Brett Mullins is one of the most active horror reviewers working today, churning out reviews on his widely popular site Disturbing Films (coincidentally dedicated to disturbing films) on a regular basis. Whether it’s flat-out horror like Insidious or unsettling commentary on the youth of the nation in films like Ken Park, Mullins and his enthusiastic group of reviewers clearly love the art they write about.
About a year ago, I was fortunate enough to join the Disturbing Films team as a contributing reviewer. Brett’s prowess as a reviewer is hard to match and it’s been a pleasure writing for his site.
Currently studying philosophy and economics when he isn’t dissecting cringe-worthy films (for better or worse), Brett was kind enough to chat with me recently.
From Scooby-Doo to Donald Pleasance, this interview touches all bases.
Mangled Matters: Thanks for chatting, Brett. So who do we thank for turning you on to the world of horror?
Brett Mullins: This may come as a bit of a surprise but I attribute my affinity toward the darker side of cinema to Scooby-Doo. The first horror film I can remember in any detail is John Carpenter’s Halloween from AMC’s annual week-long special in October. At ten, I saw my first horror film in theaters: Hannibal. My parents were fairly open to letting me watch whatever as long as it was not overtly sexual in nature. Due to a head injury I sustained around eleven, I cannot tell you much more about the past.
MM: You must be very proud of Disturbing Films. With over 70,000 views to date, the site has been growing immensely ever since Day One. What led you to start up this site?
BM: In early 2011, I began constructing a list of films I wanted to watch but had neglected for some reason. I figured that I might as well voice my opinion on them; thus, Disturbing Films was born. This ever growing list is currently 2289 films long and is only 7% completed thus far.
MM: You also started 5 Corpse Productions around the same time as Disturbing Films. Tell us a little about this company of yours.
BM: 5 Corpse Productions was unofficially started when I was in High School as an outlet for Jackass-esque films, graphic design, and various videography projects. The name fluttered around for a few years as I worked on a few projects under the title. Today, 5 Corpse Productions is a project development company that dabbles in almost everything; it is the umbrella for most of the work I am involved in.
In addition to keeping up with Disturbing Films, 5 Corpse manages Keishi Desu, a musician about to release their first EP, publishes articles to Seismologik.com regarding Economics and Philosophy, offers premium graphic design services, and from time to time releases seemingly random video projects, such as Extra-Ordinary Juggling.
In the future, I would like to see 5 Corpse continue to manage its current projects in addition to a few that are presently in the works. These include a food critique website, which is heavily under wraps at the moment, and a number of film projects.
MM: As a horror film reviewer, what are a few of your favorite horror films from the last five years?
BM: I’m going use the term horror quite liberally here. Three films within the past five years have left a lasting impression on me, all for different reasons. I genuinely believe that Black Swan is the best film I’ve ever seen. This film shook me to my core more so than any gorefest or mind game ever has. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon pays homage to the classic slasher franchises while executing an innovative approach and evoking all the emotions created by the classics from a time past. The final film I would like to mention is a little known horror comedy, The Selling. This film is well executed from top to bottom and, in my opinion, is as good as or better than Shaun of the Dead.
MM: How many of those films make your Top 10 Of All-Time?
BM: Those three will certainly populate my Top 10 Films of All-Time list! I can’t comfortably give a ordered list at this time, but I can provide seven more dark films that I found to be quite amazing. Here we go: Rosemary’s Baby, Halloween (1978), Secret Window, Bug (2006), Poltergeist, Evil Dead II, Shaun of the Dead.
MM: Do you have a favorite sub-genre of horror? I’m partial to psychological horror, myself.
BM: Psychological Thrillers have always been my favorite also. With that being said, I am always in the mood for an ‘80s slasher or an over the top monster flick.
MM: If you could sit down and chat with one horror icon, past or present, who would it be and why?
BM: Donald Pleasence would be my first choice. Any man who can make a series of sequels worth watching by hobbling around with a firearm and shouting seemingly crazy things at those who surround him deserves recognition. Without his portrayal of Dr. Loomis, it is fair to say that the Halloween franchise would have likely died out before the ‘90s.
A close second would be Darren Aronofsky, director of Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, and several other mind bending thrillers.
MM: With such a knowledge of horror cinema, have you considered directing your own horror film?
BM: I do have plans to direct a handful of films, though I am not interested in producing typical horror. I would like to produce a full length cheesy monster movie as well as a handful of psychological thriller shorts.
MM: What horror franchise reigns supreme in your mind and why?
BM: The Saw franchise overcomes several heavy hitters to be the most complete horror series ever produced. Though this series is known for its twists and turns, it features an element of finitude that is sparsely present in the horror genre. While the franchise is often ridiculed for releasing all seven films in less than a decade, this will likely not be held against the series in retrospective review.
MM: Which do you prefer- slow moving or fast zombies?
BM: The slower the better! Zombies and Vampires both bite their victims and become too similar when the both move fast. I like to think of ‘the infected’ as a mix between the two archetypal monsters.
MM: Why do you feel horror still gets such an unsavory rap in the film industry these days?
BM: Horror fans love nostalgia and will see any remake or re-imagining of their old school favorites no matter how terrible or made for nothing more than money they look. In addition to this, there’s the borderline softcore porn horror films, such as Girls Gone Dead, that seem to find their way onto the movie channels. The common perception is that horror doesn’t have substance other than boobs and gore. Websites like ours exist to illustrate quite the opposite.
MM: What are your thoughts on remakes?
BM: Generally speaking, I am strongly in favor of re-imaginings, such as Rob Zombie’s Halloween. It’s no fun watching a shot for shot remake that is devoid of any style or character.
MM: What is the best horror remake in your mind?
BM: My intuitive response is Evil Dead II, though that is questionable as to if it is technically a remake. With that being said, John Carpenter’s The Thing tops my list.
MM: Who is your favorite all-time Scream Queen?
BM: Mia Farrow from Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. Without question!
MM: Any last words?
BM: I would like to thank Justin and Mangled Matters for providing a forum for interview like these. Within the past year or so, Justin has been producing excellent work with interviews for Women in Horror month, an ongoing project, and showcasing others in the horror community.
In closing, I’m going to plug an upcoming event at Disturbing Films: Vampire Week 2012. From July 22nd – 28th, this week will bring together several websites and pages in the horror community to publish 20+ film reviews and have some fun while doing it. This year will feature the Mansion of the Macabre, MK Horror, Cinematic Shocks, the Blood Sucking Geek, Reelybored Horror, Maven’s Movie Vault of Horror, Miss Twisted, and Mangled Matter’s own Justin Hamelin.
Thank you all for reading!
I thank Brett for his time and look forward to not only Vampire Week on Disturbing Films, but also many, many more fantastic reviews!