Movie of the Day – The American Scream
January 22, 2013 3 Comments
I will admit, as I have done many times over the course of writing on this blog of mine, that I am not a big big horror fan. Horror movies are not my jam and the amount that I watch horror movies dwarfed by an average horror movie watcher. That much is certain, but I have particular tastes when it comes to the scares, blood, gore, and other aesthetics of the genre. That lack of horror movie watching even extends to Halloween itself, where I hand out candy from time to time and will dress in costume on occasion. Maybe it’s because I don’t have that passion for the holiday or genre that reflects said holiday, but I will tell you what, I am glad there are people out there like the one’s in today’s post who embrace their love of the spirit and holiday. The American Scream is a scary, lovely, labor of love.
Every Halloween, sleepy Fairhaven, Massachusetts erupts with the most ambitiously creative spookery in the world. Endless styrofoam tombstones and backyard beasts come courtesy of a few supremely dedicated local “home haunters” who’ve devoted their lives to the art of handmade monster-making. The American Scream follows three of these horrific households to uncover the triumphs and tragedies that come with carrying the blackened banner of true Halloween spirit. — (C) Official Site
Gosh, if nothing else, I love a great documentary and this one from Michael Paul Stephenson (Best Worst Movie) delivers a wonderfully maniacal, heartfelt and funny documentary about three different houses in the town of Fairhaven as they transform their neighborhood into a giant block party with haunted houses and spooky creatures. Every year they turn their houses into a haunted house, their yards to graveyards and they create these memorable events for one night of the year, all because they love to do it.
That’s what got me interested in seeing this movie at the limited screening they had at our local Alamo Drafthouse. It was something about their devotion to creating a haunting experience that drew me into the movie, besides the fact it was a documentary. I have hobbies as much as the next person, but the creative outlet that the families have with this annual event is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The lengths that they go to in order to have everything perfect for just that one night is incredible to witness. You are peering into this little madhouse or laboratory of a mad scientist as they try and outdo themselves from the previous, keeping the experience fresh and exciting. But with that love comes some hardships and tribulations that wear on the subjects. It’s the struggle to keep that creative art and love alive, even when it seems like there are insurmountable odds.
I was surprised how involved I became watching the documentary. It’s never this ultra-serious doc, but rather the subject matter and the people involved all have magnetic aura around them that you want to see it all play out perfectly. To have their hard work and creativity rewarded again and again with throngs of people coming out and experiencing their effort. They don’t do it to be famous, they do it because they love the holiday. They love being able to come up with new scares or creatures time and time again. The thrill of their hobby is its own reward and you will be smiling and cheering along with them as it all comes together.