Low Budget Genre Pictures & the “Nevermore” Kickstarter
It was not so long ago that genre pictures were the B–Z grade movies that Hollywood either ignored or supported with budgets that were mediocre at best. Drama was the prestige format of the day, so genre pictures were, more often than not, low budget independent productions. Now that the tables have turned and Sci-Fi and Fantasy films are big business, it would seem time for genre fans to rejoice. Unfortunately, that is only partially the case. For every Lord of the Rings or Pacific Rim, we seem to get innumerable films suffering from what I think of as budget bloat. Films so bombastic and effects laden, that they forget to breathe and give us anything human to latch onto.
When genre pictures were made on modest budgets, their producers were forced to be more creative to work around limitations. This resulted in a feeling of excitement, a feeling that anything could happen, and unusual things often did. In contrast, higher budgets come laden with a higher responsibility for profit, so risky ideas fall by the wayside, and we are stuck with the current crop of remakes and bloated extravaganzas. While it may not be possible to return to the times that brought us the original versions of Halloween, Evil Dead, and Dawn of the Dead, it is still possible to support new independent productions by both experienced and new creators. Services like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are making this extremely easy.
In the mid 1980s, a group of film makers grabbed my attention with a lurid, humorous take on the works of H. P. Lovecraft. Re-Animator, and it’s follow up From Beyond, were eye-pokingly original and, quite simply, gleeful, gory fun. Three of the main instigators of this jovial assault, director Stuart Gordon, writer Dennis Paoli, and actor Jeffrey Combs, are working to finance their new Edgar Allan Poe biopic, Nevermore with a Kickstarter campaign. While the film in question is different in tone than the aforementioned Lovecraft pictures, I am confident that it will live up to the independent spirit that informed them. For a preview of this team’s very faithful take on Poe, I would encourage you to seek out the “Master’s of Horror” episode The Black Cat.
Mr. Gordon is asking for a very modest budget, but he has proved, time and time again, that he can deliver real thrills and ghoulish laughter, for much less than you would expect. It should also be noted that Mr. Gordon does some of his best work when he is paired with writer Dennis Paoli. For his part, Jeffrey Combs is one of the best actors in genre cinema. From his many collaborations with Mr. Gordon, to his show-stealing performance in Peter Jackson’s underrated The Frighteners, Mr. Combs has always kept my eyes glued to the screen. These guys are trying to bring something original and fresh to life. If you are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, you should seize this opportunity to help reanimate him!