Archive for The Hanover House

Bonfire Films: Suffer the Little Children (2015): A Short Film Review

Posted in Bonfire Films, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Maine-based production company Bonfire Films are a rising name on the indie genre scene and there’s no one better than them to take on the works of the great Stephen King. Suffer the Little Children is the latest crowd-funded film from Husband and Wife team Corey (Director) and Haley Norman (Writer) and an adaptation of the short story of the same name from King’s 1993 anthology Nightmares and Dreamscapes. Suffer the Little Children provides Bonfire Films with another solid short film that’s both darkly twisted and entertaining.

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Having previously starred in Norman’s feature film The Hanover House, Anne Bobby of Nightbreed fame makes another return to the horror genre taking on the role of the paranoid Ms. Sidley; an ageing primary school teacher who has suspicions that something’s not quite right with her young pupils!

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Bobby steals the show as the flustered, lonely teacher with a morally questionable agenda. Ms Sidley is a complex character in which Bobby portrays spectacularly. The film translates over from the source material incredibly well; whereas with a written story we’re provided with description and a deeper understanding of what a character is thinking, in film its down to the visuals and Suffer the Little Children is reliant on Bobby’s performance. In twenty-two minutes, she does a tremendous job by bringing this emotive character to life who we can empathize with on some level but also leaves us wondering if she’s unhinged or paranoid?

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The second stand-out performance comes from Andrew Lyndaker, who previously starred in Norman’s short Tickle (2014). Lyndaker is a promising young actor and does an effective job at playing the “creepy child” archetype in this. “Tomorrow, something bad will happen” his school-boy character Robert warns Ms. Sidley convincinly, creating unsettling tension.

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Norman is a fan of old-school horror which is evident in the previously mentioned Tickle and his 2013 offering NatalSuffer the Little Children most certainly has a 80s vibe about it and echoes back to King’s 1984 classic Children of the Corn in tone and is slightly reminiscent of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) with the idea of something shadowy lurking in the school hallway. For a film with a chilling subject matter, Suffer the Little Children is vibrant in its lighting and cinematography, with the brightly lit class room signifying innocence which makes it all the more creepy as the film unfolds. As with Norman’s previous films, Suffer the Little Children is expertly-shot and highly professional.

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Its an ambiguous film that raises moralistic questions. While its a little gory in places, the real horror lies in the psychological aspects. Its no surprise that Suffer the Little Children has already won TWO well-deserved awards at this year’s HorrorHound Weekend all the way in Indianapolis for Best Short Film and Best Actress for Anne Bobby, which was tweeted by her former director, genre legend, Clive Barker.

With another successful film in the bag, I can’t wait to see what Bonfire Films have in store for Horror fans next!

http://bonfirefilmsonline.com/


Reviews:

Tickle: damnationland-2014-tickle-bonfire-films

Natal: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/damnationland-2013-natal/

The Hanover House: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/the-house-thats-always-been-waiting-for-you-a-review-of-the-hanover-house-2013/

Interview with Corey Norman: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/horror-hauntings-the-hanover-house-an-interview-with-director-corey-norman/


Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

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Stephen King’s ‘Suffer the Little Children’ to be adapted by Bonfire Films.

Posted in Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Maine based collaborative team Corey and Haley Norman of Bonfire Films are set to bring Stephen King’s short story Suffer the Little Children to life with their latest film. Hardcore King fans will be familiar with the tale from his 1993 collection; Nightmares and Dreamscapes despite being initially published in 1972. Suffer the Little Children centres on a third grade teacher who starts to become suspicious that her young pupils are possessed. According to The Great Stephen King Universe, the tale has been described as an “effective chiller” as there is certainly nothing more terrifying that the destruction of innocence. Nightbreed actress Anne Bobby who has previously worked on Bonfire Films previous feature will star in Suffer the Little Children as lead character Ms. Sidley. Bobby ensures us that the movie is guaranteed to “scare the crap out of you” as it did her reading it.

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The Hanover House filmmakers need our support to make this dreamscape a reality! The Norman’s require the help of the fans to achieve this fantastic project. Over on indiegogo they have set up a campaign with some must have perks on offer from signed posters to a copy of their short film Tickle to a name in the credits; there’s even opportunities to make a cameo in the film as a teacher (no dialogue role) and attend its eventual premiere. Other than donating, you can raise awareness by sharing the campaign page over various social media. Being given the rights to adapt the works of King comes full circle for the writing/directing team who originate from Portland, Maine just like the iconic author. There is no doubt that this is where some of the best American horror comes from.

