But the real horror might be crowdfunding.
Ant Timpson and Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League, the demented production duo behind The ABCs of Death and The Greasy Strangler, are working on a new horror anthology called The Field Guide to Evil. Not only will the film showcase a ridiculously talented brood of international genre directors, but, if you contribute to the crowdfunding campaign, you’ll receive actual (financial) returns.
The Field Guide to Evil [is] an entirely new vision of anthology horror inspired by a global exploration of folklore and mythology. The film has launched a campaign on First Democracy VC, a funding portal brought through a partnership between Indiegogo and MicroVentures. This will allow anyone the chance to become a true investor in the production, becoming the very first film equity crowdfunding campaign that Indiegogo and MicroVentures have done through their partnership.
Because I’m a simple woman, I hear “international folklore horror anthology,” and I’m sold. Horror anthology flicks are like catnip to me. At their best, they guarantee a variety of stylish genre experiments, and, at their worst, they tend to fluctuate in quality. To me, it’s a small price. One short might blow your socks off (Three…Extremes’ “Dumplings”), and the next might leave you a lil’ underwhelmed (Creepshow’s “The Crate”). Boldness in genre was what made The ABCs of Death fun, but god help you if you were looking for tonal consistency.
THAT SAID, holy smokes, Timpson and League weren’t bluffing with that “most talented genre filmmakers from around the world” bit. Looking at the directorial line up ‐ a manageable eight vs. ABCs unwieldy twenty-six —Field Guide to Evil is in capable hands. Speaking of which, here they are:
Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala (Austria)
The duo are best known for Goodnight Mommy, a suspense drama about two twin boys who begin to doubt that their mother, who has undergone cosmetic surgery, is really their mother. It’s one of the most disquieting films I’ve seen in a theatre and I should issue formal apologies to the friends I saw it with. Franz and Fiala are masters of tension, and play paranoia like a fiddle.
Katrin Gebbe (Germany)
Also on board is Katrin Gebbe, whose Dogville-reminiscent Nothing Bad Can Happen (spoiler: something bad can happen) explores the overlap of modern faith and suffering. It’s an uncompromising, lyrical, and challenging watch…if you’re up for it.
Peter Strickland (Hungary)
Strickland’s earhole psychodrama Berberian Sound Studio and BDSM voyeurism opus The Duke of Burgundy, make him an accomplished and highly qualified addition to Field Guide to Evil’s roster. He dabbles in fetichism and his sense of style transcends homage.
Yannis Veslemes (Greece)
Veslemes joins up, with a lurid vampire disco saga under his belt. Norway is, by all accounts, “a feverish exercise in heavily stylized weirdness.” Which is to say, of course he’s been tapped for a horror anthology.
Ashim Ahluwalia (India)
Repping India, Ahluwalia’s most notable project, Miss Lovely, delves into the pulp horror and softcore porn of Mumbai’s C-grade films during the 80s. Ahluwalia’s visual palette and aesthetic command are praiseworthy, and Field Guide to Evil is lucky to have him.
Agnieszka Smoczynska (Poland)
We at FSR are big Smoczynska fans. And she’s only given us one friggin’ film: Lure, a communist-dancehall-cannibal-mermaid-musical. Watch the trailer and see for yourselves: Smoczynska isn’t messing around.
Can Evrenol (Turkey)
Evrenol is also listed among Field Guide to Evil’s directors, and oh. my. god. For those of you who missed the incomprehensible fever dream/nightmare fuel that is Baskin...hoo boy. It’s a surreal horror film where five policemen stumble into Hell after coming across a Black Mass in an abandoned building and honestly after that it’s hard to say. Hell isn’t a destination, it’s been inside us all along! If you want a beautifully shot and decorated torture blowout, Evrenol’s your guy.
Calvin Reeder (United States)
Reeder joins the lineup, bringing a résumé full of genre fetishism. His two full-length movies, The Rambler and The Oregonian, dip into disturbed Americana, and his short, The Procedure, should be given an A+ for NSFW.
[divider]tell me more about this crowdfunding tho[/divider]
While I am stoked as hell for Field Guide to Evil, the idiosyncratic crowdfunding wrinkle has me a bit nervous.
Crowdfunding can be harnessed for good ‐ A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a prime example. It’s also a system that panders to nostalgia. At the risk of comparing apples to kiwis, I see this a lot in video game Kickstarters: potential for indie innovation squandered on retreading familiar ground (cough, cough, cough). I’d hate to see Hollywood’s perverse, flagrantly money-grubbing fascination with nostalgia fester any further. Hopefully newfangled, equity-focused crowdfunding systems like that of Field Guide to Evil will be able to discourage projects that feed into the reboot cesspool, but it’s hard to say at this point.
In the meantime, check out The Field Guide to Evil’s investment video.