FX artist Robert Hall, whose Almost Human company has been busy on a string of films this year (HOUSE OF THE DEAD II, LAST RITES, ROOM 6, etc.), has two new directorial efforts in the works: an album “backmasking” horror yarn dubbed 6 RECORDS and a documentary called THE RISE AND FALL OF ’80S HORROR. “6 RECORDS is something I’ve been writing since before I directed LIGHTNING BUG, and is my first real foray into horror,” Hall tells Fango. “I wrote it with [HELLRAISER and BUG actress] Ashley Laurence, and it’s about a washed-up musician who goes on a terrifying journey through his past by way of playing his own record albums backward. It’s more like a horror MEMENTO than TRICK OR TREAT. We’ll hopefully be shooting by spring, and Ashley and Rob Schneider are attached to star so far.”
Rob Schneider?! The former SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE performer? DEUCE BIGALOW’s Rob Schneider?! “Rob loved LIGHTNING BUG and, believe it or not, he’s a big horror fan,” Hall reveals. “We have several horror projects we’ll be doing together next year, 6 RECORDS being the first.”
Hall adds that 6 RECORDS will follow in the moody tradition of the RING films and WHITE NOISE. A teaser site for the movie is already available at www.6records.com, where he further notes, “6 RECORDS is one man’s journey through his haunted past by way of playing his own record albums backward, hoping for clues or messages that will lead him to redemption. I want to create a stunning psychological horror film in the vein of MEMENTO, but with more horror elements. It will not be a slick, polished piece, but rather look like a film that was shot in the early ’80s.
“6 RECORDS will not rely on cheap scares and gore for the thrills,” Hall continues. “Instead, it will be a true character piece about how lies, betrayal and deceit lead one man to a desperate path searching for messages that may or may not be hidden in his own words.”
Of the film’s subject matter, Hall explains, “The concept of backmasking or reversed speech has never been fully explored in a film, with the exception of 1986’s gimmicky TRICK OR TREAT. I want to capture that feeling of goosebumps you get when you hear the human voice reversed and tap into the possibilities for its existence. [With 6 RECORDS] we will open up the story with religious overtones and explanations, and throughout the film our main character will explore the practical and overt reasoning for the phenomenon. I believe the reason for the goosebumps and creep factor is that the human voice backward is almost intelligible by the brain, but our thinking brain can’t make sense of it, so it’s frightening to us on a subconscious level. I want to tap into what is said backward and how those things in the subconscious can be dangerous or even deadly.”
While Hall gears up for 6 RECORDS, he’s already in production on the promising documentary THE RISE AND FALL OF ’80S HORROR, which he’s co-directing and co-producing with LIGHTNING BUG’s Kevin Bocarde for Dry County Films. The company has already begun shooting interviews and retrospectives with influential horror directors, actors and producers for the movie, which will chronicle the 1980s VHS boom and be “a sort of ‘Where are they now?’ ” of genre favorites, according to the filmmakers. “We promise to have interviews from people you literally have not seen for 20 years,” says Hall. “We’re doing some deep digging.”
“The goal of the documentary is to look at the creative, economic and social factors that created a period of some of the most popular horror of all time,” Bocarde tells Fango. “We want to also look at the impact its crash in the early ’90s had on the lives of the people who had become successful and had developed careers around the ’80s horror boom. Honestly, both Robert and I are such fans of horror in general, and ’80s horror specifically, that this was a project both of us have talked about for several years. As a teenager, I wallpapered my room with severed heads and monsters from FANGORIA.
One of the most important things to me,” he continues, “is that the documentary come across as a work of love by real fans of the genre. I am sure you have seen several other documentaries that feel as if they were made by non-fans. We are just setting up interviews right now. We want to interview all the usual suspects, of course, but also we want to talk to lesser-known names. For example, director Kevin Connor of MOTEL HELL, who I did Hallmark’s FRANKENSTEIN with, has agreed to be interviewed, as well as Armand Mastroianni, who did HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE.”
Hall and Bocarde are inviting Fangorians to e-mail their wish lists of lesser-known ’80s horror icons they would like to see again. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and offer your suggestions. In other Hall news, the FX artist can be seen on ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT beginning this Monday. For a three-part series, Hall will transform actress Vanessa (MTV PROM DATE) Minnillo into a 350 lb. woman. “It should be fun,” Hall says, “so check it out!”.
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