Interview With George Schmalz: Sundance Now Halloween Collection Curator


I love horror movies year round but there is something about the Halloween season that makes me want to watch them more. Also as a fan of horror films, it is sometimes difficult to find something new and unique. I was happy to discover that Sundance Now has a curated Halloween collection! I interviewed content curator George Schmalz about this spooktacular collection of independent and international horror films.

 

What is the advantage to having a curated movie selection on a movie viewing platform?

I think curated collections help easily surface similar-minded films and series. A viewer might know s/he is looking for something creepy or scary, but might not know what exactly. Rather than browsing endlessly in a larger genre section, we’re presenting a selection of films we think they might like, with several different sub-sections of genre films / series within the collection.

The collection helps put the content in an easy context (i.e. films / series found in the Halloween Treats collection are likely scary, or have some other thematic tie to the Halloween season), so if you’re taking a chance on something you’ve never heard of you have a base understanding of what you’re getting into before you press play. Hopefully along the way a viewer discovers something new that excites them and makes them want to share with friends.

How was the name for the collection chosen? It is a fun play on words.

Ha! I’m so happy you asked this question. Sadly, I’m not that clever. I borrowed the phrase from a Disney Halloween special that played every October throughout my childhood – a compilation of creepy Disney cartoons and scenes from their films called “Disney’s Halloween Treat.” The special and its theme song has really imprinted itself on my brain.

halloweendisney

What made you choose these particular titles?

When creating the collection I was thinking in two very broad terms – “Halloween” and something that someone can curl up on the couch with a loved one and get lost in the storytelling. As such we have some great slow dread, serial killer inspired series to offer within the collection – Rillington Place, Public Enemy, the Red Riding trilogy; along with some exhaustive docs on genre legends – Crystal Lake Memories, Never Sleep Again. All of this is rounded out by some personal favorites.

neversleep

Which is your favorite in the Halloween Treats Collection?

My personal favorite in the collection is The Violence Movie. It’s a shot on VHS short from 1988. Made on a rented camcorder, with a barebones script written on borrowed stationary by some then high school age kids. It’s essentially a 15-minute long chase scene / slasher movie. Really fun. You can see the love of the genre and film in general coming through onscreen. I’m a big fan of scrappy DIY filmmaking and this is exactly that. I’d also like to mention the Red Riding trilogy – a 3-film series chronicling a decade in the investigation of the Yorkshire Ripper case in the UK. This is a set of films I feel is very underrated, and is worth rediscovery.

violencemovie

redriding

What do you hope people take away from the collection?

I hope our viewers find something new here, that they adore and want to share. We have some great films and series in the collection that I feel have been underseen – and feel the audience is there for them, they just need to be discovered.

sundance-now

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