Dread hit the Los Angeles premiere of director Robert O’Hara’s Gothic horror-thriller The Inheritance this past Friday night at the Culver Plaza Theatre and brought back exclusive interviews with the film’s vivacious producer Effie T. Brown as well as with the feature’s star Keith David (John Carpenter’s The Thing).
Debuting as part of the Pan African Film Festival (the flick has scored awards at several film fests, including ‘Winner of Grand Jury Prize for Best Actor’ at 2010’s American Black Film Fest), The Inheritance bows to DVD and Blu-ray on April 12, 2011 from One Village Entertainment.
Speaking with Dread, producer Brown said of the sway (as indicated in the press notes) of The Shining and Rosemary’s Baby on her film (which revolves around five ambitious cousins who gather at their family’s homestead to claim an inheritance, only to find themselves thrust into a world of terrifying rituals, trances and demonic possessions as they compete for the share of the mysterious family fortune), “They were influences. They did affect us. Robert (O’Hara) and I love horror movies, but one of the things we find in them is that the black folks always die first, which is a bit of a joke. We are not really (often) the main characters. We die within the first fifteen minutes, like, ‘Oh, there’s color,’ and then we die. In this film, we are there at the bitter end.”
As for the film’s supernatural antagonist Chakabazz (portrayed by Lanre Idewu), who orchestrates the peril the film’s predominately African American cast find themselves in (Adriane Lenox, Golden Brooks, Shawn Michael Howard, Rochelle Aytes, D.B. Woodside and Darrin Dewitt Henson also appear), Brown said, “What we wanted to do as well is that we realized that cinema once had Candyman, which was brilliant, but what happened? I mean there’s Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers and all of these other iconic characters, and now all we have is Flavor Flav (in reference to Nite Tales: The Series)? Do you feel me? So we wanted to do a film that’s funny but also has some real terror, and we wanted to do a film that has people of color in it. It’s definitely a film that is universal, though. So that’s what we were going for.”
As for the inception of the script, “Robert and I were sitting around talking about horror films and what we wanted to see, and the lack thereof. We had the script for a little while, and it had been optioned by other companies, but somehow it didn’t really take off. They had wanted to make it really, really funny, and not to get on a soapbox, but just because black folks are in it, they seemed to feel that it has to be a comedy, and that’s not what we wanted. The acting in it is really superb. It’s approached very seriously, although the situations they sometimes find themselves in are occasionally and intentionally kind of laughable. It’s the whole thing when you start shutting off the options the characters have, and it’s all really based on a real fear and horror. I’m really happy about that.”
“The end-game for this is that we want to franchise it, so we are hoping that people will like it enough to join us on Facebook and the website so that we can keep doing more and more of these. I really want to build this brand of The Inheritance. Our villain Chakabazz is multi-layered, and it’s about a wealthy black family with history, so we have myriad places which we could go within this family’s story.”
Speaking with the baritone-voiced David Keith (who plays ‘Uncle Melvin’ in the film), the prolific actor and horror vet (in addition to The Thing, he is familiar to genre fans for his turns in They Live, Pitch Black and the currently-running television series “The Cape”) said, “Usually in a horror movie you don’t see much of a transition, and this is not that. There’s an interesting spiral and disintegration of the characters, and I think The Inheritance does it wonderfully. You are able to associate with it.”
Producer Effie T. Brown
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