Horror and comedy the perfect mix

Jenna Sutch with crew members shooting the finale of Girt By Fear.

AFTER two years of hard work, writer-producer Joel Perlgut is thrilled that his six-part mock-horror web series, Girt By Fear, was launched on Halloween (October 31).

“We did amazing things on tiny budgets,” says Perlgut, 24, who produced a Tropfest 2016 finalist film and has had films screened at festivals including Flickerfest and the Sydney Underground Film Festival. Joel is the son of AJN film critic Don Perlgut.

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“As a writer, I’m always interested in dialogue-heavy, character-driven work about young people, but another part of me is obsessed with all things trashy and supernatural; I love the mythology of horror cinema and cult comedy. Girt By Fear is a blend of these two aesthetics, with an Aussie flavour.”

The comedy-horror web series is set around a group of twenty-somethings on their way to a Halloween party in Sydney and the strange and supernatural terrors they encounter Each episode has a different cast and was shot a month or two apart, involving a cast and crew of more than 100 people including extras.

Perlgut, who is a member of Temple Emanuel Chatswood, says that Jewish director David Cronenberg’s horror films were a great inspiration for him.

Girt By Fear has been meticulously designed to send millennials into a spiral of nightmares,” he says.

Perlgut says that the series came to fruition due to the generosity of friends and fellow filmmakers. Some characters required such complex prosthetics and SFX that make-up artists frequently worked overtime. It took four make-up artists 16 hours of work for just one episode.

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In the future, Perlgut says he would love to write for TV: “It is the storytelling medium of our time, and it’s getting more diverse and bold in the types of content people are willing to watch,” he says.

“A decade ago, a show like Transparent, which has great Jewish themes, would have been a Sundance indie film. Now it’s must-see TV.”

In the meantime, Perlgut has been working on a short film Sad Sachs, about three Jewish siblings. He says Jewish cinema has been a great influence on him, citing his father’s “killer VHS collection” as an inspiration.

“Am I a good Jewish boy?” Perlgut muses. “Yes and no. Good Jewish boys are generally doctors and lawyers, not covering actors in fake blood at 3am. But on the other hand I went on Birthright, so it’s a tough call.”

See the series online at www.girtbyfear.com.au.

REPORT by Yael Brender