I was in fourth grade when The Blair Witch Project came out. I begged and begged and begged my Father to let me watch it for weeks on end. The trailers had me caught up in the movie and I hadn’t even seen it yet. Finally, he sat down and watched the VHS version my older sister had bought. After mulling it over with my Mother, he decided I could watch it. The only problem was, I was young and feeble-minded – I believed the trailer a thousand percent. So at the end of the movie, I thought that it was actual footage of actual people with an ACTUAL witch after them. I was scared to sleep for weeks after that. It wasn’t until I made the offhand comment that I thought it was real that my Dad, trying not to piss himself, I’m sure, explained to me that the trailer was a device to make it seem scarier and that in the end, The Blair Witch Project was no more real than Small Soldiers. And from that moment on, I loved what scary movies did to me.
And now, for the UFC introduction (read like Bruce Banner): Stemming from the bowels of film school (laugh away, Tarantino – I’m an editor/colorist) comes the 6’4” juggernaut, a ginger-Norwegian they call Chris Johnson. In a way, he is everything a Macabre Brother should be: freakishly tall, with red hair, a red beard and the gangliness of a 6-month-old Great Dane. But the freak is the better half of the Macabre Brothers (sorry Phil), a Denver native who actually has a professional background in film. As a student of color and editing, Chris seeks to find the meaning in every edit and colorization choice in a film. When edits go awry, the juggernaut gets angry, so let the good times begin!
I was a bizarre little kid, and I blame much of it on a penchant for horror films. My obsession started the summer after fifth grade, when I watched Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining just a few weeks after finishing the novel. (Yep, I was that kid – reading Stephen King when everyone else was content with “Goosebumps.”) Bad idea, 10-year-old me: The film scared the hell out of me, and to make things worse, I’d been to the hotel in Estes Park where King drew inspiration. But even if I hadn’t, the whole experience felt incredibly real – much more so than anything I’d seen to that point. Even today, the film is unnerving.
Anyway, it’s easy to say this as a relatively normal adult, but I’m glad I grew up strange. It fueled a passion for unorthodox films and literature, both of which I’m hopelessly addicted to more than a decade later. My day job as a newspaper journalist in Vail pays the bills – not to mention subsidizes my other obsession, snowboarding – and a project like the Macabre Brothers is a chance to collaborate with fellow film buffs like Chris. Why horror, then? In a way, even awful B-movies tap into the same well of terror and glee I felt that summer, when I willfully scared myself just to know what was at the end of a dark hallway. Some things never change, and I’m sure as hell not going to squelch that curiosity now. As Chris says, let the good times begin.