comScore Interview: Mali Elfman on Why Horror Matters | The Mary Sue

Interview: Mali Elfman Talks Clive Barker, Indie Filmmaking, and Why Horror Films Matter

Also, there's a rad COMICS GIVEAWAY!

mali elfman

Mali Elfman loves genre films – especially horror – and while her dad (composer Danny Elfman) has tackled all things creepy from a musical perspective, she has gone the filmmaking route, producing, directing, and starring in stories that are generally designed to scare the crap out of you – or at least make your skin crawl a little. Even better, she believes in creating opportunities for other independent filmmakers, and has been doing just that as one of the founders of Fun Size Horror.

Fun Size Horror is a filmmaking collective and community that creates short (“fun-size”) horror film projects and helps get them seen. We’ve talked about at least one of them before, as Fun-Size Horror was responsible for Karen Gillan’s short film Conventional, a frightening look at geek culture and female aging that Gillan both starred in and directed. Fun Size Horror now has two volumes of fun-sized scares under their belts, and are now running a crowdfunding campaign to help them expand their efforts to help filmmakers create quality genre films.

I had the chance to chat with Elfman about her “bestie” Clive Barker, producing independent genre projects, and why horror means so much to her.

fun size horror

Teresa Jusino (TMS): What was the catalyst that made you decide to help found Fun Size Horror?

Mali Elfman: Fun Size Horror started with Michael, Zeke and I really wanting to help filmmakers around us have their voices heard and being exhausted by the system that was in play. If you don’t like the game… make a new one! We all love films and filmmaking, but being an indie filmmaker is exhausting, and it can be disheartening to watch those talented people around you time and time again, just not get that little hand they need.

So, we did what we could to be that support. Finding a way for shorts to be relevant and to give filmmakers a chance to take risks, be seen, and be supported by other filmmakers. We’ve helped get almost 50 shorts made, released two features, and most importantly, created, a platform for our films but also for filmmakers and film lovers to come gather!

TMS: I see that as part of your crowdfunding campaign, you’re giving away a Next Testament paperback collection volume 1-3 signed by Mark Miller and horror master Clive Barker. So, are you and Clive Barker besties? How did you manage to snag such sweet perks?

Elfman: Totes. We hang out like, all the time… And by hang out, I mean I stare at the creepy prints that we have left over from our shoots on my walls and daydream. Clive has been a huge supporter of Fun Size Horror and us of him! Almost all of the artwork you’ll see in the production design of Fun Size Horror: Volume Two was provided by Clive’s extensive painting collection. Mark Miller, who runs his company Seraphim Inc is a part of the Fun Size Horror Community and a filmmaker himself, he made The Great Corben, and both of them have been amazingly supportive in helping us, help filmmakers to make films!

TMS: Are you a comics fan? If so, what are you reading these days? If not, what’s your favorite type of genre fiction and why (books, films, etc)?

Elfman: I miss reading books so much! Most of my world is scripts these days but I am more of a book nerd if I have my way. I actually love myself a bit of poetry, maybe some Robert Browning and have finally begun Mark Danielewski’s new series The Familiar.

TMS: Obviously, we know Danny Elfman is your dad and we love his music! Has music ever been a calling for you – or has filmmaking always been more your bag?

Elfman: He does music so well, why go there? I’m a lover of music. I enjoy it, I appreciate it, and man do I have opinions about it! I think it’s best left there. I think I have taken on his passion and dedication to story-telling, he just does it through sound and I prefer story.

I have had the honor of working with him twice now and getting the chance to A. work with someone of his level and B. work with my dad was really an experience I’ll never forget. I learned so much from him. And you know, that Danny guy? He’s pretty good. Takes notes well too! And yes, I was that asshole Producer, because yes, I’m still his daughter. And defy I must.

TMS: Why horror? What is it about horror that speaks to you and makes it special?

Elfman: Because I’m not brave, I don’t have powers and when things go bump in the night, I jump…. and then I go looking. I want to know who is bumping, I want to know why, and I want to ask questions about the things I cannot know. I enjoy being curious and on edge. Genre allows us to look at things from uncommon angles, and isn’t afraid of being uncomfortable in the process. I enjoy being bold and seeing filmmakers reach into their minds, pull out their darkest fears, face them and come out smiling.

The horror community is one that isn’t afraid of taking on challenges and is open to thoughts and ideas. Not only are those my kinds of films but those are my kinds of people.

clive barker

If you’re a horror fan who wants to snag some awesome Clive Barker merch, a sci-fi fan who would love a personalized message from Amy Pond/Nebula (aka Karen Gillan), or simply someone who loves indie film and wants to see it flourish, check out Fun Size Horror’s campaign!

(images via Fun Size Horror)

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