"Subversive Serbia" was the name of a program at this year's Fantasia festival in Montreal which showcased new and much talked-about titles like The Life and Death of a Porn Gang and the notorious A Serbian Film, together with somewhat older horrors, all coming from a country not known for its genre fare. It was a success, both in terms of audience response (and awards) and in terms of the recognition by the jury and the press. It took the audiences by surprise – and by the throat!
A wave of shocking, transgressive and fascinatingly moving horrors, which some have hyperbolically compared to A Clockwork Orange, originated in what other reporters labeled "an undiscovered country." Well, the time is ripe to reveal new and old Serbian shockers to a larger audience.
That's where the renowned Canadian horror magazine RUE MORGUE enters to fill the gap and provide the belated, yet timely (!) introduction to Serbian horror films. The latest issue #106, which hit the North American stands on November 1st, boasts a large section on Serbian horrors, namely:
1) THE ART OF ATROCITY
This is my brief introduction to the recent real-life horrors which fuelled the new wave of Serbian films, coupled with a very thorough interview with Srdjan Spasojevic, the director of A Serbian Film. This is probably the longest and most thorough interview he's given so far – so brace yourself to hear what he had to say in answer to all these questions:
- One American critic called A Serbian Film – "one of the angriest films I've ever seen". What is the root of that rage?
- How did you get funding for such an extreme film?
- How difficult was it to cast such a movie, particularly the underage actor who plays Milos’ son?
- What’s your attitude towards horror? Although A Serbian Film is not a “pure” example of that genre, that’s the label it gets most often because of its extreme imagery, gore and shocks.
- How did you meet your co-screenwriter, Alexandar Radivojevic, and how did the story develop?
- Why title it A Serbian Film?
- Was the movie inspired by any particular real-life incidents, or is it simply the fallout of growing up during wartime?
- In A Serbian Film there are obvious influences from American, European and perhaps Japanese films. It has been compared to works by filmmakers as different as, say, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Gaspar Noé, Pascal Laugier, Eli Roth, Tobe Hooper and Takashi Miike. What do you think about those, and who are your real influences?
- The movie is riddled with scenes of atrocity; what was the most difficult sequence to shoot?
- Why did you feel that the notorious “newborn porn” scene was necessary?
- Have audiences thus far understood your intentions with the scene?
- Tell us about some of the other problems you’ve run into. Is it true that you had to leave Germany because of the film?
- So, you’ll allow your film to be cut for some releases? What do you think about such demands?
- Do you consider the film dangerous?
- Are you working on another film now, and will it share a similar aesthetic to A Serbian Film? Take a similar approach?
The intro + the interview occupy stunning 4,5 blood-drenched pages of the mag!
2) PAIN AND PERVERSION IN THE BALKANS
This is my review of The Life and Death of a Porn Gang laced with snippets of interview with its director, Mladen Djordjevic. It takes ½ page.
3) TRADITION OF TERROR
A brief overview of all horror films ever made in Serbia, from the local-cult SHE-BUTTERFLY to the most recent ZONE OF THE DEAD. This intro is graced by the exclusive photos of these films, largely unknown in the West.
That's what occupies this unique 7-page Serbian horror special.
As for other horror contents, take a look HERE.