’s Video is one of the most disturbing movies I’ve ever seen. This guy proves that fast cutting and photographic gimmickry are not the key to a successful genre film. He will take your breath away in a five-minute master shot without cutting or moving the camera a single time.
4. DEAD AND BURIED
One of the most under-appreciated pieces of horror brilliance around. Aesthetically and atmospherically, this is just an extremely mature, ambitious film. If you’re looking for a genuinely chilling movie, this one is for you. On a craftsmanship level, the effects here are pretty damn stunning, too. A great film to point to when arguing for the merits of practical effects.
Universal distributed it, but this is no studio film. I saw Videodrome as a kid and couldn’t believe my eyes. I felt like this guy Cronenberg totally understood what was going on in my head creatively. Which was some pretty strange shit. Body horror, the idea of losing control over your own facilities, is one of the final frontiers of fear for me. Not much gets under my skin anymore, but the stuff that already lives under the skin still does the trick to this day. “Long live the new flesh!”
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