Fake Blood is a horror documentary unlike anything we’ve seen with a hook that is downright unsettling, and it all began when the filmmakers, Rob Grant and Mike Kovac, received a video from an ardent fan re-enacting a scene from their film Mon Ami in a seemingly real-life situation.
They were unnerved by the disturbing tone of the video and questions began to form in their minds.
Were they hypocrites for creating violent content for film when they had both led relatively safe lives? Is film violence anything at all like real violence, and if so, does film violence cause or exacerbate real violence?
“I remember asking my mom who was an emergency room nurse for 20 years and whose favorite film is Pulp Fiction–she thinks it’s hilarious–if she thought that film violence and real violence were related in any way,” Mike said. “She actually laughed and said ‘Oh, there’s no connection at all!'”
They decided the questions needed answering, but it would still take time before their project would come to fruition as Rob and Mike told iHorror in a recent interview.
“It was almost two years ago but it would always be in the back of my mind bugging me,” Rob explained, “and then a little while ago our producer, Mike Peterson, said he could probably get some cash together for us to go and explore this.”
So, with the monetary backing and a basic outline instead of a script, the two set out to create what would become Fake Blood.
“I can honestly say that there was no pretense when we were filming as far as what was expected,” Mike said. “We were trying to go off of honesty.”
Honesty led the two to interesting places during the film, especially when Rob decided they needed to experience some real violence, even if it was in a controlled environment. Together, they headed off to a dojo to meet with a friend who is trained in martial arts and was willing to give Rob a touch of pain.
“My intention was 100 percent to get in there and make it a wake-up call for me,” Rob laughed. “I already have concussion issues from playing hockey when I was younger so when he gave me that upper-cut you see in the film it rang my bell for real!”
As the project progressed, they began to bring together different elements to create this unusual film including some rather unsettling re-enactments of a supposed real life crime, but it was a point made by one of the re-enactment actors in an interview that caught both men off guard when he alluded to the fact that romantic comedies had messed him up far more than any horror movie ever had.
“I don’t think I could have written that as well as that came out,” Mike said.
“Those interviews kind of became the crux in the editing room because of that kind of insight,” Rob explained. “It became a big theme so that we could cut in and out of the re-enactments because I felt like it starts to get difficult to remember what’s real and what isn’t and I think that beyond the actual storyline itself, it was kind of important to make the audience feel the same way that we do ourselves sometimes when someone has committed one of these terrible crimes based on inspiration from other movies. That ambiguity is fun.”
The editing room for a film without a script was its own mountain to climb, as the filmmakers would soon find out with a whole new question looming: Is the film even done?
“I’ve never edited something like this before,” Rob explained. “That’s why both Mikes get a writing credit too because there’s so much stuff you kind of have to shape otherwise there’s no specific direction, and that was very helpful having their input after the fact. Especially having to do a narration that was self-critical.”
“I think there was some solace in knowing that we weren’t going to get a definitive answer,” Mike conceded. “It’s an ongoing conversation that we jumped into; the question is very old.”
Unfortunately, Mike is right. As we’ve seen in only the last few days from the White House, there will always be people who point fingers at violence on film and in video games in the wake of real violence, and many are waiting to jump on board that bandwagon.
In the face of such challenges, it could be that films like Fake Blood will become even more important, even if traditional horror audiences and festivals haven’t been as open to the experience.
“The debate we’ve seen and heard over whether the film is real or not is kind of funny to me,” Rob laughed. “It kind of means that to an extent people want the violence to be real and what does that say about us? Some people seem to have gotten offended by the grey area of it.”
“I think it’s important to get eyes on it and to self-evaluate,” Mike agreed. “We didn’t invent violent stories; they’ve been there forever and they will continue long after us.”
Fake Blood is available on Amazon and other VOD services.