The Field Guide to Evil: A Night with Legion M
Updated: Feb 9, 2020
Last night, I met up with my roommate Aubrey, my coworkers Jaclyn (name twin!) and Hannah, and four members of Legion M at the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn for the theatrical release of The Field Guide to Evil.
The horror genre and I rarely get along. I do not like to be scared just for the sake of experiencing fear — I'm a big ol' scaredy-cat and not afraid to admit it. There needs to be an intriguing additional element in order for me to be even remotely interested in watching a horror film or tv show. Both the trailer and opening credits of The Field Guide to Evil successfully grabbed my attention because they show that it is more than just a scary movie. It’s a horror anthology of eight dark tales from eight different countries.
"They are known as myths, lore, and folktales. Created to give logic to mankind’s darkest fears, these stories laid the foundation for what we now know as the horror genre."
The eight segments are:
"Die Trud" (Austria, directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala)
"Al Karisi" (Turkey, directed by Can Evrenol)
"The Kindler and the Virgin" (Poland, directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska)
"The Melon Heads" (United States, directed by Calvin Reeder)
"Whatever Happened to Panagas the Pagan?" (Greece, directed by Yannis Veslemes)
"Palace of Horrors" (India, directed by Ashim Ahluwalia)
"A Nocturnal Breath" (Germany, directed by Katrin Gebbe)
"The Cobblers' Lot" (Hungary, directed by Peter Strickland)
The Field Guide to Evil was created by Tim League and Ant Timpson, the minds behind The ABCs of Death, and produced by Legion M. The movie premiered at SXSW in 2018 with a generally positive response; it currently has a 71% tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes. General audiences are more divided, giving it a 50% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and 5.1/10 stars on IMDb.
Legion M is the world’s first fan-owned entertainment company. They partner with top Hollywood creators — ranging from indie filmmakers like those involved with The Field Guide to Evil to big Hollywood studios — to produce movies, TV shows, and digital content. They have been involved with a really interesting slate of projects, including Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes), Mandy (Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough), Colossal (Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis), Bad Samaritan (David Tennant, Robert Sheehan), and upcoming projects like Girl With No Name. Fans can invest in the company and become a shareholder for $100, or they can join as a free member.
I have been a member of Legion M since October 2016 and recently became an investor. Legion M has been a way for me to stay connected to the entertainment industry despite no longer working in it full-time. It has also given me the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, both locally and globally. Since “joining the Legion,” I’ve had a lot of opportunities to be involved: volunteering at conventions, helping to film scout, generating grassroots media buzz. I’m also a moderator of one of the Facebook groups. Legion M gives its members a lot of ways to have their voices heard. And because of its crowdsourced nature, members can go to events like meetups for theatrical premieres.
We arrived a little earlier than the premiere time for one such meetup at House of Wax. We got drinks and chatted about our lives, our favorite movies and tv shows, our thoughts going into this movie, and what’s coming up for Legion M. It was nice to reconnect with a familiar face (shoutout to Terri!) and get to know more local members of the Legion. We were also given pretty cool exclusive The Field Guide to Evil pins.
Then we made our way into the theater. Surprisingly, I wasn’t really “scared” while watching this movie, but I was definitely disturbed and creeped out. Afterwards, we reconvened outside the theater and discussed our thoughts about what it was that we just witnessed. Without giving any spoilers, here is a summary of our general consensus:
“The Cobbler’s Lot” and “Die Trud” were our favorite segments.
“Al Karisi” and “A Nocturnal Breath” were the tales that fucked us up the most.
“Whatever Happened to Panagas the Pagan?” had the most disturbing imagery.
“The Melonheads” was just… weird. While most of the stories focused more on imagery, the American segment was very dialogue-heavy. It felt out of place.
Since each director had to tell a local legend in the span of 10-12 minutes, some of them felt cut short or unresolved. I would have liked to see what they could have done with just a few more minutes each.
As it is with most anthologies, there wasn’t anything tying the stories together.
One thing I would have liked to see was more non-European countries being represented. Only India represents the traditional horror stories of Asia, and there are no fearful tales from the many distinct, rich cultural traditions of South America or Africa. Fear is universal: it spans across generations, cultures, and geographical boundaries. While some segments will resonate more than others, it would be interesting to see a more global anthology that brings together a broad range of stories that show how different horror stories have been terrorizing people through history.
All in all, I’m glad I saw The Field Guide to Evil, and seeing it with friends and fellow members of Legion M made the experience even better. The Field Guide to Evil is out in theaters now and available to stream on these platforms:
To learn more about Legion M or how to become a member, go to www.legionm.com. For the next meetup, Legion M forged a fellowship with Fox Searchlight (or whatever it’s called now with the Disney merger) for the theatrical release of Tolkien, inspired by the real-life story of J.R.R. Tolkien! Click on the movie poster below for more information and to sign up for updates on a meetup near you!