Long Island based filmmaker Chris Garetano is known to many horror fans as the founding editor and driving force behind ARE YOU GOING?
( -- a zine focusing on all things relating to Indie Horror filmmaking. He’s also made several film shorts -- one of which (INSIDE) was featured in the 2004 Fangoria Blood Drive series.

Chris’ latest project though may well be his crowning achievement. It’s a fascinating documentary called HORROR BUSINESS. The movie covers the careers of five up-and-coming horror-movie loving directors – Mark Borchardt (‘Coven’), Ron Atkins (‘Necromaniac’), Dave Stagnari (‘Catharsis’), John Gora (‘Chirpy’), and Brian Singleton. It’s a fascinating look behind the filmmakers and what drives them (and us) in this ongoing, crazy, and unshakable love of the genre.

Watching this documentary it’s also clear that the man at the helm of the HORROR BUSINESS has an equally deep and compelling love of horror. So it was time to turn the tables on the interviewer and ask a few questions for this exclusive interview.


Chris, can you start us off with a visual and describe the room where you are answering these questions?  

The room is a clutter of many years of inspiration. The walls are papered in movie posters, pictures and memorabilia, and there are various oracles and trinkets that I picked up along the way. There are some unique things like Mexican "Day of the Dead" statues and a tortoise named Spanky that peers out at me from his glass jail cell. I contemplate renaming him OLDBOY after seeing that wonderful film from Korea. There's my workstation (computer and editing equipment). There's also a wall of shelves loaded with books and movies and other shit. I remember seeing Ray Bradbury's office on a television program where he wrote his stories and it seemed like this wonderful junkyard of textures. I suspect that's what I'm trying to achieve because within all the clutter you can choose an item as the basis for a movie. That item can spark the brain for a great story. At least that's what Bradbury did and it seemed to work for him. Who knows? Maybe I'm just making elaborate excuses for being messy.

First off let's discuss your documentary “Horror Business.” This film chronicles 5 indie horror film directors, who operate more from passion than from a business perspective. Is that the reason for “Horror Business” as the title as opposed to “The Horror Business”?

"Horror Business," it's an absolute struggle through and through. I'm referring to the horror of filmmaking and the long laborious process of making it work with very little money and support. Any true independent filmmaker will tell you the same... For the first time in cinematic history there's an entire generation of filmmakers who struggle to make films from their homes. Post-production studios are rapidly becoming a thing of the past and we're going to see many films come from out of nowhere. I believe this is happening more than ever before. “Horror Business” marks this very important place in the annals of cinema history.

What do you want your audience to come away from this movie feeling?

My main point was to de-glamorize the idea of becoming a filmmaker and to expose the current state of the art for what it really is. Let's drop the bullshit and take a look at what we're really dealing with here because this is a story of mice and the gods who inspired them. I want the audience to understand these people a little better because as of right now society looks down on the truly independent filmmaker... And there are usually two types (of filmmakers) you'll come across. One is the type that doesn't really care about cinema.   He decided yesterday that it would be "cool" to make a film and "get a girlfriend" and then he proceeds to crank out the worst banality imaginable. The other is a struggling artist that's serious as hell about his craft and probably spent his whole life sacrificing and trying to find success as a filmmaker. This one will either become a god or get caught in the mousetrap.

Was there a quote or moment in the film that summed up the entire indie horror movement for you?

Sure, it's the quote from Orson Welles that's at the opening of the film. Welles said: "It's two percent movie making and ninety-eight percent hustling, and it's no way to spend a life."He said this as a caution: Filmmaking is an uncertain profession. It's a dark highway. Even if you're a graduate with top honors from the most prestigious film school in the world, that degree cannot assure you a profession. It doesn't guarantee that you're going to be a filmmaker… you just have to do it, and keep doing it until your dead.

Was editing what I imagine to be a lot of footage a daunting chore?

I love the editing process... I love the shooting process, the writing and directing... The daunting part for me was dealing with minimal equipment and limited time, which again is another one of the pitfalls of making a film with very little money. The editing process was very slow because the computer is slow. With a little more money that problem can be solved. I truly adore the entire creation process. However there were times that were difficult because I was working with 75 hours of footage, and every second is different from the last. The 75 hours were eventually cut down to 82 minutes. There's no guideline (screenplay, storyboards) to follow for this type of filmmaking so essentially I was creating something from scratch.

So talking to these five guys as well as others along the way did you see some sort of psychological common denominator or something? Something that seems to draw people to a love of horror?

