Recently Dread Central was lucky enough to travel to the quiet town of Canterbury, Connecticut, to visit the set of the upcoming Chiller original production Dead Souls. The film, scheduled to hit the television airwaves in October, was directed by Colin Theys and boasts the one and only Bill Moseley amongst the impressive cast.
Upon arriving at the set, one thing was abundantly clear: The production team that sought to find a location to be used as a haunted house was incredibly effective. The abandoned farmhouse used in Dead Souls was incredibly creepy. Add to that the fact that a scraggly bearded Bill Moseley was sitting on a rock outside the barn as you walked up the driveway, and the creep factor of this place goes through the roof!
Moseley spoke on working with the Dead Souls cast and crew. “They really know their stuff,” Moseley said. “I think Colin [Theys] is a really cool director. There are a lot of great young horror outfits just starting out in the business, having just done their second or third film…like rock bands that regionally play bars. It’s cool to be part of a young production, knowing that they’ve got great places to go. They get their licks down and learn their chops, and who knows what they’re going to come up with next.”
Director Theys, who was also at the helm for Chiller’s previous original production, Steve Niles’ Remains, gave us his impression of the project. “Dead Souls is a great experience on set,” Theys said. “It was fun to be able to shoot more of a classic horror film than we’ve done before at Synthetic Cinema International. Location factors so heavily into a haunted house film, and we really put a lot of time and effort into creating a setting that would help set the creepy tone I was trying to build.”
In addition to Moseley, the cast featured Jesse James (The Amityville Horror, The Flyboys), Magda Apanowicz (The Butterfly Effect), Geraldine Hughes (Rocky Balboa, Gran Torino), Noah Fleiss (Brick) and Jaiden Kaine (Hellbenders). Theys talked about the players he was directing. “It was great to work with such a strong cast. All of our leads were talented, experienced performers with great attitudes, which made for an easygoing set and a collaborative attitude. Bill’s character had a lot of explaining to do so it was important to find a skilled actor for the part to help keep those explanatory moments interesting. Everyone on set was excited to be working on the movie so when it inevitably came time for the blood to start flying, the cast was ready to roll in the dirt, jump on cars, get dragged across the floor, crucified, and generally have a good time.”
The man responsible for making that blood fly was F/X artist Brian Spears (Stake Land, The Innkeepers). Spears talked about what type of effects were needed for Dead Souls. “Basically, it’s a ghost story. I’m handling the ghosts. There’s a little bit of gore. I guess tasteful gore. Nothing outlandish, but there’s definitely some blood and gags,” Spears said. “But my main priority and the reason I took the job are the ghosts. What’s great about this film is Colin comes from a visual effects background so we’re going to pool our strengths. On my end, I’ve definitely done more effects-heavy films; this is more character driven, but there’s definitely enough gore for our fan base. It’s there when it’s needed. It’s punctuation.”
Dead Souls was adapted for the screen by John Doolan from a novel by Bram Stoker Award finalist Michael Laimo. Keep an eye on Chiller this fall to see the haunted tale.
On his 18th birthday Johnny Petrie learns he was adopted when he inherits a farm in Maine, abandoned for the 18 years since his natural family died at the hands of his father, the local preacher. Eager for a new life, he leaves home to start over in his new dwelling. However, as he digs into his past, he soon uncovers the horrifying details of his father’s questionable teachings. In a frightening revelation, he also learns that his return has revived decades-old forces trapped in the home and sets in motion a heart-stopping finale to a ritual that already claimed the lives of his family.
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