Exclusive Film Blog – Week 7 with Spirit World Films’ Creature Feature

Exclusive Film Blog - Week 7 with Spirit World Films' Creature FeatureWe’re back with the third installment of Dread Central’s exclusive on-the-set coverage from Atlanta for Spirit World Films’ Creature Feature, and this week we tackle “How to Reinvent the Indie Wheel… Or Die Trying.”

Spirit World is the brainchild of three talented indie trendsetters: Chase Smith, Lance Paul and Edward Boss. These Southerners are turning the game upside down on what the true meaning of indie global films is.

With films budgeted at less than $20k, their combined multi “hat-wearing” skills are proving that you don’t need a giant budget nor a Hollywood soundstage to create cult classics.

Creature Feature is comprised of four short vignettes and one overall story that connects them all, similar to classics such as Creepshow and Trick ‘r Treat.

Do clowns scare you? Have you ever looked at a scarecrow and wondered, “What if?” Are zombies or naked witches your thing? Or what about a good ole classic such as a werewolf? Have you ever heard of Gentleman “Springed Heel” Jack? If not, you will come October 2015!

How to Reinvent the Indie Wheel… Or Die Trying

As indie filmmakers in a world full of carbon copies, how do you differentiate your project from one indie horror film to the next? It seems like everyone with some Benjamins in the bank or a blank credit card just waiting to be maxed out are buying a Red Epic or flying drones yelling to the four corners that they make movies. But what can make you special in this indie world? Especially filming out of Atlanta, GA, where it seems like indie films are a dime a dozen.

This is one thing it seems Spirit World is taking into account when they create their films. Be it changing up the found footage method with Realm of Souls using a mix of not only found cameras but also theatrical horror methods mixed with creative use of GoPros or taking a Thriller and giving it the Horror wash with Perdition. To be a true Indie filmmaker like the legends before you, you have to be a trendsetter that breaks new ground or asks what if?

Success in any field takes not only having a passion for your craft but also learning and studying the history of who came before you. We don’t buy movies for the fun of re-watching them. Don’t get me wrong; who hasn’t seen John Carpenter’s Halloween a 100x’s for the fun of it? But no, we watch films and their special features to figure out how these classics became classics. How did they do what they did to get there? What made them original?” Lance Paul (Partner, Artist, Co-Creator)

This is exactly what they are doing with Creature Feature. Being such huge fans of Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat and Stephen King’s Creepshow, the boys from Atlanta wanted to pay homage to those great vignette films but also add their own personal flair. During pre-production on a film called Marked, production starts in 2016, Chase and Lance played with the idea of going from live action to comic art and then popping into live action again. Trick ‘r Treat used a similar concept for their opening and later close of the movie, plus Lance had worked as a comic artist and storyboard artist when he first came to Los Angeles. This idea came about when they were filming a short film to help raise money for Marked. This short, all shot in black and white, tells the story of a group of girls who just trusted the wrong door to door salesman with a smile. As you watch their short you will see the film go from live action to illustration. You can view it below:

Fans loved what they did with this so much they felt like they were on to something.

So when contract negotiations with a lead star for Marked took longer than they should have, the boys decided to move forward on Creature Feature. Creature Feature was originally a project that was still in development stages and had a much bigger working budget. After the positivity they received combining live action and illustration, they decided to take it a step further. Deciding to combine not only their love of movies but also comics, the true Creature Feature began. While watching CF you will see the films vignette go from live action and then from a freeze frame to a comic page as the story is told. Then once that page is done it will pop back to live action to continue the next vignette.

Lance Paul (Partner, Artist, and Co-Creator) was kind enough to give Dread Central and all you horror fans a glimpse of what they have in store for this creative horror. These comic covers and panels will be spread throughout the whole film as the vignettes and victims play out. Be it little girls reading CF comics in the clown story or the comics playing a part throughout the horror vignettes, they will definitely play a prominent part in the movie. Both Chase and Lance figured this could be a great way to have their film stand alone but also save on budget. Why spend the money showing a werewolf transformation when you can show the before and after and then do the change in beautiful panel art?

Creature Feature

Creature Feature

His goal, as you can see from the samples he shared with us, was to draw from some of the horror comics of the 50’s. As a child Lance’s comic collection was limited to the allowance a normal child of the late 80’s and 90’s was allocated, which meant hardly nothing, and the local comic shop was almost paying you to take their stockpile of worthless classic horror comics. Years later when work first started on Creature Feature, it sounded like the perfect time to whip those dog-eared beauties out and draw influences from them.

