Fangoria Presents: A Discussion with Contemporary Horror Filmmakers at L.A. Comic-Con 2023

Author: Travis Hayward

The 2023 Los Angeles Comic-Con played host to a spine-chilling and enlightening event that left horror enthusiasts buzzing with excitement. The Fangoria: A Discussion with Contemporary Horror Filmmakers panel, hosted by Fangoria Editor Angel Melanson, brought together a stellar lineup of acclaimed directors and writers, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of modern horror cinema. The panel featured the likes of Brea Grant, Danny Philippou, Rebekah McKendry, Armen Aghaeian, Rob Savage, and Tyler MacIntyre, each contributing their unique perspectives and experiences in the genre.

Fangoria, a name synonymous with horror culture, curated a diverse panel that showcased the multifaceted nature of contemporary horror filmmaking. Angel Melanson expertly guided the discussion, allowing each panelist to delve into their creative processes, inspirations, and the challenges they’ve faced in bringing their terrifying visions to life.

Brea Grant, known for her work as a writer and director of films like “Best Friends Forever” and “12 Hour Shift,” shared insights into her approach to storytelling and the exploration of complex characters within the horror genre. Her ability to blend horror with other genres adds a unique flavor to her work, appealing to a broader audience. 

Danny Philippou, the director of “Talk to Me,” brought a fresh perspective to the panel. His background in online content creation and his success in transitioning to narrative filmmaking demonstrated the evolving landscape of horror storytelling in the digital age.

Rebekah McKendry, director of “Tales of Halloween” and “All the Creatures Were Stirring,” provided valuable insights into the challenges of anthological horror and the art of crafting short stories within the broader narrative framework. Her contributions shed light on the nuances of weaving together a cohesive and compelling anthology.

Armen Aghaeian, a seasoned producer with credits including “Tragedy Girls,” discussed the importance of collaboration and the role of producers in bringing horror projects to fruition. Aghaeian’s perspective offered a glimpse into the business side of horror filmmaking, highlighting the delicate balance between artistic vision and commercial viability.

Rob Savage, renowned for directing the groundbreaking horror film “Host,” shared his experiences in creating a film entirely shot over Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges of remote collaboration and the unique opportunities presented by the constraints of the pandemic added a fascinating layer to the discussion. He stated that he had been offered millions of dollars from major studios based on the concept alone, but that they wanted to film it more traditionally as a big budget piece and have it release in 2022. Savage wanted the film to go out immediately while everyone was still trapped inside under lockdown and Shudder had agreed to pick it up and release it as soon as they were finished. The cast oversaw their own cameras, sound, makeup, lighting, and stunts, with Savage directing them remotely from his own home over Zoom. The film ended up earning $443,807 against a budget of $100,000.

Tyler MacIntyre, co-writer of “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and director of “It’s a Wonderful Knife” on Shudder, contributed his expertise on adapting popular horror franchises and the delicate art of injecting humor into the macabre. MacIntyre’s work exemplifies the genre’s capacity for blending horror and comedy to create a truly engaging experience. This sparked a discussion on how nothing will scare a studio more than pitching a horror comedy. One much pitch their script as “horror with humor”.

The Fangoria panel at the 2023 Los Angeles Comic-Con succeeded in offering fans and aspiring filmmakers a captivating exploration of the contemporary horror landscape. The diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise shared by these contemporary filmmakers highlighted the genre’s evolution and its ability to resonate with audiences in new and unexpected ways. As Fangoria continues to be a vital force in horror culture, events like these provide a platform for both seasoned professionals and emerging talents to connect, inspire, and usher in a new era of fear-inducing storytelling.

Are you a horror film buff or an aspiring filmmaker? Join the conversation sparked by the Fangoria panel at L.A. Comic-Con 2023! Share your insights, inspirations, and what you’ve learned about the horror genre from these contemporary masters. Use #FangoriaLAComicCon to connect with fellow horror enthusiasts and filmmakers. Let’s keep the spirit of innovation and spine-tingling storytelling alive in the horror community. What are your favorite horror films, and how have they influenced your perspective on the genre? Let’s discuss!

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