Horror Hotel the web series is in full production in Atlanta, GA and promising eerie tales along the likes of the beloved Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. An anthology series with episodes running 12 – 20 minutes, Horror Hotel features stories that span multiple genera’s including science fiction, horror, thriller & suspense. Like Hitchcock, there will be moments of comedy & drama for added entertainment.
Executive Producer Debbie Jo Hess answered some questions for us, enjoy!
Tell us about this project:
An imaginative set was built for the series that creates the Horror Hotel atmosphere and actually becomes a character of it’s own in every episode. Nearly all the principle photography is done on the set in Marietta, Georgia with some location shooting done from time to time.
Debbie Hess, one of the producers, designs the Horror Hotel set for each episode. “People are impressed with the atmosphere we created for Horror Hotel. and always want to know how we make our paint ‘peel’ and look so creepy. It’s the number one question we get from visitors, cast and crew. We paint the walls in blotches and then paint latex over that, then paint the final layer on top of that and simply peel the latex back. The paint sticks to it and produces that errie paint peeling effect. We also use a lot of antiques to give the room a horror chic, sorta old European hotel look” says Debbie. Al Hess, also one of the producers, makes the custom designed hotel set furniture and lots of amazing props used in the episodes. He is even constructing a miniature outside hotel model for use in some nighttime establishing shots.
Who is involved?
Horror Hotel was created by Ricky Hess, an award winning costume designer and independent filmmaker, and produced by Ricky, Debbie and Al Hess. Ricky’s extensive experience working with latex formed the foundation for his work in special effects in a number of independent films in the Atlanta area prior to producing Horror Hotel.
“We work not only with seasoned industry film professionals in the area, but with film students and recent graduates from local colleges” says Ricky. “These students need quality projects and experience with other professionals. Horror Hotel is a great outlet for them,” he said. “Moving forward, we are looking for sponsorships and distribution so we can continue making the series.”
The Hess family wears many hats to produce the series. Ricky has directed several of the episodes but has also been the Assistant Director on several as well as script supervisor, set builder, editor, whatever needs done. Debbie Hess handles casting notifications, social media, business needs, kraft services, set decoration and crew assembly. Al Hess has written a number of the episodes, built the set, designs and builds props and furniture and is the go to guy on the set for anything carpenter related.
Here is a rundown of the episodes produced so far:
Houdini’s Hand – Two burglars steal the mummified hand of a famous magician and find out what it means to come up a little “short handed”. This is our pilot episode and was co-produced by Errol Sadler of Atlanta’s own Supremacy Films (Blackhats movie) and directed by Brandon 2mill Thaxton also of Supremacy Films. Starring Atlanta actors Tony Folden, Montrel Miller, James Edward Thomas, and Mike Bend. Houdini’s Hand also has a podcast that will be available for portable listening recorded by Henry Howard , a founding partner with the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company.
Bookworm – A psychotic woman will do anything to get a hold of her favorite author’s unpublished work. The Hitchcock inspired episode stars Elle Trapkin as the wacky “Margaret Tally” and Hugh Higgins as the seedy book dealer “George Spoetzl”. Bookworm was experimental in that it was filmed in living black and white. All the actors dressed in gray, black or white and the set was designed accordingly. Colorists Nick Anderson with Cinevation Media helped to create the final vivid black and white effect in post production and final video editing. Cinematographer Donovan Henneberg-Verity and the talented DP crew including Ben Lambeth executed fabulous Hitchcock like point of view shots. Directed by Ricky Hess.
Invader – When residents at the Horror Hotel become suspicious of alien activity, a sci-fi writer becomes the target.
We took it back retro si-fi with a Ray Bradbury style episode in black and white. Atlanta actor Troy Halverson played “Joe Wood”, the secretive local hotel resident, Susan Moss as the paranoid “Helen Kravitz”, James Edward Thomas played the sci-fi writer “Rodney Silvers”, Jerry Irwin was the loveable kook,” Gerald Boyd” and Darien Johnson rounded out the cast as “Mikey Bone”, a trigger happy member of the posse. Once again Donovan Henneberg-Verity and Ben Lambeth headed up the DP department with assistance from Nick Anderson from Cinevation Media for DIT and coloring to make the black and white footage pop. Directed by Kyle Kukshtel.
