In today's Horror Highlights: Watch the trailer for The Village in the Woods, learn more about the new interactive horror talk show Down in the Basement with Graham Skipper, and read a Q&A with the director of L.A. Macabre!

Watch the Trailer for THE VILLAGE IN THE WOODS: "Deep in the forgotten woods, lies a village, at the center of which stands the old Harbour Inn. This rotten pub is the target of an inheritance fraud by young couple Jason and Nicky. Tempted by promises of easy money, Nicky pretends to be the Inn’s sole heiress. On arrival, they find the villagers welcoming and friendly… perhaps a little too much so. Always there. Always smiling. Always watching. The couple do their best to continue the scam but things start to go very wrong. Their paranoia slowly builds to terror as unsettling and grim events unfold. The Village in the Woods is not all it seems."

THE VILLAGE IN THE WOODS Arrives On VOD, Digital HD And DVD On January 19, 2021


Spoon Announces New Interactive Horror Talk Show DOWN IN THE BASEMENT WITH GRAHAM SKIPPER: "Today Spoon, the world’s leading audio live stream platform, announced a new interactive horror talk show, “Down in the Basement with Graham Skipper.” The Spoon Original program aims to set itself apart from other genre shows by not only having an insider at the helm but by being completely interactive. Host Skipper is a well-known triple threat actor, director, and screenwriter within the industry who plans on having the audience participate in an ever-changing slew of trivia, games, celebrity interviews, and exclusive behind-the-scenes information.

Skipper knew what he wanted the moment Spoon approached him. “My vision for this show is that it’s not only for insiders and superfans - it’s for them too, yes, but I also want to be a welcoming place for the casual fan who may know they like these movies but haven’t yet delved deeper. It’s a gateway into horror - a wild, communal listening experience, where part of the fun is interacting with other members of the genre community and me, including celebrities and professionals.”

“I think more than anything this show exemplifies what our brand represents,” said Fernando Pizarro, Vice President of North America for Spoon. “We are tearing down the barriers between audience and creator in real-time.”

The show is being developed by Spoon’s Showrunner and veteran genre screenwriter and producer Clint Sears. “I joined Spoon because I truly think this is the future. Our interactive platform is going to be the next wave of entertainment and fan engagement, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to help lead the charge than Graham. He’s just a crazy loveable, super fun, and intelligent guy who oozes charm. He not only embodies everything you look for in a host, but he’s just someone you want to spend time with, which is pretty much how I think we settled on Graham’s title, ‘Down In the Basement.’ More than anything, this is going to be a fun weekly hangout with like-minded people.”

Apparently, Hollywood agrees, the guest roster already includes Saw helmer Darren Lynn Bousman, blockbuster screenwriter C. Robert Cargill (Sinister, Dr. Strange) actress, writer and director Brea Grant (Heroes, Dexter, 12 Hour Shift), fan-favorite George Wendt (Cheers, Tales from the Crypt, The Twilight Zone, Masters of Horror) as well as director Joe Begos (Bliss, VFW) just to name a few. The guests will jump in and out and rotate as often as the segments.

Graham said he wanted each show to feel fresh and new and not grow stale with a strict format. He’s constantly thinking about exciting new ways to try and engage his audience. He breaks into laughter as he explains, “occasionally we could even have an additional live hour or two where, say, I go visit a haunted location in the real world and report everything that I’m experiencing... Oh God why did I suggest this?”

To take part in the weekly live stream, audience members can download the Spoon app and tune into “Down in the Basement with Graham Skipper” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. P.T. starting December 16th.

Listeners can also find a streamlined version of the show after the fact, distributed anywhere podcasts are available, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify."


Q&A with L.A. MACABRE Director Daniel Ast: Featuring Twin Peaks’ Robert Broski and Batman v. Superman’s Christina Wren, Amazon’s L.A MACABRE fixes on three filmmakers that interview a former member of the defunct cult "The New Family" leading them down a path of mystery, kidnapping, and murder. We got the lowdown from director Daniel Ast.

L.A Macabre. Surmise it for us!

L.A. Macabre is our mystery thriller series in its second season! The story centers on Ryan, Colin, and Jamie, a trio of documentary filmmakers who are frustrated with their progress until they meet Callie, a former member of the defunct cult "The New Family", who agrees to a series of interviews for their show, "L.A. Macabre". After the first episode airs an antagonistic force begins to harass Callie and the crew. 

Have they awoken long-dormant "New Family"? Is Callie relapsing to her former psychological programming?  Have they placed her in danger, or is she the threat? Tensions rise and events escalate, climaxing in a life and death race against time and a brutal kidnapping.

The first season began life as a found footage web series on Youtube and Season Two graduates to a full-blown single-camera drama with a huge ensemble cast and plenty of amazing locations.

And why should we watch it?

If you want your genre fix while supporting scrappy, indie filmmaking, add us to your queue.

My primary drive for writing and filmmaking is to make the thing I wish someone had made for me, and filling that void hopefully leads to some fun, new corners of the genres I love.

