Long Live the Analog
A Q&A with filmmaker and comic book artist Paul Catalanotto
For some time now, I’ve been interested in the film genre of analog horror, which has often left me as confused as I am fascinated.
To better understand, I asked regional filmmaker Paul Catalanotto about his experience with the format, his YouTube channel, and how it all has bled its way into his comic book creations.
For those who may not know, please explain what analog horror is.
I’m not sure how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, but according to Wikipedia, analog horror is a subgenre of horror fiction and offshoot of the found footage film technique, often cited as originating online during the late 2000s and early 2010s with popular titles such as No Through Road, Local 58, and Marble Hornets. It is commonly characterized by low-fidelity graphics, cryptic messages, and visual styles reminiscent of late 20th-century television and analog recordings. This is done to match the setting, as analog horror works are typically set between the 1960s and 1990s.
The name "analog horror" comes from the genre's aesthetic incorporation of elements related to analog electronics, such as analog television and VHS, the latter being an analog method of recording video.
I give you this generic definition because, to be honest, I feel like this is only scratching the surface. For me, analog horror is a way to bring often complicated mostly nonmainstream ideas and execute them in the simplest and most effective way possible. It is a very basic image and the story. That’s it. I often wonder if it’s a visual rebellion against the beautiful hyperrealistic movies that currently occupy the cinemas.
Since I’ve started this channel, a new subset of the analog horror genre has appeared called – digital horror. It is similar in presentation but uses more modern media. And I’m sure it won’t be long before the genre further evolves beyond that. However, all of it originated from the creepypastas of the early 2000s. But in my opinion, it’s all Internet Horror which comes in endless varieties. In the early days of YouTube when comedians were starting to make shorts, I remember reading a Wired article stating that no one is funnier than the internet. I think the opposite is true too. No one is scarier than the internet either.
This is the future of filmmaking. I believe more and more filmmakers will be discovered on YouTube and other online platforms. It’s already happened with the Backrooms, Pixels, and Lights Out.
How did you come to make analog horror under your Vintage Eight label, did you have any inspirations, and what goals do you have going forward?
Vintage Eight is more than just analog horror. It is horror that is both experimental and traditional. And it is not limited to just video, sometimes it’s comic books and novels. My goal with this channel is to constantly try new things. I’m okay with pursuing ideas that don’t always work. Sometimes an interesting failure can be more rewarding than a successful project. Vintage Eight is all about embracing the weird.
I started the channel for a couple of reasons. One, after making The Thing Inside Us, I quickly realized that no one cared that I made a movie for $250. People were already doing interesting things for less than that online. Plus, the aesthetic I was going for was out of place among traditionally distributed movies. Without realizing it, I made a film that would’ve been better served as an internet horror.
Two, I read an article in GQ talking about The Mandela Catalog, which is an analog horror that got insanely popular. After watching the series, I thought I should give it a try, so I did with my first analog horror- Boil Advisory.
Third, I am tired as a filmmaker releasing projects that fail due to marketing. I think we as filmmakers often think of the movie first then where it will be seen second. This worked for Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, but unfortunately, in today’s world, this is backwards. We need to find and cultivate an audience first then bring our projects to life. So going forward, I want to use Vintage Eight as a platform to produce more stories and to promote projects outside of Youtube. In 2024, I’m rereleasing my 2017 feature Sacrilege on the channel. Also, I’ve re-edited The Thing Inside Us under the new title Married to a Sleepwalker, and I will be releasing that project on Vintage Eight early next year as well.
I’m enjoying the It Lives in the Static series so far, and your My Comic Book Journey with Edie video. Where do your ideas for these narratives come from, and does My Comic Book Journey count as an analog documentary (if such a genre exists)?
I’m constantly trying to come up with new ideas. Most of them just come to me while I’m working on other things. My top analog projects on Vintage Eight are The Children Under the House, The Tangi Virus, The Oracle Project, The Human Trials, and It Lives in the Static. Currently, The Tangi Virus is my only million-plus project. However, the Children Under the House has been reviewed by YouTubers with massive followings.
Here are two reviews (you’d enjoy the second one):
Also, I turned it into a book. I’ve sold over 327 copies as of today.
My Comic Book Journey falls under the second purpose of Vintage Eight, to promote my other works. However, the comic book story does happen in the same world as the other Vintage Eight stories. I felt like it was important to keep them related.
What is the synopsis for your comic book Edie, and how does the 80s remake of The Blob (a pre-Hollywood South flick) fit in?
From my pitch: After being transformed into a voracious blob-like creature, Edie Jones seeks revenge on the student that assaulted her and the people who covered it up. Unfortunately, Edie’s insatiable hunger won’t let her stop at just consuming the guilty.
Tone: Horror with elements of sci-fi.
Audience: Horror fans. Aged 16-35 Gory/graphic death scenes. Testing at Louisiana State University has shown that females in their early 20s enjoyed the book as well.
What makes it unique: Edie is a character-driven upgrade to a classic monster story that explores contemporary issues plaguing our teenaged youth.
As I said in the doc, I wanted to update the classic movie after finding out Blumhouse passed on it. Before that, I had heard they reached out to Rob Zombie and Samuel Jackson to update the movie. Since the 88 remake actually scared me as a kid, I thought I could bring something new to it.
Sin City is one of my favorite comic book to movie adaptations, mostly in its production and how the original comic panels were used as storyboards for shooting scenes. Do you see a connection between cinema and comics, and if so, how would you explain it?
Absolutely, comic book and movies are intimately related. Comic book writers work as screenwriters and vice versa. Look at Marvel. That brand has opened the door on comic to movie adaptations. Plus, the movie business is so scared of spec scripts. Everything needs to be based on something now. Everything must have a proven audience, or it won’t get greenlit. Comic books are a great way to bring your scripts to life and try them out. See how a public might react to them.
Please list your top 3 favorite movies/videos and top 3 favorite comics, and explain why they were chosen.
Here's 4 Movies:
1. The Thing – masterpiece. Carpenter’s best is arguably the best.
2. The Blair Witch Project – this might be one of the most important movies in the last 40 years. It predicted the future.
3. Die Hard – Best action movie of all time
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark – Best action-adventure movie of all time.
1. Batman – the world is divided into Batman fans or Superman fans. Of course, I like the darker superhero.
2. Duck Tales/Uncle Scrooge – I grew up on the reprints of the Carl Barks’s stuff.
3. The Sandman – I come back to the Sandman yearly. This is the best fantasy horror comic. Period.
Please list your top 3 favorite filmmakers and top 3 favorite comic artists, and explain why they were chosen.
- David Fincher – Seven and Fight Club. He understands the darkness in modern men.
- John Carpenter – Halloween or The Thing. At his best, he changed the genre forever. Twice.
- Steven Spielberg – You make Raiders then you get to be on the list.
1. Rob Guillory – he mentored me, so I’m a little biased.
2. Todd McFarland – he paved the way for the other indies.
3. Stan Lee – not an artist, but we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.
Sincerely Yours in Moviegoing,
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