Haunters: The Art Of The Scare celebrates the love, the passion, the horror, and the fear that drives haunt visionaries to create some of the best, most frightening, and most controversial haunted houses. It’s intelligent, it’s honest, and it’s heartfelt–and it feels like a haunt. Mirroring its subject matter, it doesn’t hold back. It offers unparalleled access into the inner-workings of haunts, giving audiences an unbiased look at the humor, heart, and horror; it’s as much of a human story as it is about the haunted houses.
At the world premiere of Haunters at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, Haunting was given the opportunity to talk to director and producer, Jon Schnitzer, and film the Questions and Answer section following the premier.
“We don’t have any voice over narration, I’m not holding your hand telling you how to feel. What I am trying to do is capture these people as they are.” Schnitzer speaks passionately about his experience filming. To capture the full gambit of emotion, Schnitzer films the vast diversity in the haunt genre. “There are just as many subgenres of Haunts as there is with horror.” Ranging from horror comedies to torture porn, there’s something out there for everyone.
Schnitzer continues to describe how audiences reacted to early cuts of the film. When the controversial and often hated McKamey Manor was excluded from the film, people looked at the fanaticism of haunters and asked, “what is wrong with them?” But by juxtaposing them next to the horrible practices of McKamey, the heart rose to the surface. Audiences were able to fully appreciate the heart and the horror.
He clarifies that he did not include McKamey to glorify them or give them a platform that they don’t have. “Some of his videos have millions of views.” As he described, Schnitzer wants at least one moment where we see each of these people as they truly are—whether they are a home haunt, an immersive horror experience, or an extreme haunt. We can agree or disagree with what they say all we want—but Schnitzer succeeds in giving us genuine moments with the creators of these haunts, forcing us to feel something for them.
That is the true beauty of this film—it captures what it means to be a haunter.
Haunters is currently available for purchase on both Google Play and Amazon and make sure to check out the special features for a fantastic interview with John Murdy–creative director at Halloween Horror Nights, a deeper look at Delusion, a team-up between Jason Blum and Blackout, and a gorgeous exploration of Haunted Overload. The bonus features are only available on DVD, Blu-ray and iTunes.