Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of HorrorFuel.com. She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th.
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A new horror anthology titled Devil’s Fivewill soon be delivered to genre fans. Writer-Director Terry Wickham teased us with new details of the film during an interview.
The five-part anthology that stars Ralf Scheepers, Diana Noris, Kevin Cusick, Siakie Tetteh, Aaron Mathias, Walter Masterson, Darren Hickok, Rafael Baez Jr., Megan Penn, Almog Pail and Jonathan Weirich, promises to take fans an action-filled, terrifying journey.
Horror Fuel: “Can you tell us about your state of mind while writing the upcoming horror anthology The Devil’s Five?”
Wickham: “I directed three out of the five installments that make up the feature film Devil’s Five.
I directed the installment “The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound)”, which was a lot of fun for me because it was a chance for me to push the cinematic limits of what I had done previously as a director in terms of action and horror. I really wanted to challenge myself on “The Devil’s Five” segment. I was very conscious of assembling the biggest, most skillful behind the scenes team I had ever put together.
I also directed the segment “Stash”, which was actually the first film to go into production out of all five segments that make up our feature film. “Stash” was written by Tim Clark, whom I had worked with before on a film called Hair of the Dog (HOTD). I really appreciated the chance to work with Tim again because of how good the experience was on HOTD. Plus Tim always comes up with great characters, witty-zany humor moments, to go along with tension, suspense, and ultimate horror payoff.
“Stash” was really good for me because I had consciously taken a break from directing when my daughter was born. I really felt it was important that for the first five years of her life that developed a strong bond with her, so I purposely refrained from making a movie during that time.
With “Stash” it felt great to get back in the director’s chair and I yearned to work on a bigger production level. With that in mind, I assembled a full crew, despite our monetary limitations. I was adamant on employing a full arsenal of cinematography tools such as Steadicam, large lights and other equipment essential for night time shooting we did out in the woods. It was also my first time working with a RED camera. With the help of my Stash Cinematographer Edwin M. Figueroa, we achieved my goal of higher quality of production.
Horror Fuel: “The segment ‘Don’t Say These Words’ is based on a true story, is that right?”
Wickham: “The segment “Don’t Say These Words” is based on a true story, but it’s actually not my segment. It is Directed/Written/Produced by George Brianka, one of my two partners on Devil’s Five, the other being Edwin M. Figueroa who was my Cinematographer on “The Devil’s Five” and “Stash” and also Wrote/Directed the episode “Choke.”
George is using a situation that happened back in the early 80s in Northport, New York, which is on Long Island. George actually attended the same school and knew the boys who blamed Satan on murdering one of their fellow students. It was a shocking situation. Look it up on Google.
George took that horrible real life situation and wrote a story about some young adults today going back to those woods, to find out what actually happened. It’s pretty cool and I dare say quite funny at times. Kind of reminds me of a cross between Porky’s and The Evil Dead.”
Horror Fuel: “The main character in ‘Stash’ is referred to as a “Stasher”. What is that?”
Wickham: “The main character in “Stash”, “Faith Daniels” (played by actress Almog Pail) is referred to as a Geostasher because she volunteers to go on a Geostash to find some items to help a church. Writer Tim Clark had gone to Spain on business and had a situation where he experienced a good scare while using his phone on a smartphone applicated scavenger hunt. In real life, it’s called Geocaching (which millions of people play all over the world).
For the purposes of our story and to avoid any kind of legal conflict, Tim created the word “Geostash”. Tim built a story around this woman helping the church that is struggling and had some recent vandalism.The church’s leader, “Minister Malcolm” (played by actor Jonathan Weirich) receives a random phone call with someone offering to help them by matching the fundraising total they’ve made so far if someone agrees to use a phone app to find five items hidden in close proximity.
“Faith” volunteers to do this and that’s what leads her on a strange, terrifying journey that’s worse than she could ever imagine.”
Horror Fuel: “Can you tell us a little about your segment ‘Abandoned’?”
Wickham: “I also had to direct a third episode called “Abandoned.” This segment was required after one of the original five directors decided to walk away from the entire project, taking his film with him.
My focus with “Abandoned” was on making a film that was very short and would get the audience’s attention. I felt it was important to make such an indelible impression that everyone would want to watch the rest of the feature and could be made for the lowest possible cost.”
With “Abandoned” I didn’t want to go the crowdfunding route again and thankfully I had a great guy named David Melanson, who backed the entire film.
I also was mindful of trying to separate “Abandoned” from the other two films I made, both stylistically and from a physical production stance. So I purposely choose a small cast & crew of 15 total people, which was also necessary due to the filming locations, so we could be more stealth. Though “The Devil’s Five” and “Stash” were both shot on RED, I wanted a different look for “Abandoned.” So my DP Adrian Popescu shot the amazing look of the film on his Sony FS 700, which captured startling images with just LED and flashlights. I also felt strongly that should there a difference between the presentation approach of the films to show my filmmaking diversity and making DF a better viewing experience for the eventual audience.
“Abandoned” was made strictly during the day with no night photography, which also reduced the cost. I implemented screenwriting/storytelling/cinematic techniques not used on the other two films I directed.
There were also marketing elements I felt we needed to get from “Abandoned” that we lost from the segment taken away, so I instituted those in a natural fashion into the storyline of “Abandoned.”
