I admire director Tyler Benjamin’s ambition to create a documentary that chronicles what it’s like to be a horror fan. “I Heart Monster Movies” is a simple and very low budget look at the horror convention scene in Portland and some of what many horror fans within that region have done to celebrate their love for the genre. If you’re a Portland denizen, “I Heart Monster Movies” will definitely help you to decide where to visit that’s associated with your beloved genre. If you’re just a random horror geek, “I Heart Monster Movies” is a passable time filler.
It’s not so much a documentary as it is the director traveling to different places and figuring out what being horror fan means to certain people. There’s no real purpose to the film other than to interview horror fans, and hopefully mine some new anecdotes from noted horror icons. There really isn’t much you’ll find from the horror celebrities, even if it’s a lot of fun to hear them talk over and over. Tom Savini discusses once again what made him become a make up artist, Linnea Quigley discusses how she got in to the business, and Sid Haig shows fans some love. It’s the same old stuff you’ll find anywhere, but there is a fun interview with Doug Bradley who discusses his experience with an extreme fan.
One of the bigger missed opportunities of the documentary is a young fan’s meeting with Doug Bradley. She explains how much she idolizes the actor, and even anticipates meeting him at a local convention. For some reason we not only never get to see her meeting with him, but director Benjamin skips the entire experience altogether and moves on to the more fluffy aspects of the horror worship. It’s pretty interesting to see how he addresses the local flavor, but I’m not sure who’d be interested in those testimonials beyond people within the neighborhood of those establishments.
That’s both a fun little quirk to the film, but also a caveat as well. It’s not so much a depiction of horror love, as it is just a novel local business or eccentric personality, and it never quite gels with the documentary. I was also never sure what the intention was behind interviewing the psychologist who kept insisting that horror movies were evil and a bad influence on society. Were we supposed to be laughing at her? Agreeing with her? Perhaps consider that she has a point? I didn’t know, really. It felt out of place in a what is mostly a pretty cozy film. “I Heart Monster Movies” is a well intentioned love letter to the horror genre, and it’s a very worthwhile time filler for the respective horror fan.