Lost Room - Paulo Branco - The Producer of Portuguese Horror
During the planning of "MOTELX's Lost Room: The Films of Portuguese Horror (1911-2006)", some elements began to stand out from a joint reading of Portuguese horror cinema. In other words, it's safe to say that, until 2006, Manoel de Oliveira, António de Macedo and Solveig Nordlund were the most prolific in this genre, counting up to two entries each in the book. Following this train of thought, we can equally assess that the biggest producer of horror movies in Portugal is, undoubtedly, Paulo Branco. We reckon six films with his stamp as producer in the "Portuguese horror films" list: "The Territory", by Raúl Ruiz (mentioned in the article about international productions in Portugal) and "The Cannibals", by Manoel de Oliveira, in the 80s; once again the Portuguese master, with "The Convent", in 1995; and, in the XXI century, most of his horror output encompasses three titles: "Rasganço", by Raquel Freire, "The Fascination", by José Fonseca e Costa, and "Blood Curse", by Tiago Guedes and Frederico Serra.
Despite the fact that no one actually regards him as a horror film producer (not even himself), the truth is that the numbers speak for themselves: the "producer of Portuguese horror" stands before us. That is why, in a year where another Lost Room cycle closes, dedicating it to our biggest film producer seems, above all, fair. These films share what is, perhaps, the hallmark of horror cinema made in Portugal, a horror birthed in folklore, the so-called Folk Horror.
Thus, we have the urban man who accepts a familiar faith he tried to escape from in "The Fascination", where Fonseca e Costa materialises the cues of horror cinema included in "The Ghosts of Alcácer-Quibir", or "Ballad of Dog Beach"; the modern family that decides to move to the inherited family mansion and succumbs to the weight of superstition in "Blood Curse", written by Rodrigo Guedes de Carvalho and directed by his brother, Tiago Guedes, and Frederico Serra; finally, directed by the Portuguese master, the allegory between Good and Evil entitled "The Convent", filmed in the suggestive Arrábida Convent and accompanied by soundtrack made of strident and dissonant violins, all in the unmistakable Oliveira style.
Let’s celebrate the Portuguese Folk Horror in the presence of its producer, who will tell us about these and other adventures, like his experience working with another master of horror, in this case Body-Horror, David Cronenberg, or his encounters with the 'king of B movies', Roger Corman, or with the Israeli producers Menahem Golan and Yotam Globus, from the mythical Canon Group Inc., home of names such as Chuck Norris or Charles Bronson in the 80s.