In part two (part one can be found here) of our chat with horror fanatic and heavy metal legend Phil Anselmo, the frontman tells us what he thinks makes a good horror movie and talks more about his long-awaited book.
Like you said, you’re a massive lover of the horror genre. In your opinion, what makes a good horror movie?
Phil: Fuck, that’s a good question. In my opinion, it’s not about the gore, although that does have its place. It’s about the atmosphere and the character development. All of these bullshit new Hollywood remakes don’t give two fucks about the character and if they make one more remake where a group of teenagers go off into a forest and get brutally murdered, I think I’m going to fuckin’ puke. It’s a boring motherfucking scenario.
What do you look for in a horror movie these days?
Phil: Well, as far as scares go, I’m not a big fan of the loud noise stuff or the found footage movies. Blair Witch Project was a catalyst for that whole genre and that was the biggest piece of shit put down. Not only that, it was a rip off the original found footage movie, Cannibal Holocaust. Blair Witch fucking sucked. I’ve also been through my gore phase. I exhausted that when I was a teenager. Don’t get me wrong, gore is great when done correctly, it can be a really nifty thing to latch onto but it’s been done to death.
Another thing that really bugs the shit out of me while we’re on the subject, and I’m guessing you’ve got this show in the UK, The Walking Dead or The Talking Dead as I call it. It’s just a big fuckin’ boring soap opera. There is this big soap opera storyline then they throw in a clever zombie attack. Sure, the zombies look great but the audiences these days are desensitized to all the gore. It’s just gore for the sake of being gory these days. You have to look back to the classics like House By The Cemetery, that is a film with a fantastic fuckin’ air that pushes the fuckin’ limits. That’s what it’s about and that is what you get in the old, obscure movies. Movies like House With The Laughing Windows. Yes, it was a beautifully made film but, within that, it’s had this amazing brutality.
Check out the song “Witchtripper”
You mentioned earlier about people becoming desensitized. Taking, for example, the Boston bombings earlier this month. Do you think because actual, real-life footage is so readily available within minutes that people have become desensitized to what is essential a fake horror in movies?
Phil: It depends on the movie but you are correct to a certain degree. There is all the footage of actual human atrocities on YouTube and all over the internet that anyone can pull up and we’re talking about some real graphic shit so it’s going to be hard for a film with prosthetic effects to have the same impact, but it depends on the film like I said. Some of the movies out there still have that shock factor like Human Centipede where the concept is just fucking sick.
I think a lot of it depends on your mindset going into the film. A lot of times a film has been super-hyped and everyone is saying to me that I have to go and see it. So I do and it’s like what the fuck, it has no affect on me. Films like Blair Witch Project or Insidious. I was told they were great films so I went to see them and within the first ten or fifteen minutes I was either bored or super-pissed off. Usually the movies that leave the most impact are the ones where you go in to see them with no expectations whatsoever.
An example of that is House Of The Devil because of how it was shot. It was like Friday the 13th I, II and III although I’d say more with the styling of I and II. It had an oddball ending and really saw the people who worked on it pushing the envelope.
For the Housecore Horrorfest, you’ve requested submissions from writers and directors. How has the response been?
Phil: We’ve received so many submissions, it has been incredible. It makes me proud that there are so many directors who are still passionate about the genre and are trying to bring back original story-writing. They’re not doing cut n’ paste, bullshit films, they’re being creative whether it is a full-length film, a mid-length film or a ten to fifteen minute short – it doesn’t matter as long as it leaves an impact. There is some good shit out there.
Okay, onto your long-awaited book. Let’s talk about that…
Phil: The book, okay, it’s tough. You know what though, I’m not the first to make mistakes but this book is basically me telling the absolute truth about how low I got within my private life. About how I was in some much chronic pain which is something I would wish on nobody. One thing I hope from the book is that, if I tell it 1000% honestly, I hope it scares the fuck out of people who are thinking about using hard drugs. I hope that it might shed some light on people and help people see that through hard, physical rehabilitation you can have a healthier, happier life. I’m hoping that by talking about what I went through and how I went from heavy medication to some medication to minimal to no pain there will be a ray of hope out there that other people can get through it.
At times the low times were really fucking low. They were scary, they were filthy and they were fucking awful but I made it out alive and it’s has been eight years since I’ve touched any hard drug.
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By putting it in a book, do you find the process of talking about the low parts of your life easier rather than doing an interview for a magazine where you could be misquoted by a journalist looking for the sensationalist headlines?
Phil: Listen, motherfuckers have been misquoting me all my life in interviews and in the press just to make a headline or two. They take one sentence and twist it into something that is nowhere near the fuckin’ truth just for magazine sales or blog hits or whatever the fuck it is for. The thing with doing an interview and someone reading it is that you can never observe how something was said, how the person was reacting emotionally so people just take things for what they are whether they are reading something that has been misquoted or not.
I’m comfortable about talking about the low times and the things that happened because, you know what, I’m not the first to make a mistake so I’m happy to let these bloggers or people who talk chicken shit in the comments section of websites to carry on doing that because I can tell you this for a fuckin’ fact, they won’t say it to my fuckin’ face, they’ll be too busy kissing my ass!
As someone who has been through the good times and the bad times, would you ever considering going out doing a one-man Q&A show similar to what Scott Ian is doing at the moment? There are fans all over the world who would have some interesting questions to ask you…
Phil: You know I’ve never really thought about it but it would depend on the structure of the gig. Maybe if it was like Q&A or Storytime with Phil Anselmo then, yeah, I’d be up for that. I tell you something though, I’m a real funny motherfucker and friends have told me I should be miked up all the time although I have to say that I’m really un-PC and a lot of the time people just don’t laugh at my jokes. It’s who I am though and the people who know me, my friends, the people at the label, my woman, the guys in Down, they all know that I’m a full-of-shit goof.
On the other hand, I’m running a business so, no matter how hard it is, if I’m say working with a band and I tell them something really hard or difficult, then they take it 100% seriously. I know bands are sensitive about their art but they know where I’m coming from. I’m a humble motherfucker with an ego, but if you can’t laugh at yourself then that’s not good. Over the years too there have been so many negative influences like back in the Pantera days where you’d be living in close quarters with each other and things got a bit nasty and you’d end up very quickly scowling at everyone which set the tone for the day. Now it’s much better to go into the venue and meet everyone, shake people’s hands, you know, be nice to people. Let me tell you. I’m forty five on June 30th and I’ve learned that I’d much rather make friends these days.