Bonfire Films have achieved various awards for their work so far at horror festivals across the US including best short film, best feature film and best director.

http://bonfirefilmsonline.com/awards/

Find out more about how you can help Suffer the Little Children:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/suffer-the-little-children–3/x/8060452#/story

Check out my reviews for their previous work here:

The Hanover House (Feature)

Tickle (Short)

Natal (Short)

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Damnationland 2014: Tickle (Bonfire Films).

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

On October 17th, the Damnationland Horror Festival located in Maine returns for its fifth fright-tastic year showcasing a selection of innovative and unusual short films. Screening at the State Theatre in Portland, Damnationland’s fifth year will present festival-goers with six shocking shorts on offer. One of those short film’s titled Tickle,comes from awesome, independent genre company Bonfire Films, led by filmmaker Corey Norman. Corey and his team launched a Kickstarter campaign back in August in order to raise funds to make this project possible which was successfully achieved. After viewing several films directed by Corey Norman including ambitious, supernatural feature The Hanover House, I truly believe in this company and admire their ability to create horror movies for true genre fans reminding us what we adore about horror.

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Written by Haley Norman, Tickle is a pure, classic throwback to one of the most exciting times in the genre, the 1980’s; when horror got gorier and anxieties in society were much more prominent. Horror movies used our every day fears as a metaphorical entity to blur the lines between reality and fantasy, Tickle brings this notion back. Part monster movie, part urban legend, Tickle is sure to supply the Damnationland audience with equal amounts of laughs and scares. Haley’s script captures a piece of nostalgia as the tale of the babysitter, a young boy and a scary bedtime story unfolds on screen. Casey Turner (Shannon in The Hanover House) takes on a fun role as Trudy, the semi-responsible babysitter who doesn’t let Charlie (Andrew Lyndaker) stay up and watch scary movies but allows his imagination to run wild with a chilling story about TicTac the Tickle Monster! Turner relishes in a charismatic performance while young Lyndaker is excellent for a young performer and proves he has heaps of potential as an actor. The energetic pop-style score provides the film with a feel for the time period its set in.

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Tickle begins with a light-hearted tone, its tongue is placed firmly in its cheek which creates a well-paced build up for the dark shift in approach the short later takes. Without giving away too much, the make-up and visual effects are done exceptionally well. Its skilfully shot with flawless cinematography that captures the essence of its Halloween night setting.

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Tickle has fun with the codes and conventions of a traditional 80’s slasher and knows exactly what its going for. Its self-referential, look out for the nod to last year’s Damnationland entry, Natal (2013). Damnationland’s slogan indicates that this is the way life should bleed but this year its all about the way life should Tickle!

For more information on Damnationland’s schedule and general info visit: http://www.damnationland.com/films/

Check out the official festival trailer here:

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

 

Damnationland 2014: Tickle, a Kickstarter campaign from Bonfire Films.

Posted in Horror Festivals, Press Release with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Just wanted to share this awesome Kickstarter  campaign with my followers. Corey Norman of independent production company Bonfire Films (The Hanover House (feature), Natal (short)) is planning to shoot an all new short film titled Tickle. Written by Haley Norman, Tickle intends to be the embodiment of 80’s gore horror, echoing back to a well-loved era of the genre which saw a slew of dynamic films from Basket Case to An American Werewolf in London to The Evil Dead as well as the decade where the classic slasher really took off. The team are hoping to raise a total of $1, 200 in order to contribute towards the cost of practical effects (a critical aesthetic of 80’s horror cinema), costume, props, food for everyone on set and lens rental.

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Maine-based Bonfire Films are responsible for creating gripping, well-crafted horror films that fans can truly appreciate. There’s no doubt that Tickle won’t be completely awesome. Their 2013 short Natal premièred at the Damnationland Festival, which specifically showcases local movies within the Maine area, so let’s ensure that Tickle will be just as successful. The aim is to have the short screened at Damnationland’s fifth festival year later in 2014. Their recent feature, The Hanover House had its world premiere this year at the Dead at the Drive-in festival. There is an option via the Kickstarter page if you’d like to make a donation, however feel free to simply share the campaign info around. Let’s make Tickle happen!

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

‘The House That’s always been waiting for you!’ A Review of The Hanover House (2013).

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

The Hanover House (2013) is the debut feature film from Bonfire Films and director, editor and co-writer, Corey Norman. Since 2009, Norman and his independent production company have produced several genre shorts of a high standard including the recent, Natal (2013). Now with The Hanover House; the team can demonstrate their talents with an extended run-time compared to their previous work.