Tilt – An android and her abusive owner plot to kidnap and sell a well known computer hacker to a less than desirable group. A sci-fi tale in a scrambled time frame that includes characters ranging from a future android to World War II soldiers. With Marie Barker as the perky android “Skinny”, her owner “Merle”, played by Johnny Harvill, computer hacker “Saul Kaplan” played by Ronnie Mathew, and World War II Nazis Nathan DeRussy and Tanner Gould. Directed by Ricky Hess with director of Photography Torey Haas of MonsterBuster Entertainment.
Guillotine – Beauty has a price when a pageant contestant gets a hold of a charm cut from Marie Antoinett’s guillotine. This episode is currently in production and will finish principle photography the end of March.
Directed by Brandon 2mill Thaxton. Director of Photography, Bruce Lane. With actors Stephanie Stevens, Ann Marie Gideon and James Edward Thomas.
The first season will have 7 episodes and should wrap production in late spring. Please visit our website for slide shows on the making of each episode and detailed cast and crew information.
To view more information and slide shows about the making of Horror Hotel visit the website at
My View: “Wallpapers”
I am not versed in dance theory or history, and so when I see a dance performance, the only basis I have for a response is my visceral experience— did I feel the performers connected with me and held my attention? Video on the other hand, is my profession, so I confess that when I’m presented with a “dance film” or “dance video,” I begin with preconceptions, and not all of them are positive. For example, as a rule I am wary of graphic and editorial effects in such videos. Most of the time I feel that video-specific effects and multiple cuts are an unwelcome source of interference in dance films and videos, filtering and diluting performances.
Movies – Guilt Trip
Mama, don’t let your boys grow up to be cowboys, or better yet, organic chemists. In this fun tale, you see Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen) is on a mission to sell his discovered organic cleaning product and find a distributor. In a caring move, he invites his mother Joyce Brewster (Barbra Streisand) to come along for the eight day cross country trip.
Most movies feature two guys or girls on a crazy road trip, but never a mother and son. Freud was right: we all have mother issues and Andy finally deals with his overbearing mother as he sets out to discover his own identity.
This movie is fun, touching, and is above the bond between mother and son. In the preview I saw, I took my own mother and she enjoyed it.
In a special live simulcast with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen, they took questions about the Road Trip.
According to Streisand, she was pursued by director Ann Fletcher for the role. It was not until she read the script out loud with her own son that she fell in love with the role. Streisand did a phenomenal job and you get the feeling that the role is way below her pay grade. They did accommodate all her requests. All the scenes were shot within forty five minutes of her house in Malibu, California and she did not even have to drive. According to the pop diva, she has not driven for over a decade.
She was also asked if she would ever like to take a road trip with someone and she said Marlon Brando. She did take a day trip with him once to check out the desert wild flowers once and had fun.
When asked if Babs had any resemblance with his real life mother, Rogen said that they are both strong Jewish women, but that his mother resembled more a past character that Streisand played in Meet the Fockers. His mother is a Jewish hippie type of woman.
Guilt Trip opens December 19th, perfect for the holiday season and a fun tale of love, joy, and celebrating life. In the end it will make you appreciate your mother and the characters discovered that they were more alike than different.
