Horror Documentary: The Splat Pack (2010)
The horror documentary is a difficult one to pull off successfully. There’s times when those being interviewed come off sounding arrogant (like in HIS NAME WAS JASON; see my review) and sometimes the material isn’t really examined in enough detail (again, HIS NAME WAS JASON). On the other hand there are times when a horror documentary comes along and completely blows ya outta the water (as is the case with NEVER SLEEP AGAIN; see my review), I find that most horror documentaries focus on the heyday of the horror genre … you know; when slashers roamed free and everyone thought the word “misogyny” was some kind of new massage technique complete with full release. But what about the 2000’s? Sure there were a fuck-ton of horrible genre flicks that came out that decade (I should know; I saw most of them). But what about the good ones? In case you have a bad short-term memory, the 2000’s saw a resurgence of not just the “horror film” but of the bloody and gory horror film. This is exactly what THE SPLAT PACK focuses on.
This documentary take us back to the 2000’s and examines how this resurgence came about. According to writer Mark Henry (who is also the co-director along with Frank H. Woodward) this resurgence was due to the backlash from the SCREAM films. There’s no denying that the SCREAM trilogy was financially successful, but as Harry Knowles of Ain’t it Cool News points out, “They weren’t very good films.” So the SCREAM flicks served as a catalyst for a lot of young horror directors out there to make an actual scary and bloody genre flick that wasn’t safe and rated PG-13. So just who are these directors who make up “The Splat Pack” (a term that was coined by UK film critic Alan Jones)? These directors include Alexandre Aja (HIGH TENSION), Neil Marshall (THE DESCENT), Adam Green (HATCHET), Eli Roth (CABIN FEVER), Rob Zombie (THE DEVIL’S REJECTS), Greg Mclean (WOLF CREEK), and Darren Lynn Bousman (a few SAW sequels). Yeah; a pretty solid bunch of horror directors!!
But one of the great things in this documentary are the interviews. Henry and Woodward get some extremely profound insights out of everyone and proves that these are some pretty damn intelligent guys making these splatter flicks. For example, when Bousman is asked if he feels his films are too extreme he points out that comedy directors never get shit for making their films “too funny” and that drama directors don’t have to defend their films for being “too dramatic or sad.” So why, Bousman asks, do horror directors have to defend themselves when their flicks are hardcore, bloody, and violent? Excellent point Darren!! Its intelligent comments like this that’ll have you glued to the screen. Last weekend I had to fly up to New Jersey (horrifying in itself) and I actually watched this documentary on the flight to NJ and the flight back home … it’s that good.
But this isn’t all talk … hell no!! Henry and Woodward fill the screen with the greatest, goriest moments from the above-mentioned films (and more). Its an insightful bunch of interviews as well as a “greatest hits” reel of the bloodiest flicks from the 1990’s!! But perhaps best of all is that we finally get an acceptable explanation from Alexandre Aja himself about why the ending of HIGH TENSION was so fucking lame. In a nutshell Aja tells us that the main producer who was financing the film (Aja explains that, “Without him there wouldn’t have been a film”) wanted that ending. Plain and simple. Aja goes into more explanation about the events, but that is the bottom line. I can accept that; I can accept that it was some rich douchy producer who skull-fucked the ending. Finally after all these years I got the closure I needed about that horrible ending.
Not to sound cliched, but the only negative thing about THE SPLAT PACK is that it was way too short. I know “they” say “always leave ‘em wanting more,” but fuck that … this documentary needed to be at least another hour long (it runs only 48 minutes)!! But it’s amazing how much insight and info the filmmakers packed into those 48 minutes. Now don’t go trying to find THE SPLAT PACK on netflix … it ain’t there. This incredible documentary is only available at the filmmaker’s website: http://wyrdstuff.com/ Go visit this site now and download this documentary; you’ll thank me.
The 2000’s will forever go down in genre history as a pivotal decade. There were some truly fucked up, extreme, and disturbing films made in that decade. If you’re having trouble remembering what those flicks are or you think I’m fucking crazy about the 2000’s then you definitely need to watch this documentary. This is an extremely fun, insightful, and really well-made horror documentary. Don’t miss this one!!
Directors: Mark Henry & Frank H. Woodward
Plot: 5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 10 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer