How many found footage movies did writer-director Stephen DeGennaro watch before shooting his horror-comedy, Found Footage 3D? A lot.
“I’d seen all of the major works in the subgenre, but I hadn’t delved deep down into the real bottom of the barrel,” says DeGennaro, whose movie is playing at Los Angeles’ Screamfest festival on Wednesday. “As soon as I knew that I wanted to write this, I went out and I rented, or found, every found footage movie I could get my hands on. Even at the time — this was four, five years ago — there were a couple of hundred and that seemed like a pretty daunting task. In the years since then, it’s exploded to the point where I don’t think anybody could possibly see all of them. There’s just way, way, way too many of them.”
Found Footage 3D stars Carter Roy (Refuge) as a film producer and actor who sets out to make a 3D found footage horror film costarring his estranged wife (Alena von Stroheim) at a remote, and possibly haunted, house in Texas. Other cast members include Chris O’Brien, Tom Saporito, Scott Allen Perry, Jessica Perrin, and real-life film journalist Scott Weinberg, who plays a version of himself. DeGennaro’s film received its world premiere at the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival in Chicago last August, where it was greeted warmly by a capacity crowd and won the festival’s Jury Award.
“I didn’t sleep for two nights before that screening, because I had no idea whether it was going to work at all,” says the director. “I had no idea whether the story was going to work, or whether the 3D was going to work or not on a screen that big. To hear the audience response in real time — and at the Q&A afterwards — was everything that I had hoped for, and more.”
DeGennaro’s choice for the best movie to watch over Halloween is not found footage but it is still a film which had a massive influence on his project: the late Wes Craven’s Neve Campbell-starring Scream.
“Scream is the only horror-comedy I can think of that really works on both levels,” he says. “There are a lot of horror-comedy movies that I love and often times the scares are played for laughs. You know, there’s an over-the-top gory moment or something that is played to be funny, more so than to be scary. Scream, I think, is the only movie that managed to ride this line between being incredibly funny, and insightful, and clever, but at the same time it made my skin crawl. From the very very beginning [of making Found Footage 3D] we told everybody that that was the tone we were going for. We didn’t want to wink at the camer and do a goofy Scary Movie version of found footage. We wanted something that was both funny and scary.”
You can see trailers for Scream and Found Footage 3D, below. For more Halloween horror movie recommendations, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now, or buy it here now – and subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.