Before directing, I had a 20 year career in television production and am currently working on the series Disorder in the Court for TruTv. Working on a series based around real crime footage coupled with being a fan of investigative tv shows, the subject matter for The Burningmoore Incident was something I wanted to delve into.
As a movie buff, I love most genres, especially horror. But, however scary the supernatural is, or a figure from your dreams with knives as fingers may be, I find nothing more chilling than a seemingly upstanding person unleashing unholy hell on someone else out of nowhere.
On Disorder in the Court, I’ve seen real, disturbing footage. For instance there was a man on a subway train riding with his child. He sits the boy down in one of the seats then proceeds to pull out a hammer and starts pounding on a sleeping passenger. The attack went on for nearly 5 minutes. Another time, a teen lured a female classmate away from school and shot her in the head execution style. When asked why he did such a thing, he claimed that he wanted to see what killing someone felt like. People who have no empathy, who can objectify humanity and impulsively kill with no remorse, I find both engrossing and disturbing.
Of course, the types of fantastical horror films with ghosts, demons, or creatures lurking in the night are great, but on the flip side, it’s the more realistic or perhaps the plausible culpability of the malevolent and sinister acts perpetrated by flesh and blood human beings like Hannibal Lecter, or John Doe (Kevin Spacey in Seven) that really give me pause… now these are some truly horrible people. The same can be said for serial killers such as John Wayne Gacy or the BTK killer, these were guys that, like James Parrish, had wives and kids, functioned in society and had everybody duped, until the gruesome details of their actions came to light. To me, THAT’S horror!
The Burningmoore Incident utilizes an investigative journalism style coupled with the ‘found footage’ approach to filmmaking. It takes a close look into James Parrish, a man capable of truly horrific acts. He’s not a mask wearing, exotic weapon using, trap building killer. He’s a guy you could pass on the street and may not give a second glance to. I doubt I am going to see a man in a fedora and knife claws, or someone wearing skin on their face wielding a chainsaw wandering around Manhattan (or at least I hope not ;-) ) but James Parrish is different...he is one of the countless others like him, moving silently among the millions of people walking our streets every day.
Just recently, I was on my way to the office when I saw a man dressed exactly how James Parrish was dressed during the Bayside massacre segment of the film, –black pants and jacket, gray hood– and I found myself doing a double take. For that fleeting moment it was pretty freaky. It can be truly frightening to think that these people are out there and you’ll never know it until it’s too late.