Yes, and the common denominator is youth. They all seem to have been obsessed with horror films and cinema in their youth. That obsession is so strong that it carried on throughout their teens and their twenties and before they knew it, they were thirty-years-old and trying to break into the most competitive field in the world. It's an addiction and it can ruin lives... It can also create legends.

Tell me a bit about how your short film “Inside” which was featured in the first Fangoria Blood Drive DVD.

Inside” is an eight-minute short about possession and suicide... I've experienced the horrible effects of suicide in my life and I felt like saying something about that... I've always been fascinated by that moment that occurs for a person where all becomes clear for them that suicide is OK. I see that as a form of possession. I made “Inside” specifically for the first Fangoria Blood Drive contest. I shot it in three days and edited the film in a few more.... I think the budget was just the cost of the lights and the make-up. I like how it turned out....

In addition to filmmaking you're also the guiding force behind the indie horror zine “Are You Going?” How did that project come about?

“Are You Going?” partially began as a promotional piece for my film project of the same name. The film (Are You Going?) is a gritty revenge horror story about a single African American father whose son is murdered by a group of racist skinheads and in a blood red act of vengeance; he takes on the persona of his son's favorite superhero "Sgt. Silence.” He then proceeds to brutally murder the skinheads one by one. It was a script that I first began to write about seven years ago. Then I rewrote it again two years later. The magazine eventually became a true obsession and I continued to publish five additional issues. I wanted to publish a magazine where respected persons in the industry wrote articles about their craft every issue. It would be geared mostly toward the independent horror filmmaker. It would be informative, educational and entertaining... I'll bring the mag back one day and make it exactly how I envisioned it. I also plan to make AYG the movie one day but the script needs to be reworked again. I'll probably rename it "Sgt. Silence.”

Was “Horror Business” the natural continuation of an interest that was sparked from that magazine project?

Yes, it was. And after film school I quickly began to realize that filmmaking for a living wasn't going to be easy, and that was the concept that fueled the idea for the documentary. “Horror Business” is a very personal essay on how I feel about breaking into the professional filmmaking world. The magazine was a precursor to my film.

Do you have any other upcoming projects you would like to plug or inform the readers about?

Yes, actually I'm working on getting several projects into motion. A couple of new feature length documentaries (which I've already shot a ton of footage for) include “Son of Horror Business” and “The Horror of Dante Tomaselli” as well as a fictional film titled “Misfortunate Son.” “Misfortunate Son” is a very unique horror-drama about a U.S. Marine combat vet who comes home from his station in Africa and begins to lose his grip on sanity and reality... Eventually he turns a quiet, peaceful suburban neighborhood into a bloodbath. Edwin Neal (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) who is an incredible actor is slated to play Blake, a Vietnam vet who provokes the main character "Johnny" into a rage of violence and murder. I'm in the pre-production/casting stages right now.

I imagine you always had a passion for horror movies. Was it always in the same capacity? In other words, did you always want to be the one in control, the one in the director's chair?

Yes, since I understood what movie making was, I wanted to make my own...

As a horror fan do you have a favorite sub-genre? What does it for you Christopher and why- vampires, haunted houses, zombies, psychos, werewolves, aliens, creatures, ghosts, witches...?

As long as it's done right… If it's thoughtful and it considers that there may be an intelligent audience watching, I think any film regarding any topic can be good. I hate horror films that insult the audience... I think “Freddy vs. Jason” is a great example and no offense to the make-up crew or Fred Murphy, the Director of Photography. Seeing that film made me want to light the screen on fire and throw shit at it. I still want my money back! Because the filmmakers automatically assume that this movie must be made stupidly because "That's what the audience wants." That's not what I want!! Fuck you! Think about how great that film could be if the people who made it actually took the subject matter seriously. Chan-wook Park (“Oldboy,” “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance”) is a great example of a filmmaker (who makes genre films) and doesn't insult the audience. We need more filmmakers like him.

Now we're pulling the car into the Christopher Garetano Drive-In… What three horror flicks are featured on the triple bill and what goodies are they going to be serving at the concession stand?

Well, the first would be “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”... it is my all time favorite horror film.

Concession stand: Homemade Texas Chili and fine beer

The second would be the original “Blob” with Steve McQueen… great drive-in material.

Concession Stand: Swedish Fish, Gummy bears, and Soda Pop

The third is David Durston's “I Drink your Blood.” It's the perfect crowd pleaser.

Concession Stand: Meat Pies and LSD!!

What makes you go psycho in real life?

Passion. I feel drunk when it's around me. And if you mean what makes me angry, then it's people who have everything and do nothing… and even worse people who have nothing and do nothing.

What scares you in real life?

Losing my mind, going nuts... that's scary as hell.