Indy Film Talk: Hoosier horror 

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The Strand Theatre is on a Hoosier horror streak.

Last month, it screened local director Joshua Hull’s slasher comedy, Chopping Block. And on Friday, April 24, it'll show “a lost slasher film” — Headless.

Shot entirely in Indiana, Headless premiered last month in Bloomington. It was conceived by IU senior Nathan Erdel, who co-founded Gentleman Monster Productions last year with his wife, Kara.


Headless is a spin-off of the 2012 Bloomington production Found. The film’s title refers to a troubled teenager's discovery of a “lost slasher flick from 1978." Viewing the "lost" movie inspires him to go on a killing spree.

Fans of Found wanted to see more of this movie-within-the-movie, especially after it gained notoriety. The Australian Classification Board banned a DVD of the original cut, citing the film's "prolonged and detailed depictions of sexualised violence." (Two minutes of footage were eventually excised to get the film to market.) But Found had plenty of other exposure, winning 18 best picture awards and chosen as an official selection at more than 40 film festivals around the world.  

Found's success and infamy ended up helping fund Headless. The Kickstarter page for Headless raised more than $20,000 from 324 fans. The project attracted several members of the local horror community, many of whom contributed directly to the film by working 14-hour days without upfront pay.



The slasher, set in the '70s, follows a skull-faced killer struggling with inner demons. And it reportedly lives up to the hype.

“It shot me back in time,” said Branden Yates, program manager of the Strand Theatre’s Friday Night Frights series
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Like the ’70s-era horror films to which it pays homage, Headless has “a wild, free-thinking and ambitious approach to things,” Yates said. “It made me feel like a kid again, watching a dusty horror video with friends in my creepy basement.”
 
Yates is trying to cultivate that same sense of nostalgia for moviegoers with Friday Night Frights. He’s pairing Headless in a double feature with Pieces of Talent.

Like Headless, Pieces of Talent also feels like an eerie artifact, following a small-town filmmaker in the style of a video diary as he slays locals and films their murders.

“This is probably the best double feature I have ever concocted in my two years of being Program Manager for Friday Night Frights,” Yates said. “These two films represent the future of horror and are exactly what you need to see to restore your faith in the genre. This is what we look forward to most in our film series. We can almost guarantee you’ll walk out of this one completely satisfied.” 


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