Blog Posts

Blog Posts

School of Fear


First off, I feel like I should quickly introduce myself, so you know who the hell I am and why FEARnet has been so gracious as to dedicate bandwidth to my often lunatic ramblings.

As a horror filmmaker, my interest in the darker side of the human experience started early... like really early. I was raised in a 160 year-old colonial home in Hudson, Ohio. It was known as the town's most haunted house and had been mysteriously abandoned for an entire generation when my parents moved in and fixed it up, before I was born. There were creaky old servants' quarters with a weird miniature back stairwell. the sounds of tiny bells and babies crying would emanate from the attic. And the basement, god damn that basement... There was a well in it that plunged 50 feet into the inky unknown. Don't get me started on all the nightmares surrounding that abomination.

Combine that environment with a steady diet of my older brother's Fangoria, Creepy and Eerie Magazines, Weird Tales, and the occasional college art book on Dali or Bosch - washed down with a healthy dose of local horror TV hosts every Friday - and what you get is a dark dreamer of all things sinister and fantastic. Something just happens to a kid who reads H.P. Lovecraft when he's 7...

Some of you already know me for my short films with Daywalt Fear Factory as well as my work with the horror troupe, FEWDIO, which has become the recent belle of the ball of online horror, with the success of the Nightmare House anthology of short films produced specifically for the web and mobile device crowd, i.e. the "you-can-scare-me,-but-I'm-late-for-class-and-I'm-gonna-have-to-watch-it-on-my-iPhone" audience.

Believe me, at the time I started creating horror shorts, there were busloads of naysayers telling me that:

a) the web was the home of comedy shorts, not horror shorts,


B) that no one can produce something frightening in short form.


The first tales of terror were...short.

The earliest horror tales were ghost stories. Every culture has them. And they go back to the elders, shamen, priests and witchdoctors who told them around primeval campfires. Stories that thrilled, terrified, inspired, and more often than not, controlled generations of peoples from the dawn of time. They weren't epics. Those first tales of terror were short - not 10-parters, not restricted to 90 minutes and a box of popcorn.

My journey into online horror has really been the exploration of a hypothesis: can I scare you in less than 90 minutes? Can I scare you in less than 10? I can't answer those questions. You'll have to. Either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Anyway, that's pretty much who I am and that's my point of view. Here on the School of Fear, I wanna talk to you guys about the anatomy of "building the scare" in film (I had to learn it fast since my films were almost all under 6 minutes in length, so I studied the masters),  the history of scary shit, the reason we all have collective nightmares, and why some of us thrive on revisiting them.

Catch you next week, and remember, "Gaudium per Atrox."