Here’s the interesting thing about horror as a genre.
If you are a fan of romantic comedies and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a real life meet-cute, you’re likely gonna continue to be a fan of romantic comedies.
Get whisked away by aliens and fly in a space ship? Your love of sci-fi will probably deepen. (Provided the experience is more ET and less The Thing – ie: orifices remain probe free).
Like westerns? Drop that person on a horse. Love porn? Give him a threesome.
But take a horror fanatic and chase them with a chainsaw wielding clown, or strap them to a slab and cut parts off their body? Probably not gonna be an enthusiast any more.
For only in horror could it be argued that the majority of those who love it, do so in the hope of never touching it. Much like the greyhound who catches the rabbit, it’ll ruin them.
And so, we come to the meta-meta film Fake Blood.
It is a “documentary” made by real life film-makers Rob Grant (no Red Dwarf fans, not that Rob Grant) and Mike Kovac.
Despite the no-small-achievement of making 2 feature films, both still have day-to-day lives (one as a jobbing actor, the other as a freelance editor) and off the bat you get a sense that this is a sore point for Rob (the film’s narrator) who is very much hungry for wider recognition.
That’s when they get emailed a fan video where said fans walk through a hardware store re-enacting a scene from Mon Ami.
The scene itself is fairly innocuous, but the fans’ take on it is disturbing. So much so it starts Rob and Mike on a quest to explore violence in films and their responsibility (as film makers) to it.
It begins as an almost fun investigation as they use real people to help them shoot actual guns and fight trained martial artists; all in a quest to discover first hand their “differences” to their movie counterparts.
Then the opportunity presents itself to interview someone who seems to have first hand knowledge in killing people…
The film then unfolds at a decent clip as the two men get drawn into a criminal underworld where people disappear. BADLY. Which gives everything a level of gritty realism very much outside their previous forays into zombie horror and black comedy violence.
As a film – despite their best P.R. attempts to neither “confirm or deny” the events in it – Fake Blood is clearly a mockumentary. Ie: Blair Witch without the witch, found footage where the coverage becomes conventional where it needs to be.
And despite the fact it tries to pass off certain elements of the film as “real” (which almost NEVER works, as real life is never “cinema clean” – especially when you’re presenting your work as a true verite experience. The biggest giveaway tends to be in the performance. Another is HOW things are captured by the camera – but this is all stuff for another review) the really interesting aspect to Fake Blood is its constant jumping out of itself.
It portrays the 2 film-makers interviewing “real” people who have lived through “true” horror, then cuts to re-enactments of those horrific moments, then cuts to the men SHOOTING those re-enactments, and then have them interview the people in the re-enactments!
Both Rob and Mike eventually come into conflict (the heart of all good drama) as Rob’s ambition to make an attention-grabbing film starts to betray its original idea. Something that’s all super meta because despite being dressed as a documentary, the film is clearly a written drama from the outset.
And on top of all THAT, you do want to see how it ends. So from that point of view they have both made a good film that, at the very least, will make you think. And that’s as real as any film-maker could hope for.
As dramas go, it’s a solid fake. As documentaries go, it’s a poor imitation of the real thing.
– Antony Yee
Catch the screening of Fake Blood at the MidWest WierdFest.
You can already purchase discounted day or full festival passes to the 2018 festival here, through the festival’s ticketing partner site FilmFreeway. (Tickets to individual films will be available closer to the festival, directly via the website of the Micon Budget Downtown Cinema). Go on. Get weird!