(For those watching closely, Monsters released for streaming on January 4th, and interested readers can check out SciFiHistory.Net’s review of the anthology flick right here.)
“The ‘Home Improvement’ film (one part of the interconnected five-part collection) was saved from a fire in 2018,” the director says, perhaps not quite realizing the irony of the circumstances. “Everything else had to be reshot or redone or rethought, and we restructured the whole thing. Then, when we were almost done, our last section was the Frankenstein film … and then COVID hit.”
The duo have worked in the entertainment business over a few decades in a variety of roles behind the camera. Finding the time to put together projects of their own is always an uphill struggle. “This is kind of a hobby or vacation away from our regular jobs. I used to do a lot of B-Movies back in the 1990’s. I also shoot commercials. As far as doing a joint movie? This is the second with my brother.”
When asked about if he have any favorite segment of Monsters, Snygg immediately defers.
“Everything’s subjective,” he insists. “It’s interesting because, when you complete a film, you give it to the public and it’s no longer yours. Some people? They hate ‘The One Percenters’ (one chapter within the feature). Some people like it. Some people hate the Frankenstein film, and some people love it. Some people hate Spencer’s zombie film. Some love it. I can say that, when I sold it to the studio, the one they liked the most was the wraparound story – the thing that brought all of these films together. I think, if anything, you go out and try to make something by having the best intentions in mind that best service the story.”
Reflecting upon his time in the industry, Snygg grew reflective about how he’s watched the business evolve.
“I think there was a time when Horror was pretty bad – back in the 80’s when all you had was Jason slasher films – but I think now it’s opened the door for all different types of films and filmmaking. I think it’s gone political, so now you have things like Black Mirror (the BBC/Netflix anthology show) and Get Out (Universal Pictures, 2017). You can tell a political or a social story within a Horror context. If you look at a lot of independent films out there, you can see they’re going in that vein. It’s an interesting genre where you can play with these issues on a pop culture platform.”
“And there’s so much content out there,” he continues. “At a certain point, people get bored with a certain style. The 80’s – the Schwarzenegger films and the Stallone films – those evolved, too, as far as now we’re going to hire people like Nicolas Cage and make it more character-based. I think that’s true for the Horror movies, too. Because so many people make it, now there are more avenues for things to be different.”
Snygg has watched the trends – both good and bad – make their way through our culture largely from the standpoint of a businessman. Clearly, he’s witnessed the highs and lows of an industry that hinges upon giving audiences a good reason to put out their own hard-earned money to watch a feature that meets their expectations and perhaps not necessarily the storyteller’s desire.
“As a person that used to deal with independent distribution, the problem was getting peoples’ interest to watch a film about, say, a person on a farm struggling to get the farm together. We would put films in venues like Tower Records, Virgin Records, and Blockbuster. It would be a film that played at Sundance Film Festival or maybe Slamdance. Even if it had great reviews, people wouldn’t really grab it. But if it was some type of exploitation filmmaking, people would rent it. These genre-based action or horror have more of an audience. That’s just the nature of the business.”
He even compares that reality – meeting the demands of the audience – to the current trend in superhero filmmaking, for which Marvel and Walt Disney have largely cornered the market. “People will come out of their houses – even during the pandemic – to watch them. The market dictates whether you have something people will watch or not.”
Circling back around to Monsters, Snygg speaks as if he understands all too well the challenges of bringing an audience to these smaller films. While studios can put big bucks behind advertising campaigns, his challenge remains recruiting those viewers truly interested in finding a ‘diamond in the rough’ experience. SciFiHistory.Net would argue that folks might be surprised with the thrills, chills, and spills his film achieves with beating hearts, homicidal rich girls, and marital fidelity on overkill.
“If you’re interested in seeing a low-budget – a kind of at-your-pants filmmaking – on a sort of Robert Rodriguez budget,” he concludes, “then check it out.”