Horror Movie: A Low Budget Nightmare is, in essence, the story of Craig Anderson. Craig’s an affable chap with a lifelong dream of writing and directing a feature film. When we first meet Craig he’s quite frank about the fact he’s not getting any younger – and opportunities haven’t exactly been falling into his lap – so he decides it’s time to get proactive and make the bloody thing himself. As the title of the doco suggests, Craig’s dream turns dark pretty quickly.
Red Christmas is the film in question, a polarising Yuletide slasher flick that in Craig’s own words, “[is] about an aborted fetus that returns and kills its family – of course it’s going to be terrible!” While the eventuating feature is a niche proposition, Horror Movie itself is absolutely fascinating. There’s a palpable sense of tension throughout the two-part doco’s runtime, where our scrappy hero and his band of friends realise they may have bitten off way more than they can chew.
Scenes where Craig borrows ungodly amounts of money from his brother, tries to negotiate the complexity of America’s SAG rules to land Dee Wallace (E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, The Howling) in the lead role and attempts to explain some of the ropier aspects of his script to dubious cast members are a mixture of fascinating and cringe-inducing. Director Gary Doust (Making Venus, Next Stop Hollywood) has crafted an intimate look at the world of low budget genre filmmaking in Australia and portrait of a man who lives for movies, often at the expense of his own well being.
Horror Movie: A Low Budget Nightmare is about what happens when a wide eyed dreamer with visions of success meets the speeding semi-trailer of reality and the ensuing carnage. It’s at times hilarious and heartbreaking, brimming with pathos and well worth a watch for those with even a casual interest in the grisly sausage factory that is making movies on a shoestring budget.
Basically it’s the Hearts of Darkness of Chrissy-themed killer fetus slasher movies.
Part 1 airs on ABC October 31st 9.30pm, and part 2 on November 7.