After the remake of "Dawn of the Dead", Kyle Kuchta got into horror movies - and shortly after he got into horror conventions. Now he lives and breathes horror, and has decided to make a short documentary about the conventions he visits.
I've said it before, but it applies here too. There are a ton of horror documentaries lately, focusing on everything from era's of horror, director's and several about fandom (one who blends it all would be "Best Worst Movie"). Personally I feelt they are running a bit dry, but I rarely say no to watching one. Documentaries about personal interests are usually very easy movies to watch, that can be watched at any time of the day.
Kyle Kuchta's "Fantasm" documents the horror movie conventions he visits, such as Horrorhound and Rock and Shock. Kyle started going to festivals when he was 15 years old, a short while after he discovered how much he likes the genre after watching the remake of "Dawn of the Dead". In this documentary we don't really go deeper on the subject of conventions, nor do we look into the history of them - but we do get a welcoming little snippet of responses from fans and the iconic guests. Among the interviewed people we find Joe Lynch, Tom Atkins, Lloyd Kaufman, Heather Langenkamp and many more, all giving their brief thoughts about the horror scene of today and how long they have been doing it. Meanwhile, Kyle awkwardly walks the floors of the conventions to film a typical day among horror fans.
It's always fun to listen to veterans of the scene, such as Heather Langenkamp and Tom Atkins, and they are two of the "celebrities" who talk the most. I would have wanted to see a few longer interviews with people like Lloyd Kaufman. Another missing aspect to make this a completely worth while documentary would be to get more inside information from the people who arrange these conventions. The way it is now, it is just spreading its horror nerdiness with other nerds (us), but it doesn't have much to document that hasn't been seen before. It feels more like a special feature to a DVD than an actual movie you would buy.
"Fantasm" doesn't do anything revolutionizing and you're not exactly gonna learn much from it. But if you are a horror fan then it's still a warm and inviting documentary that makes conventions look like the joyful events that they should be. I would recommend you give it a shot if it shows up on places like Netflix or Amazon Prime, since it works more like extra material. Certainly not a waste of time at its 56 minute runtime, but could use a better agenda than just showing us what horror conventions are.
Note: The ratings have been taken out for this review, since it's not a documentary that needs them.