We talk with Jessie Seitz and Marcus Koch about their upcoming documentary “Beyond Horror” — exploring the history and impact of extreme horror films.
I am most certainly a fan of extreme horror, so when I learned filmmakers Jessie Seitz (Devotion) and Marcus Koch (AGP: Bloodshock) were teaming up to create a new documentary highlighting this provocative sub-genre, I became very interested. The two have worked on countless indie productions in capacities ranging from fx artist, director and writer. Koch and Seitz both share an affinity for blood, guts and the type of films many would shy away from, making this almost an inevitable and exciting collaboration.
They definitely stayed within their wheelhouse on this one, and I couldn’t be happier. A few months ago, the pair introduced their brand spanking new documentary production company, 93/93 Pictures, and this project, entitled Beyond Horror: The History And Sub-Culture Of Red Films, will be their passionate documentary debut. I was fortunate enough to ask the two some questions about this project and what us extreme horror fans can expect.
INTERVIEW WITH MARCUS KOCH AND JESSIE SEITZ
1. When was the deal sealed between you two, to commit to this project?
Jessie: We had been wanting to collaborate on something together for awhile and started bouncing ideas off each other. We’re the type of people who love researching things just for fun and have a slight obsession with strange history books and documentaries. We also both have a strong background in underground cinema and got to thinking about how there really hasn’t been a history of extreme cinema ever produced. That inspired us to create our own documentary.
Marcus: We both travel extensively for work on underground and independent films, and are always around other filmmakers also involved in the underground horror scene, so it seemed a natural progression to do a documentary as we go. To my knowledge, no one has ever delved into extreme cinema. There are definitely a few great documentaries on indie cinema, but nothing that really digs deep into the most extreme films, the RED Films.
2. How did you select the name for your production company, 93 / 93 Pictures? Is there a significance to it?
Marcus: There actually is a significance to it. It is a philosophy, of which both Jessie and I share. Those who know understand it. Not to be too cryptic, but I think that’s what we liked about it.
3. What is it about extreme and exploitation cinema that makes it so appealing to you?
Jessie: Both extreme and exploitation cinema are very near to my heart because a large majority of these films helped me to deal with trauma I had experienced in the past. I think there’s this weird tendency with traditional narrative films (some horror included in this) to gloss over hard issues like sexual and mental abuse. Extreme cinema can act as a breath of fresh air because it is actually being honest with the audience and provides a way to really confront some shit within yourself. As over the top as it might sound, I think you should actually feel something when you take in an artistic medium. Feeling ugly and scary emotions isn’t a bad thing if it is coming from a place of truth.
Marcus: I’ve always gravitated towards the gorier side of horror. Growing up watching slashers and body horror was what led me to become a special effects artist, once I learned you can actually do that as a real occupation. I wanted to learn the FX side of things — how to make the blood the guts and the gore, and how to make things look as real and disgusting as possible (most times on a non existent budget). So for me, I was always seeking out horror with insane amounts of graphic FX work to see what could top the last thing I saw. It’s like roller coasters, you’re always looking for the bigger scarier ride to go on.
4. What do you both hope to accomplish with this documentary? What are some of the questions and topics you wish to explore?
Marcus: It’s a very broad road that predates film, but we are aiming more at the fascination of violence throughout history. Why do we, as a human race, tend to be drawn to awful tragic sit