Saturday, 23 February 2013

The American Scream

"The American Scream" (2012, Michael Stephenson, Brainstorm Media, Chiller Films, Magic Stone Productions) is a documentary from the mind that brought us "The Best Worst Movie" back in 2009.

It's set in a quiet American town called Fairhaven and follows 3 families of 'home haunters' as they prepare for the big night of Halloween over the month of October. Each family goes all out for Halloween, turning their gardens and houses into haunted houses for people to visit and enjoy. All three have a different personality, and so each Haunt is very different.

I knew America was crazy for Halloween, but I didn't realise how seriously some people took it! Or that there were whole conventions for props and house decor. Man, I definitely live in the wrong part of the globe.

Endearing and sweet, and often a little sad, this film follows the trials, tribulations and sheer dedication the Haunters and their ever supporting families go through to treat the children and trick or treaters at Halloween.

Each Haunter has such a different character and obviously felt very differently about the holiday and how they went about putting their haunt together, and I think I loved each one of them, they were just so charming in their sheer determination to make their haunt one to remember.

With some ups and downs and some really funny moments that had the cinema laughing aloud and sharing smiles, I found this film to be an excellent crowd pleaser, and a great study on the modern day American obsession (not with bad connotations, however) with All Hallow's Eve and how hobbies can really give your life purpose if you're passionate enough.

The props that Vincent put together, in particular, were so impressive! If he lived in my neighbourhood I would have been helping him out every year! The ending has a melancholy feel to it, however, and I'm curious to whether getting to live his dream has made Vincent happy. I really hope it has, though!

The scenes inside the haunts are excellent and really funny. All in all, this was a little gem of a movie and, while not a horror, is so touching and well put together it will bring a smile to your face.

A good way to start off the 2013 Fright Fest!

[Images: Brainstorm Media, Chiller Films, Magic Stone Productions]