Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

A Pair Of Documentaries Are Worth Checking Out This Weekend

Agnes Varda’s ‘Faces Places’ opens and ‘Haunters: The Art of the Scare’ hits Netflix

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Cohen Media

Artist JR and filmmaker Agnes Varda team up on the documentary "Faces Places."

Two very different but wonderfully compelling and entertaining documentaries are available to watch this weekend.

'Faces Places'

The impish Agnes Varda is still making films at 88. She was a key figure in launching the French New Wave in the 1950s and has never stopped making films and rebelling against cinematic conventions.

For her latest effort, she hits the road with artist JR to make the documentary "Faces Places." Together they co-direct a film that serves as a summation of her illustrious career.

As with so many of her films, "Faces Places" takes a playful approach to filmmaking but always with a sincere concern for finding humanity wherever she looks. For this film, JR proves a perfect partner in crime. The film mixes her interest in everyday people with JR’s giant black-and-white photos of ordinary folks that give a larger scale to people who are often marginalized or made to feel invisible.

"Faces Places" (in English and French with English subtitles) is an absolutely charming and delightful documentary but it also has something to say about how we choose to live our lives. This sublime work is now playing at Digital Gym Cinema.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Cinedigm Entertainment Group

One of the haunts highlighted in "Haunters: The Art of the Scare," which is now available on Netflix.

'Haunters: The Art of the Scare'

If you don’t want to leave your house this weekend then check out "Haunters: The Art of the Scare," a new documentary that just became available on Netflix.

I won’t lie. This film feels like it was designed for me. Not only is it about Halloween but it’s also about the passionate people who create haunted houses, some for fun like I do, and some as a profession. But all with a sense of craft, dedication and just a touch of insanity.

This film reminds me of Jonathan Ross' brilliant "The Incredibly Strange Film Show," where he'd highlight filmmakers on the periphery of the film industry. People who had such a drive to make films that they would invest their own money and risk everything just to see a film through to completion. Every time I watched an episode I was inspired to run out and make a movie. "Haunters" gave me that same giddy sense of inspiration coupled with the joy of seeing people pursue their dreams. I intended to just check out a few minutes of the film and then watch the rest later but the moment I started, I was riveted to the screen and had to finish. Then I wanted to sit down and start planning my next home haunt.

Directed by Jon Schnitzer, it’s a beautifully shot and lovingly crafted documentary that pays tribute to the artistry of scaring the hell out of people. The film also highlights extreme haunter Russ McKamey who ran his McKamey Manor in San Diego for years. I even had a chance to do a “sissy tour” before he left town.

"Haunters: The Art of the Scare" is the perfect film for those of us who want Halloween to last all year long… and to those of you who cannot understand that, it may give you some insight into why some of us love to scare others and be scared ourselves.

Cinema Junkie Recommends Two Docs


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Your curated weekly guide to local arts and culture in San Diego, from Arts Calendar Editor Julia Dixon Evans, delivered to your inbox every Thursday afternoon.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.