Of all the projects being hawked at individual tables at the Frontières International Co-Production Market during Montreal’s Fantasia festival, the one with most attention-grabbing setup was Glass Eye Pix’s horror anthology THE MORTUARY COLLECTION. Read on for the visual and verbal details.
Director Ryan Spindell and producer Brent Kunkle of Glass Eye placed the props seen below to visually represent THE MORTUARY COLLECTION, a four-part tale of terror that will mark Spindell’s feature debut after shorts like KIRKSDALE (which impressed this writer at the Tribeca Film Festival back in 2008) and THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM. As opposed to the boundary-busting approach of the likes of the V/H/S movies and THE ABCs OF DEATH, this omnibus will adopt a more classical approach.
“We’re really going for a throwback quality,” Spindell tells Fango. “I grew up on THE TWILIGHT ZONE and TALES FROM THE CRYPT, so we’re trying to embrace that aesthetic of horror, and bring it to new audiences. It’s something that I feel has been absent for a long time. I really miss the films of the ’80s that were slightly heightened, like the Joe Dante movies that took me to another time and place. What we’re doing with this is creating an entire world based around a small town in New England—a slightly elevated, phantasmagorical place where anything can happen. This mortician basically weaves and presents the tapestry of this town through a series of stories, and each story represents a different horror subgenre. So we have an Edgar Allan Poe-esque psychological tale of madness, a ghost story, a monster movie and a twist on the slasher genre.”
Another popular trend in multistory features these days is to have different directors helm each segment, resulting in a variety of styles. Even as it explores those different frightful subjects, THE MORTUARY COLLECTION, Spindell says, will be more cohesive. “There will be an overall approach to unify the movie—a sort of Guillermo del Toro/PAN’S LABYRINTH fairy-tale tone. Within each segment, we will embrace the conventions of those subgenres, but we hope to do them in unique and interesting ways, as opposed to just an on-the-nose take. We’re sort of paying homage to all our favorites, while allowing audiences to understand that this is all one story set in one place.”
He’s certainly hooked up with the right team, as Glass Eye Pix and its president/producer Larry Fessenden have backed genre films set in many different times with many different tones. “I’ve been working within the studio world for a while,” Spindell explains, “and I was taking a lot of meetings and not making a lot of things, so I decided I was going to write a movie for myself as a die-hard horror fan and cinephile. And instead of going the normal Hollywood route with it, I went to Glass Eye, because I knew these guys were making really high-quality products for very low costs, and I love that DIY attitude. They were the first people I went to and they said yes, and we just took it from there.” The concept illustration at the top of the page was created by artist E.M. Gist; you can see more of his MORTUARY COLLECTION work here.
Also at Fantasia, the writers behind John Carpenter’s THE WARD, Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, are seeking backing for their film, SUBCULTURE.
Michael told Fango: “Our story takes place in that world, with encampments underneath New York City full of homeless people. Some urban explorers venture down trying to find an abandoned rail station and stir up a nest of creatures that have long been dormant, and the homeless population has to do battle with them; they’re kind of the last line of defense before these monsters get to the surface.”
“We’ve been saying it would be so cool to have, like, Larry Fessenden, you know what I mean?” Shawn says. “We’d love to get some of these actors we love so much, and have been so strong in the indie world, to come and be in this.”