Americans love a good scare at Halloween and nothing quite does it like a haunted house.
Almost unique to this country, haunted houses carefully ride the line between tacky and brilliant. However, as always, there’s so much more to the story than meets the eye.
HAUNTERS is perhaps the most comprehensive documentary anyone’s ever going to need on the subject. Starting with the history of haunted houses, the film travels the entire gamut, including their inception, their evolution and even their future. Rather than deliver a dull history lesson, each clever development is illustrated by an enlightening array of interviews with some of the most fascinating people within this niche industry.
Haunters create and build houses which are, in turn, smart, scary and controversial; they act out the roles of the monsters sometimes as relief and sometimes as escape, building an atmosphere that resides between the realms of fun and fear for the people who visit year after year. The film also touches on the psychology of fear: why we crave it, how we avoid it and how these sideshow attractions fit into the overall picture.
A joy to watch from start to finish, HAUNTERS is a rare example of a documentary that not only boasts an interesting subject matter but has unique characters to tell the story. From the dedication of Shar Mayer to the controversial figure of Russ McKamey, HAUNTERS is packed to the gills with fascinating characters who offer unique insights into this rarely-explored world.
Jon Schnitzer has an uncanny eye for capturing interesting interviewees and stories that both amuse and engage. Whether you’re a haunted house fan or someone with zero knowledge, HAUNTERS lays the groundwork for you to be 100% hooked by the time the credits roll. Who knows—it may inspire you to visit some haunted houses this October. (Evrim Ersoy – Fantastic Fest)
West Coast Premiere
Director: Jon Schnitzer
Country: United States
Runtime: 88 minutes
Donald, Jaimie & Daniel Julson, Shar Mayer, John Murdy and composers Jonathan Snipes, Neil Baldock & Alexander Burke in Person
Free Screening in the Shudder Theatre @Egyptian
Shudder Theatre @Egyptian