Field of Screams is a new slasher film — albeit a short one — that painstakingly recreates the look and feel of a low-budget 1980s slasher film from the horror sub-genre’s golden age.
The slasher film in its most popular form began with 1974’s Black Christmas before growing more popular with Halloween (1978) and taking off with 1980’s classic Friday the 13th.
While the first two are largely bloodless (and better reviewed), it was Friday the 13th that spawned imitator after imitator. Some of those copies were classics in their own right, while others were cheesy but had a sense of infectious fun about them.
Field of Screams falls into Camp Cheesy.
While many filmmakers try to recreate the ’80s slasher formula each year, few are able to reproduce the same production quality and narrative look that was authentic to that genre.
Chris Bahr and Joe La Scola, the team behind Field of Screams, are the exception.
Their film, created as a proof-of-concept trailer according to horror news site Fangoria, has feature film status next in its sights, and it looks like the pair have the vision to pull it off.
As digital technologies come to dominate the movie watching landscape, it is refreshing to see filmmakers break from the razor-sharp precision of high-def to churn something like this out.
As it turns out, Field of Screams, if successful, will not be the first time that a modern filmmaker has taken a classic approach to this sub-genre.
One particularly noteworthy endeavor is the 2012 throwback The Sleeper from director Justin Russell.
Set in 1981 around a sorority house, Russell’s film played the mad stalker formula so well and recaptured the VHS look and feel from that era so well that it could have easily passed as a contemporary of films like He Knows You’re Alone or Terror Train.
With Field of Screams, Bahr and La Scola are following that same style, but they’re also adding in another popular trope of the 1980s slasher movies — the gimmick killer.
In their film, the maniac appears to be a murderous umpire out for revenge. The kills would have been gruesome for the time period they are lampooning, but here they have more of a harmless nostalgic feel. It’s unclear if that will be the case when the finished product hits theaters or, more likely, video on demand services.
Here’s a look for any of you curious about what a new old movie looks like. (By the way, both trailers here are NSFW.)
For any parties who want to track the development of Field of Screams, you can keep up with it on its Facebook page.
What is not clear at this time are the mechanisms these filmmakers will be using to bring their finished feature to fruition.
By nature, horror movies of this ilk are not difficult to fund as they are often done on micro budgets, and with the Fangoria exposure, an IndieGogo effort seems like a viable path (as opposed to Kickstarter, which requires you to meet your funding target before seeing any dollars).
That said, one of the most popular faux trailers of all time for this particular sub-genre is Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving which has been long rumored for the feature film treatment.
Like Field of Screams, Thanksgiving used a gimmick killer set around the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a fan favorite on the theatrical screening of the Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse double feature, and one would think that with that pedigree behind it, it would have been easy to see a feature-length version by now. Not the case.
What about you, slasher movie fans? Would you like to see Field of Screams in theaters or your favorite streaming platform soon? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Field of Screams Facebook]