Like last week’s selections, our curated Hulu Documentaries this week are also inspired by Halloween — some more loosely, others directly related to the holiday and the dark figures it celebrates. This group of films features both more recent productions as well as some classics, and takes as their subjects fictional and real life vampires, horror movie hosts, Halloween revelers, and underground or just plain out-there filmmakers.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “indieWIRE @ Hulu Docs” is a regular column spotlighting the iW-curated selections on Hulu’s Documentaries page, a unique collaboration between the two sites. iW selections appear in the carousel at the top of the page and under “Featured Content” in the center. Be sure to check out these great non-fiction projects each week. — Basil Tsokios, indieWIRE
A fitting place to start this week’s selections is Chris Blankenship and Michelle Canning’s new documentary, Halloween on 6th Street, which focuses on one of the most entertaining cities in the US: Austin, Texas. While I’ve only been there for South by Southwest, it’s clear that there’s a lot going on on the popular 6th Street, as Halloween fanatics like the profiled Bud Hasert gather for a huge party in their creative and elaborate costumes.
Though not exclusively focused on Halloween, American Scary, by director John E. Hudgens certainly scares up an appropriate subject: the hosts of local TV stations “creature feature” programs, who would vamp or camp it up before commercial breaks during horror/monster B-movie screenings.
Elements of horror, sci-fi, and even social issues popped up in the work of the king of bad movies, Ed Wood Jr. His former production partner, Crawford John Thomas produced Brett Thompson’s Haunted World of Ed Wood, Jr. as a tribute to the creator of the infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space and Glen or Glenda.
Spiritual and kooky kin to Wood, but more self-aware and playful, George and Mike Kuchar are the subjects of Jennifer Kroot’s It Came From Kuchar. The doc reveals how the Bronx-based brothers began making lurid, no-budget, underground 8mm films in the 1950s with titles like The Naked and the Nude and Sins of the Fleshapoids.
Keeping an eye in the past, Calvin Floyd’s 1974 film In Search of Dracula, narrated by the great Christopher Lee, travels to Eastern Europe and elsewhere to investigate the historical and cultural origins of the legends of Dracula and the vampire myth.
Moving to the present day, W Tray White’s The Impaler puts the spotlight on a modern-day self-proclaimed vampire, Jonathon Sharkey, as he runs for the position of Governor of Minnesota in 2006. In addition to his relation to Dracula’s people, Sharkey is also a Satanic dark priest and a hecate witch, which, unsurprisingly draws a firestorm of media attention to his bid for political office.
About the writer: Basil Tsiokos is a Programming Associate, Documentary Features for Sundance, consults with documentary filmmakers and festivals, and recently co-produced Cameron Yates’ feature documentary The Canal Street Madam. Follow him on Twitter @1basil1 and @CanalStMadamDoc and visit his blog.