Exclusive: Adam Barnick Talks What Is Scary?, Mainstream and More
A few years ago while covering Paul Solet’s Grace during what almost seems like a lifetime ago now, this writer was introduced to Adam Barnick, the mastermind behind the extensive behind-the-scenes featurettes for Anchor Bay’s home release of the title.
From the start, Barnick struck me as a filmmaker who wasn’t just about rocking out brilliant behind-the-scenes featurettes (even though he certainly raised the bar for anyone looking to make a name for themselves doing bonus material work within the horror community) but more of a storyteller looking to give fans a different perspective on the genre he holds dearest to him.
Case in point: Barnick’s 2007 short film Mainstream, which was part of Fangoria’s Blood Drive II collection of short films of that year, was a dark and surreal examination of the human condition that gave me a whole new reason to fear needles while showcasing Barnick’s firm grasp on what I like to call “Thinking Man’s Horror.”
Now that Barnick has won over genre fans with his short film as well as his impressive work on both Grace and Frozen’s behind-the-scene featurettes, he’s focused on his own future projects within the genre and otherwise. After recently announcing his unique horror documentary What is Scary?, which explores the idea of what we as human beings truly find terrifying, Dread Central caught up with Barnick to talk about his new documentary project, his experiences while revisiting the dark world of Mainstream as he adapts the short film into a feature-length project, as well as an upcoming music video he’s currently gearing up to direct for singer/songwriter Rivulets (also known as Nathan Amundson).
Heather Wixson: There are a lot of different styles of documentary filmmaking, but it seems like your approach for What is Scary? is definitely a unique way to tell a story rather than go the “talking heads documentary” approach. What was it about this idea that really got you excited as a filmmaker?
Adam Barnick: "It was one of the few ideas that was really giving me the type of excitement that didn’t fade after a period of time, even when I had to put the project on hold to complete other work. And I liked its simplicity, and hadn’t really seen many projects like it before. Even though it wasn’t traditional narrative, it has kept me excited.
I also decided to take this on next because it was an effort I could do largely on my own. Raising money for potential projects (short projects financed by others, features) and just properly developing work can take so long to come together, and I needed to keep in the game and have something I could personally push forward whenever I could squeeze the time in.
All I had to do to begin was set up a voicemail, you know? What can you do when your resources and budgets are limited or slow in the making? It was a way to embrace limitations, do something personal and hopefully entertain others in the process."