Haunters: The Art of the Scare from Jon Schnitzer dwells into the art of the macabre and the love of a good haunted attraction. An 88-minute documentary that is highly entertaining and gives you a glimpse into the world of haunts and the passion and dedication of the people behind them. This comprehensive documentary is equal parts spooky, heartwarming and engaging. By the time the credits roll you’ll certainly want to race to your local haunt and go through the whirlwind of emotions that they bring to the table.
This Halloween documentary is heavily focused on three people. Firstly we have scare actor Shar Mayer, a legend in the haunt business. Next we have haunted maze designer Donald Julson and finally, the man that the documentary focuses on the most (with good reason) is controversial extreme haunt creator Russ McKamey. Russ runs McKamey Manor one of the deadliest and most extreme haunts on the planet that fades the line between morals and willing participation. All three of these characters bring their own personalities to the forefront with Shar being very heartfelt and passionate about the work she does, Donald is the man that wishes Halloween occurred every day of the year and finally Russ who loves pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and rather enjoys watching his victims suffer their own real-life horror movie. Aside from our central characters we have supporting interviews from Jason Blum, the Soska Sisters and other members of the horror community to bring a wider horror fans perspective opinion to the world of haunts.
I do feel as thou this documentary took the right path by focusing on Russ McKamey and McKamey Manor as it’s core subject. His haunt is certainly the most interesting in terms of its story, origins and its controversy will always make for intriguing viewing. Russ is interesting to watch and comes across naturally on-screen. Whilst I loved Shar and her passion for the work she loves to do I don’t feel as thou Haunters would have had the same impact if she was the core subject. The same goes for Donald and his wife as their focus was mainly on how their haunts have put a strain on their marriage. Not the best of stories to be portraying in a documentary such as this. The documentary should be displaying how haunts and horror bring people together rather than driving a huge sand wedge between people.
I would have loved this documentary more if we had more public perspective and opinion on haunts. More reactions, walkthroughs and focus on Universal’s famous haunts would have made me love this documentary even more. Universal make sets to die for and having backstage access or lights on walkthroughs and interviews from the people behind them would have been an interesting angle to add to the wonderful content on offer here.
Highly entertaining and a documentary that re-enforces the love and passion that the horror community possesses. Haunters: The Art of the Scare is certainly in the top tier of horror documentaries that I’ve seen.
A job well done.