• Brianna Geiger

MENTAL HEALTH AND HORROR: A DOCUMENTARY - The Latest From the Groundbreaking Project

We’re eagerly awaiting the release of this documentary film featuring some of our favorite members of the horror community.

Mental Health and Horror: A Documentary is a feature-length documentary film created, written, and directed by Johnathan Barken (DREAD, Bloody Disgusting) that explores the relationship between horror and mental health while discussing the positive impact of horror films. Barken will dive deeper into how horror allows audiences to cope with their mental health through the outlet that horror films provide, like catharsis, especially for trauma. On February 16, a first look promotional trailer was dropped on the project's Youtube channel and included clips from the documentary. It will include interviews with many people from the film industry, mental health professionals, horror icons, fans, film critics, historians, directors, and writers. Some of the cast members will include Gigi Saul Guerrero (Bingo Hell), Issa López (Tigers Are Not Afraid), Jed Shepherd (Host, Dashcam), Molly Henery (Certified Forgotten, The Blogging Banshee), Prince Jackson (Knight Light Podcast Host, Bloody Disgusting) and many more.

In the trailer, Barken states that “horror can be the medium for catharsis, representation, and even hope.” The project is being executive produced by Andrew Hawkins (In Search of Darkness: Part II) and David Lawson Jr. (Spring, The Endless). Alice Collins (Fountaine and the Vengeful Nun Who Wouldn't Die), Zena Dixon (co-host of the Bloody-Disgusting Podcast, Real Queen Of Horror), and BJ Colangelo (Labrys, Deathcember) will also serve as producers. This trailer provides a snapshot of what films the documentary will reference such as Dracula (1931), Stephen King’s It (1990), and Poltergeist (1982).

Barken has also shared this message about the documentary’s progress:

“Over half a year ago, we broke ground and began production on MENTAL HEALTH AND HORROR: A DOCUMENTARY. Since then, we have conducted nearly 30 interviews with people around the world. From horror fans to creators in the genre to mental health professionals who recognize the validity and positive impact that horror can have, our documentary is full of diverse, knowledgeable, passionate voices who have spoken their truths so that others don’t have to feel alone. The work we’ve done so far has exceeded my wildest expectations and the response to our project has been overwhelming in the most beautiful and incredible of ways. There’s still so much to do but I promise you that we’re creating something that will touch the hearts of countless people. Join us and help be a part of something truly special.”

An Indiegogo campaign allowed those interested in the project to help fund the documentary. The campaign ended on March 27, and $69,342 in funding was raised for its production. The latest interview highlight video released on Youtube just before the campaign closed is an interview with drag performer Disasterina (The Boulet Brother’s Dragula, Sado Psychiatrist), discussing how horror projects help people to work through trauma. The documentary is currently in production and expected to have its world premiere sometime this year.