Thursday, October 23, 2014

Now Screaming: "The American Scream" (Movie Review)


I put my wife and (now three) kids through a lot in pursuit of my creative passions.  Luckily, my writing here on Terrorphoria is nothing like the two and a half years I spent on the road pursuing stand-up comedy that left my poor spouse practically a single parent.  Like right now, I'm typing this up while my wife and daughters are carving pumpkins.  Although that isn't ideal, it's way better than when I would be hours away telling jokes in front of an uninterested crowd so that a bar could sell more chicken wings and draft beer.

The American Scream is a documentary about three families in Fairhaven, MA that put on elaborate home haunts for the local trick-or-treaters.  What I found absolutely captivating about it is that it really dove into this creative-pursuit, family tension in a way I haven't really seen in another documentary.  This coupled with the interesting culture of setting up a home haunt and the way the three different houses approached it made this a great watch and had me plotting what we could do in our own backyard.


One of three is an IT professional with a wife and two kids that dreams of putting on haunted houses professionally.  Although the other families are equally compelling television, especially when juxtaposed with the first (both approach it much more as a hobby with far different standards and ambitions), this family is what really drew in my interest.  I could just see my wife in his as she discussed how it would sure be nice if they had room for storage or the kids could have a swing set in the backyard.

The movie is extremely well done, directed by Michael Stephenson who's first film Best Worst Movie about Troll 2 (in which he starred as a young lad) was one of my favorite documentaries ever.  Sophomore film efforts are often terrible and that goes double for documentaries, but this was excellent.  As such, I'm more than a little impressed and excited for his forthcoming Horror/Comedy feature Destroy.

If you are at all a fan of the October scare season, I highly recommend this.  It's also a great watch if, like me, you love to view scary stuff (especially in October) but your wife can't stand it.  Heck, even my daughters enjoyed watching it (which is really weird for a documentary). Give it a watch and I bet you'll enjoy the heck out of it.

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