I’m a big fan of mystery, horror, and crime thrillers, but I hadn’t seen a show yet that quite scratched the itch on that creepy, desert noir vibe. This show is an indie series from start to finish with an incredible cast and crew working with minimal resources to put as much quality on the screen as possible.

If you like a creepy whodunnit, we’ll throw our hat in the ring. We like to keep you guessing, and if we did it right, you’ll reach the finale and mutter “Oh man, I need to watch that again” and understand the events at a whole new level the second time around.

What gives it its creepy factor and tingles, you think?

I think it’s the horrifying plausibility of it all. The New Family is a copycat of the Manson Family, and that initial basis in reality feeds a real dread and awareness in our collective culture. L.A. Macabre isn’t about ghosts and monsters, though those are fun, too. It’s filled with real people doing terrifying things and suffering horrific ends. It all feels plausible and that’s an uneasy feeling to confront.

You’ve a couple of recognizable faces in there but a lot of fresh-faced talent. How hard was it to cast the central trio?

Casting the entire show was both a dream and a challenge. Across both seasons we ended up with such incredible talent who were completely dedicated to the project.

Casting the central characters of Season One was a trick because some people fell right into place, and others took quite some time: I’d worked with Aidan and Corsica before --I loved their work, I love working with them, and I knew I could trust them. Aidan was in the lead in my feature, “Claire” (aka “Claire Is Dead”) and it wasn’t even a decision to work with him again, it was an imperative.

Embarrassingly enough, I initially went a different avenue with Callie in casting and when that didn’t work out, Corsica swooped in and saved my ass. And the entire show is better for it because, in retrospect, I have no idea what the hell I was thinking -- no one else can or should play Callie and now she inhabits that character completely.

So many talented people came in and read for Jamie. It was probably the largest field of potential actors, but Ryan Bartley rose through the ranks of the audition process. Her talent speaks for itself, but not only was she exactly who I’d pictured when writing, her enthusiasm and ready-for-anything attitude before and during production was infectious. It was like she was the show’s biggest fan (and standing alongside Ryan Hellquist and Corsica Wilson, that’s a bold statement).

Finally, Ryan Holbrook, played by Ryan Hellquist, was the most difficult role to cast. I’m hard-pressed to explain why such a straightforward, earnest lead was so hard to find, but we ran session after session after session and just never found anyone who came close.

I met Ryan at a wrap party over a year before we began casting L.A. Macabre. We’d never met, but he hit me up, asked me what I’d worked on, what I enjoyed in my filmmaker, and that was that. I’m not even sure if he told me he was an actor, but it was such a friendly and genuine exchange I spent the whole chat waiting for the other shoe to drop. It never did -- he truly was just a very kind, curious, engaging individual.

Fast forward to our casting struggles and Ryan and I hadn’t spoken since the party. I hit him up on a whim via Facebook and said “We’re having trouble casting this role, would you like to swing by and read for it?” And the rest was history. Ryan just gets this character and brings him to life with ease. Ryan’s kindness and earnestness are innate qualities that he so effortlessly brings to the character.

The show looks beautiful.  What did you shoot on?

Thank you for that compliment! I’d really like to turn this question over to the person who knows far, far better than me. This is Austin Lee Smoak, our cinematographer, and my collaborator for over fifteen years. She can give you a much better sense of why and how we achieved the look of Season Two:

“We shot on a Sony A7Sii and used older Nikon lenses to soften up the image a bit. But the look of the show is really all in the planning. Since we were on a small budget- we knew we had to be choosy as to where we could afford certain gear.

Early on, Dan and I spent time going over the script and discussing how the look of the show would progress as the story got bigger. Season 2 opens exactly where we left Season 1, so even though we wanted to move away from the strict veritè style of Season 1, it was important to gradually transition into a more traditional narrative style. We spent some time choosing the key points in which we wanted the visuals to open up the story a bit more- and from there we were able to build a progression that worked within the story as well as our budget.

All that said- not enough can be said for the locations and production design. Dan spent countless hours finding the perfect locations to give us an incredible backdrop for the story. That made my job infinitely easier. We could’ve paid for all the drone shots and technocrane shots in the world- if there’s nothing interesting to see or no production design to fill out the world and make it feel real, people aren’t likely to keep watching.

Having the time to plan was one of the major strengths of how we shot the show. It definitely allowed us to have some fun with the overall look in ways we hadn’t been able to before.”

Just jumping back in to echo and add to Austin’s points on budget restrictions and the importance of locations -- The low light capabilities of the camera really opened up our options and gave us flexibility in scouting our nighttime locations. For the latter half of the season, as the scope of the story widened, we tended to film far away from Los Angeles for the desert locales because we needed the right combination of affordable and breathtaking. With our microbudget, we really needed to choose locations that could do a lot of the heavy lifting when creating a vibe and a sense of scope. I think we’re both really proud of how these elements came together under Austin’s incredible eye.