Once you view Creature Feature in theaters later next year, you will not only be treated to a creative monster vignette movie courtesy of Director Chase Smith but also an in-movie comic book that will pop up throughout the movie, live action that will jump to comic panels to tell some of the story and then jump back, and also a released graphic novel using the same panel art from the movie but also adding to the story you will already love.

These creative horror buffs in Atlanta sure are rewriting what it takes to make indie movies! Who needs loads of money? Give these guys a camera and a pencil and away they go!!

The Werewolf

What monster movie isn’t complete without a werewolf? When writing the script for Creature Feature, this was definitely a monster Chase wanted to make sure was included. As a young child Chase and Lance were both huge fans of American Werewolf in London and Lon Chaney’s Wolf Man from the classic Universal Horror films. Chase wanted to really delve deep into a combination of them both when he was writing the vignette for the Werewolf. In the story a couple of party animals more focused on drinking and having sex force some younger teenagers away by daring them to go break into the local legend in town’s house and steal something. Years previously old man Chaney’s family was brutally murdered with him being the sole survivor of the massacre. Ever since the town had ostracized him to his secluded mansion thinking that he had a hand in the murders. Little do these kids know but breaking in to this house rouses more than a cankerous old man’s anger.

Creature Feature

Once the story was complete, the fun began. Creating a werewolf for movies had always been a dream of Lance and Chase’s. When Lance went into the initial concept development stage he wanted to definitely use the classic wolf man Chase had in mind as a springboard but also mold him for their story. At the setting of the story this isn’t a wolf in his prime, this is a wolf grizzled and marked by the death of his pack. Aged by the years and stress of living secluded Spirit World Films aged their Werewolf into a silver-backed beast. So when you see him change and come after the teenagers, their goal was to create compassion for him by his look and his actions. Through the development stages Lance and then later Alex Michael Petty (Bunyip) kept this in mind when fashioning and fabricating his prosthetics and look.

Creature Feature

The werewolf’s look actually went through a couple different stages as production started rolling. Due to some issues with prosthetic houses in Europe some of the Wolf had to be fabricated by Alex, which in the end helped create a truly original work of art. Also the wolf’s story had some of the most gruesome and creative deaths throughout the whole picture. Going through the process of killing our six young dumb kids relied heavily on Alex’s trained team of MUA’s and fabrication shop. The most gruesome actually involved a local instagram celebrity actress Libby Blanton (22 Jump Street). Through her scene the werewolf eviscerates her, which involved 4 hours of makeup and over 10 different prosthetics plus one blood gag to get the right look.

Creature Feature

With a location set in Buford, GA in a 100+-year-old house, SW set about turning this old pecan plantation house into the weathered and dilapidated old house for their poppa Werewolf. Like the previous article before, these creators really like to ball on a budget and go all out. Little will you expect that a majority of their locations worked out as free or very near it.

Next week we will have a glimpse of their final Vignette Creature, the Scarecrow! Plus the monster behind the monster, the dreaded Springed Heel Jack. Stay tuned for more from Spirit World Films and enjoy all the behind-the-scenes pictures and art.

Creature Feature

For behind-the-scenes pictures by Producer and Creator Lance Paul, visit Lance Paul on Instagram, also “like” Creature Feature on Facebook, and follow Spirit World Films on Twitter.

Chase Smith directs. Libby Blanton, Tenille Houston, Lance Paul, Stephanie Davis, Michael Maponga and Jason Vail star.

Chase Smith directs. Libby Blanton, Tenille Houston, Lance Paul, Stephanie Davis, Michael Maponga and Jason Vail star.

Creature Feature is comprised of five interwoven tales of terror that occur one foggy Halloween night in Georgia. A babysitter learns a new appreciation for fine art and a hard lesson about the consequences of being irresponsible… and naughty! A group of college kids stumble on the mother of all scarecrows. Two teenagers are forced to steal from the wrong cantankerous old hermit who has been known to occasionally howl at the moon. A murdered father comes back for vengeance against his gold-digging wife and traitorous children. All of this Halloween fun is made possible by a London gentleman known only as… “Jack.”

Creature Feature

Creature Feature

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