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5 Horrific Questions with 5 Horrific Filmmakers

Peter Rottentail horror movie villian
Here comes 'Peter Rottentail'

Every year, the entire staff of Midwest Movie Maker scours the landscape for horror movie filmmakers who are willing to submit to five of the most horrific questions we can come up with. We torture them with our Jigsaw journalism. We confuse them into convulsions with our Kubrick questions. We spook the Stranger Things out of them.

This year, we found five horror maestros willing to submit to our survey:


  • Bryan Geary (BG): An actor based in Northeast Ohio, who recently appeared in the Netflix original Little Evil. Geary studied Entertainment Business at Full Sail University.

  • James Travers (JT): The Northeast Ohio writer, director and producer of the indie feature film The Omnipotence of Dreams.

  • Rob Avery (RA): Writer, producer, director of Slashers Gone Wild, a blood-drenched tale of a contest between killers, invaded by a demon who threatens hell on Earth if he doesn’t win. It won the Indie Gathering Film Festival’s Best Movie Award and was an official selection of the Fright Night Film Fest.

  • Alex Cantrell (AC): Mysterious Cleveland dweller and member of Aldous Mustache, a Northeast Ohio sketch comedy troupe that recently completed a successful IndieGoGo campaign to fund Public Axis 3000, a sketch comedy web series “featuring robots, colorful characters, parodies, and exciting visuals!”

'Little Evil'

What makes a horror movie scary?


JD: Things that tap into our primal fears and emotions.

BG: Blood, guts and curse words. As long as the audience is shouting at the screen, I think you did your job!

JT: Supernatural evil.

RA: Empathy is what makes a horror movie scary. If you can vividly imagine yourself in the characters’ situation, you feel their terror.

AC: Nothing does. It's what you bring [to the movie].

'Alien: Covenant'

What movie frightens you the most?


JD: Triumph of the Will

JT: Alien

RA: The very first Nightmare on Elm Street. What scared me about it is that since Freddy attacks you in your dreams. There is no escape from him. Everybody has to sleep at some point.

'Frankenstein,' behind the scenes

Who is your horror inspiration?


JD: Dan O'Bannon (Alien, Total Recall)

BG: Rob Zombie, that guy is just awesome. Everything he has done has been great.

JT: James Whale (Frankenstein, The Invisible Man)

RA: Pericles Lewnes, Tim Ritter, Lloyd Kaufman. Lewnes directed Redneck Zombies. Ritter directed the slasher flick Truth or Dare. Kaufman has directed many of my favorite movies.

What all of these directors have in common is that they make good use of low budgets. You don't need millions of dollars to make a movie. You need the passion and desire to make it happen.

AC: Memories I can't forget.

Scared at the movies

Why do we like to be scared?


JD: To challenge ourselves emotionally. For emotional release.

BG: For that adrenaline rush.

RA: It's fun as long as the threat is not real. This is why people like to get on roller coasters. Fireworks are the same thing. That little hint of danger gives way to a sense of relief, sometimes leaving the person feeling a bit stronger.

AC: It's easier than being alive.

'Gremlins'

What movie would you like to turn into a horror movie? And how would you do it?


JD: I think the Strugatsky Brothers' Roadside Picnic, although made once in Russia as the science fiction film Stalker, could be remade as a horror-flavored film.

BG: The Godfather. The mafia would be zombies.

JT: Gremlins. I would love to remake that movie way more scary.
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