While it may be fair to say that an interest in found-footage horror films might be waning for most horror fans, there is still definitely room within the genre for some quality surprises. There are innovative ways to use the filmmaking style for effective storytelling and as Blumhouse Productions producer Jason Blum told the audience last weekend at WonderCon, The Gallows, the micro-budget horror movie from newcomer writer-directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, due out this summer, could be one such project.
Blum weighed in on his thoughts on found footage in general, saying, “The best found-footage I think, [like] the way Oren [Peli] did Paranormal [Activity], is the crew was two people and he did it totally off the grid and in his own house away from Hollywood, and that’s how these guys made this movie. And that for me, for whatever reason, those movies feel authentic and great and these guys really did the movie totally outside of Hollywood, outside of the system, and now it’s going to become, hopefully a very successful Hollywood movie and I love that. I get a big kick out of that.”
The mega producer continued, explaining, “The funny thing about found-footage is it seems when you watch it that it would be easier to do than a traditionally-shot movie, but it actuality, to make found-footage believable, is much harder because scary found-footage movies are people in jeopardy. People in jeopardy tend not to hold a movie camera, so you can really tell that most scary found-footage movies don’t feel real because you’re just like, I don’t get why they’re filming, and there’s just so many questions that it stops being scary, and these guys really figured out an organic way to scare people with found-footage. It’s very hard. We’ve had some misses, too.”
For Chris Lofing, an up-and-coming filmmaker looking to make his first movie, he and his writing and directing partner Travis Cluff thought they’d be hedging their bets by utilizing the found-footage style but as they quickly learned, the method might have been harder than they thought. “Found-footage always seemed like, Oh, that will be easy. Found-footage! We can do that cheap, we can do that easy–oh man, it is a challenge,” said Lofing.
Cluff explained how the two of them started production on what would later become The Gallows. “We started the process, we really drew it all out. We said, what are we going to do, how are we going to get money, and we got just enough to get a film shot and then to get us in the sights of Jason and some of these other great guys we’ve been working with.”
Lofing told the WonderCon audience, “The Gallows was kind of our first idea for a movie together and we collaborated in making it and as Jason said, we had a clip online and it kind of just took off from there.”
The creation of the film from start to finish was truly a rags to riches story, as Cluff revealed. “Chris edited the movie too, in his-bedroom-slash-our-office and put it together and as we kept going down the line I can’t believe we’re here, I can’t believe we’re talking about a summer release (laughs) with New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. and we’re just, we’re ecstatic to be in this position.”
The Gallows swings into theaters on July 10, 2015.