Kevin Smith and I are horrified by the same thing: Bush Voters. He’s revealed to Rotten Tomatoes that the title of his long-discussed horror movie is Red State, and that it will deal with a Fred Phelps type. If you’re not familiar with Phelps, you’re lucky, but just for reference: he’s an Evangelical Christian with a wonderful propensity to show up in public with signs saying things like “God Hates Fags” and at armed services member funerals with signs saying that 9/11 happened because God hates America. He’s the sort of guy that a lot of right-wingers like to pretend they don’t agree with.
"That dude has always fascinated me and he’s really informed the horror movie that I’m working on," Smith told Rotten Tomatoes, "The movie’s called ‘Red State’ and it’s very much about that subject matter, that point of view and that position taken to the absolute extreme. It’s certainly not Phelps himself but it’s very much inspired by a Phelps figure."
This is obviously a totally different direction for Smith, and one that I support – I’ve lambasted the guy in the past for refusing to grow as a filmmaker or to even try anything outside of his comfort zone, and this would definitely be a change of pace. That makes me not even mind his weird semantic dance around the idea of this film as a horror movie:
“[T]he notion of using a Phelps-like character as a villain, as horrifying and scary as that guy can be, there’s even something more insidious than him that lurks out there in as much as a public or a government that allows it and that’s the other thing that I’m trying to examine in a big, big way. It’s weird because for a few months I’ve been saying ‘horror movie’ and technically it is, but it’s also not a very traditional horror movie in the sense that people have been asking me, ‘Is it a slasher movie? Is it like the Japanese horror flicks?’ It’d be much easier to just show it to them when I’m done and be like, ‘This is what I meant.’ At which point I’m sure there’ll be people saying, ‘This ain’t a horror movie!’ But to me, it is."
I don’t actually know what he’s talking about here. Is the film more like a thriller? Maybe it’s just a movie about a cult, without any overt supernatural or horrific elements, but I think that still fits into the horror category – I consider the original Wicker Man a horror film (and the remake as well, but for different reasons). Whatever the movie is really about, I hope it happens and that Smith doesn’t get sudden cold feet like he did on Green Hornet. It’s supposed to be his next film, after he finishes up another romantic comedy, so we’ll see.