Follow on twitter @GuiltTripMovie or #GuiltTripMovie
Check out the trailer: http://youtu.be/gXu3nfQ5qTE
Follow Dr. Wilson Trivino on Twitter @T4Vista
The World Premiere of Evolution Creek
As you can imagine, making a feature length film takes a lot of time and resources to make the story and director’s vision spring to life on the big screen. Now take all of your notions of what it would be like to make an independent sci-fi flick and par that down into two local Atlanta brothers working together and overtime to make their vision a reality. During the past three years, artist Art Lee Bivens and photographer Morgan Bivens have given up their time with friends and family to toll on Evolution Creek, their first 102-minute length feature film. With limited resources and a practically non-existent budget, the two creative artists had to be resourceful with their time and materials. (They did run a successful Kickstarter campaign, beating their goal of $5,000 to raise a total of $8,897 toward the production of the film.) The World Premiere of Evolution Creek occurred on Thursday, May 31 at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta. Rolling out the red carpet, the brothers were eagerly greeted by family, friends, and others as they showed off the fruits of their labor of love. 530 guests attended this sold out show.
Before the start of the movie, attendees were able to take pictures with a motley crew of characters/ cast members, including Indians, a rogue militiaman, an angel, and a river monster. There was music, laughter, and camaraderie as attendees were able to talk to the film cast and crew before entering the theatre. Once the show began, the nearly packed house got to listen to the comedic stylings of an improv group from the Relapse Theatre. Then a team of hypnotic hoopers did a LED light hula hoop set before the final welcome for the flick.
So here’s the deal:
College kids go to an exotic island to get their party on; archaeologists go to another part of the island to get their dig on; madness ensues. Monsters and possessed militia men don’t dig the island party and a war breaks out between creation and evolution which is fought with the blood of innocent bystanders (aka possessed and non-possessed humans). Maybe the Native Americans that warned the kids in the beginning of the movie jacked them up with some peyote and this was all some sort of psychotic, tripped out nightmare…who knows? Some of the scene changes tripped out though a hazy fog.
Moral of the story:
Don’t haul your canoe over a mountain for a beautiful deserted island party because you will get jacked up. (Seriously, you were on a party houseboat in the middle of nowhere and that wasn’t good enough for you, kids?!?) Don’t eat an apple in the Garden of Eden and don’t dream about your girlfriend eating apples either. That hot chick that you lust after will never give you the time of day even on a deserted island. Angels and crazy people wear white clothes. The head honcho, professional archaeologist has a nice chalet pad built on the side of mountain (I’m thinking career change here!). A rooster lives in the Mayor’s building. Crawdads + catfish turn into the effing Predator when they are left alone throughout time in Paradise. AND even angels have lasers… LASERS, people! These silly college kids may have changed the world as we know it …. SEQUEL!
The Bivens brothers used 7,000 clips out of a total 20,000 that they took for this film. The longest straight film shoot lasted for 38 consecutive hours. The longest consecutive days of filming totaled up to 64 days straight. There were 375 special effects included in this flick; the most elaborate and time consuming special effect lasted 8 seconds and took 48 hours to create. In total, the brothers spent 1,200 hours editing. The film was shot at Lake Lanier in North Georgia. The film racked up 25 first time IMDb credits. Art Lee Bivens was a painter and motorcycle racer before he turned his attentions to writing and directing Evolution Creek. There is a sequel in the works, after the brothers take the film through the festival circuits. They intend to pay off a boat that may have been damaged during the first film and promise to “blow sh*t up” in the second film. Kudos to Art Lee Bivens and Morgan Bivens for writing, casting, filming, creating SPX and the musical score, and doing all the post production work by themselves!
The cast of Evolution Creek includes Christina Ashleigh, Patrick Quigley, Chrissy Chambers, Tim Perez, Lauren Jedneski, Jen Thrasher, Hara Kahn, Joshua Adrian, Shana Clark, Joshua McKibben, Alicia Watson, Aaron Glockle, Adilene Anahi Pano, Arnold Bivens, Bill Rogers, Chris Simoes, David Sadowski, David Tilton, Donna McCumber, Dylan Schettina, Elle Scott, James Huguely, James Northway, Janie Hitchcock, Jason Bell, Jason Feeman, Jason Wade, Kenneth Camp, Oakley Bodie, Philip Church, Quynh Le, Stephen David Calhoun, Taylor St. Clair, Tim Batten, Tony Johnson, Troy Halverson, and Wade Jordan.
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