The concept seems simple: take two to three ’80s horror movies, edit and remix them down to 20-minute segments, and add in a dash of hilarious commentary provided by wisecracking … puppets?
The result is Horror Remix, a Dallas-based horror-comedy show that, like the zombie horde, has spread wildly across the country. Those responsible for the popular show are locals Edward J. Anttila and Alecia Fryman.
Co-creator Edward Anttila describes the show as the video equivalent of a horror mix tape.
And, yes, it’s free.
“Most people don’t believe you when you say that,” Fryman says. “But it is!”
Anttila describes the show as the video equivalent of a horror mix tape. “Like a mix tape, it might be themed,” he says. “Hopefully, you share it with your friends.”
Though Horror Remix is now featured in 10 cities across the United States, its evolution has been gradual. It all started back in February 2007, when Anttila began editing and showing offbeat ’80s horror movies at house parties.
“I figured out that my friends — well, most people — wouldn’t be willing to sit through the whole movie, so I decided to condense them so that people could just watch for 20 minutes and then split,” he says.
In May of that year, he started a website and video podcast, which is when Fryman joined him. Together, they introduced the wisecracking puppets, Cheesecake and Thunderclap, who provide post-movie commentary.
Cheesecake, a wizard, is voiced by Anttila. Fryman provides the voice for Thunderclap the bat.
“My part is easy,” Fryman says. “I just show up and make fun of stuff. E.J. does all the editing.”
In October 2007, they had their first public show at The Cavern, an event that Anttila describes as “a failure” because the audience was made up of only his friends. However that all changed in the summer of 2008, when reps from Alamo Drafthouse in Austin contacted Anttila and asked him to bring his show to their theater.
Though Horror Remix is now featured in 10 cities across the United States, its evolution has been gradual.
They had seen the Horror Remix blog and thought Anttila and Fryman’s brand of quirky comedy would be perfect for their venue. Two months later, Studio Movie Grill in Dallas followed suit, and the show’s audience has continued to grow.
Developing the craft
What sets Horror Remix apart from other parodists, whether they be the cast of Mystery Science Theater or drunk twentysomethings at a dollar movie, is the genuine affection they feel for the movies they showcase. Anttila insists that Horror Remix is about tribute, not mockery.
“I do see these as art, just a different type of art,” he says. “We see these movies as outsider art.”
He compares the remixing process to highlighting “great singles from a record.”
“Cutting them is not disrespectful; it’s to create exposure,” Anttila says. “For most people, you wouldn’t watch these in their entirety. I cut it down to what the average person is willing to handle.”
Typically, Fryman and Anttila watch the movies through together, taking notes on any moments they want to return to later.
“We don’t talk during this part,” Fryman says. “It’s funny because we will laugh at some of the same things, but then it turns out that we are making completely different jokes.”
Once the initial viewing is over, they turn on the camera.
“I do see these as art, just a different type of art,” Anttila says. “We see these movies as outsider art.”
“We record, and we just kind of ping off of each other. We re-record only if we slur or start laughing,” Fryman says.
A delicate process
Before they can sit down with the movies, Anttila has already worked for several months to choose a theme and find suitable films. He combs various websites and books he has collected about ’70s- and ’80s-era horror and compiles a list of movies that fit with the theme he has chosen. For November, the theme is “Roadtrip Getaway.”
“I just keep Googling, and I try to compile at least 10 movies and then figure out what will be featured," Anttila says.
Currently, in addition to continuing their work with Horror Remix, Fryman and Anttila are working on their own side project: a short, original horror film.
“The only relation to Horror Remix is that it’s 30 minutes long, and it will feel like a Horror Remix edit,” Anttila says.
Fryman wanted to assure fans that it would still have that Horror Remix touch: “It will have all the things people love: cussing, drugs, good kills and boobs.”
They are writing and directing it themselves, and they hope to show the film at festivals next spring. In the meantime, they plan to continue cooking up more cheesy horror-comedy for their fans in Dallas and other cities.
However, the mystery remains: how did Cheesecake and Thunderclap get those ridiculous names?
“I don’t know,” Fryman admits. “You’d have to ask the beer we were drinking that night.”