“Abandoned”/”Stash” Editor Jason Pollock took me a photo shoot he did with a model in a dilapidated, legendary vacant institution. This visit inspired me to write the screenplay for “Abandoned.” In truth, I took a real life situation and made it go terribly wrong.”
Horror Fuel: “When can genre fans expect ‘Devil’s Five’ to be released?”
Wickham: “The only thing I can say in terms of when Devil’s Five will be released is that we have the Red Carpet World Premiere taking place at the Seaford Cinemas in Seaford New York on Sunday, October 22nd at 8 p.m.
Beyond that, we are going to have to explore the normal sequence of events that include film festivals and landing a distributor. We don’t look at this as a negative thing because we have a movie that is scary, fun and will be totally entertaining for a paying audience. A distribution company is going to want to pick it up.We are excited about the possibilities we have in terms of getting the film out to a global audience.”
Horror Fuel: “Besides writing and directing you are also the president of Mantaray Pictures, what is that like?”
Wickham: “Being the president of Mantaray Pictures LLC is very worthwhile and something that brings me great joy.
The company represents my work as a filmmaker and journalist. Over the past three or four years, I’ve decided to sway the focus of my work to filmmaking almost exclusively.
I did this because a good friend of mine Jason Alvino made a very telling comment that really resonated with me. He said something like if you want to be a filmmaker, you have to make films. So I stopped writing reviews like I use to. Since that time I’ve done more as a filmmaker in the last four years than I did in the previous 10-15 years combined.
But what’s really great about being the President of my own company is that I can do what I want, when I want. I’m not saying it’s easy to do this, but I don’t have to answer to anyone else.”
Horror Fuel: “What sparked your love for the horror genre?”
Wickham: “I have been a fan of the horror genre since I was a 3 or 4-year-old little boy. My dad used to work at nights, so when he would come home, I’d stay up to watch what was on TV to spend time with him. At that time it was old Universal horror films and Japanese monster movies. So it’s basically been a lifelong relationship between me and horror ever since.”
Horror Fuel: “How old were you when you knew you wanted to make films?”
Wickham: “What got me interested in filmmaking itself and specifically directing was in 1978 seeing John Carpenter’s Halloween. That film left a really lasting impression on me. After seeing “Michael Myers” chase “Laurie Strode” (Jamie Lee Curtis) around in that landmark suspenseful masterpiece, I started to think about working in film, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity.
Four years later in 1982, I saw John Carpenter’s The Thing during its theatrical release. I was so blown away by it that when I walked out of the theater I couldn’t help but look at the poster hanging outside. It was only at that moment that I realized, believe or not, that the same guy’s name was on the poster that made Halloween. It was at that very second I decided I wanted to do what John Carpenter did to me twice.
John Carpenter’s The Thing was released on June 25th, 1982, so that would have made me 16 years old when I decided I wanted to make films.
Horror Fuel: “What other projects do you have coming in 2017 and 2018?”
Wickham: “Besides marketing/promoting finding distribution for Devil’s Five, I have a webcam based horror film called Gruesome Threesome that will begin its editing phase soon. I just approved the sound mix for “Abandoned” that Sound Designer Bryan Lopes was handling, so now Bryan will begin the editing process on Gruesome.
Gruesome Threesome is actually another anthology of sorts, taking three of my older movies unavailable to the public: “The Downfall of Johnny Garrett” and “Stalk”, which both were part of the film Evil Streets (which is no longer available) and combine them with Hair of the Dog and a new wraparound segment we shot back in February.
My filmmaking friend James Balsamo actually inspired me to come up with this film. Last fall, James was at my house when we were showing each other’s work. Afterwards, he asked if the public was able to see my older films. When I said no, he suggested coming up with a new wraparound segment and call it a new feature length movie. He really enjoyed the films and was certain there was an audience that wants to buy or stream them. So Gruesome Threesome will be the platform to make them available for the world to see.
The new wraparound was written by Hair of the Dog/Stash writer Timothy David Clark. Tim came up with another witty piece that not only entertains and provides his trademark humor and also ties into the older movies in a horrific, shocking way.
I also choose to work again with Director of Photography Adrian Popescu because we have such a wonderful chemistry. I cast one of “The Devil’s Five” actresses, Chanise Renae, who beat out some good competition to play the lead with up & coming actor John Logan. They make for a really likable couple and John’s mother is played with zest by actress Linda Collins.
Beyond that, I have a political thriller I’m set to direct called Enhanced Interrogation. It’s a timely controversial piece Written & Produced by Stephen Martino and Darryl Brooks. The movie will be shot in Trenton, New Jersey and once they secure funding, we’re all set to go.
I find Enhanced Interrogation a very exciting project because it will allow me to explore another genre. I’ve got a strong vision for the film and have every shot annotated in my shooting script. I cast “The Devil’s Five” actor Kevin Cusick to play the Director of the FBI. Abandoned/Gruesome Threesome cinematographer Adrian Popescu will be filming it for me, as we continue our dynamic cinematic relationship as director and DP.
Also, Adrian recently mentioned an interest in doing a web series together and Tim Clark has a slasher script we may pursue as well.”
As soon as a release date is announced for Devil’s Five and Gruesome Threesome we will let you know. Be sure to follow Terry Wickham on Facebook and the Twitter account for Devil’s Fiveand Stash, and visit the website for Manta Ray Pictures and Twitter page for more on this film and others.
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