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A disturbing, psychological and supernatural horror/ thriller, The Hanover House is focused on the grief process and how a man must come to terms with the death of his father while placed in an extraordinary situation. Robert Foster (Brian Chamberlain) is recently married with a baby on the way. Following the devastating news of his father’s death, he and his wife Shannon (Casey Turner) return to Hanover to attend the funeral. Following a difficult encounter with his estranged mother Martha (Anne Bobby) and her lover Fred (David Shaffer), who is also Robert’s uncle, Robert and Shannon set off home. During the car journey they are involved in a freak accident which sees Robert run down a young girl. In a desperate search for help, the couple are separated and Robert stumbles on an old, gothic house which unbeknown to him has always been waiting for him. Corey and Haley Norman, the writers of the film deliver a strong script to accommodate the suspenseful and enigmatic plot.

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Shot on a haunted location in Maine, where Bonfire Films are based, The Hanover House is a genuinely creepy ghost story that works on several levels. It deals with family conflict and painful memories that can be evoked through grief which creates high drama. Tonally it is very interesting as the majority of the first act comes across as a social realist film but it soon descends into the paranormal and unknown, from then on plenty of surreal moments are captured.
Echoing classic haunted house films such as The Amityville Horror (1979) in terms of its aesthetics, and taking inspiration from Maine’s most famous genre author Stephen King with references to The Shining (1980), The Hanover House delivers some genuine, thought-provoking scares. The performances from Brian Chamberlain as Robert and Casey Turner as Shannon make powerful viewing as they deal with their individual demons within the house and leave the audience wondering if they’ll overcome them. Flashbacks are used to bring in more depth to the characterizations while eliminating exposition, keeping the blend of supernatural and drama consistent.

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Corey Norman’s editing techniques are one of the most impressive factors within the film. With fast paced cuts consisting of disturbing imagery in place to ramp up the tension during the more frightening sequences. Shot during a blizzard, the wintery setting works in the films favor capturing the coldness of Robert’s character and the darkness surrounding his past.
One of the most significant aspects of The Hanover House is that it marks Anne Bobby’s return to the horror genre. Known for her role as Lori in Night Breed (1990) which recently received restoration treatment and has circulated several film festivals all over the world, her character in The Hanover House, Martha is a far cry from what horror enthusiasts have previously seen her in, demonstrating her versatility as an actress. Martha is Robert’s self-indulgent mother, whom he has had a difficult relationship with. She is the film’s loose cannon and representative of Robert’s unhappy childhood, providing a sense of complexity and impacting on his relationship with Shannon.

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The farmhouse used as the film’s main setting allegedly holds a few real spooks of its own. The crew reported seeing the figure of an old man lurking around as well as shadow people. This certainly would have created an atmosphere on set and incorporates a lot more unease when viewing the film.

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The effects provided by set designer Eric Matheson are of a high quality. They complement the slow-burning pace of the film and come in at unexpected moments, heightening the suspenseful nature of what’s on the screen as well as the creepy style of the house itself. Beginning subtly, the special effects build up gradually becoming more impressive as they go on. There’s even some gory elements in place which is done satisfyingly without going overboard, in order to leave the viewer with an uncomfortable queasiness as the film goes into extremely dark territory.
With the makings of a classic haunted house flick with added emotional depth, The Hanover House will pull you in and keep you in its clutches from beginning till end.

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The Hanover House will be receiving its world premiere on May 9th at the Dead at the Drive-In Horror Festival 2014. If you’re around the Saco drive-in in Portland between the 9th and 10th of May I highly recommend attending the screening.

Visit the official website for more details: http://www.thehanoverhousefilm.com/

For my interview with Corey Norman regarding the behind-the-scenes of The Hanover House, click here.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Damnationland 2013: Natal

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Last time Corey Norman’s work was discussed on Hayley’s Horror Reviews was in relation to his up and coming feature film The Hanover House. Since wrapping up on the film, Corey and his team Bonfire Films had the opportunity to create a 27 minute short titled Natal. Natal is making its premiere on October 18th at the Damnationland horror festival located in Portland, ME. Damnationland supports independent filmmaking by showcasing a number of short films created  in Maine, tailored especially for the Halloween season. But that’s not the only connection Maine has to the horror genre. As most die hard fans will be aware its the birth place of iconic horror author Stephen King; and if his spine-chilling novels have taught us anything, its guaranteed something out of the ordinary is bound to take place there.

Corey has requested that Hayley’s Horror Reviews would be one of the first sites to review Natal, prior to its exciting world premiere. Therefore I would like to thank Corey very much for this opportunity which will hopefully generate some interest in the film over in the UK.

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Natal is without a doubt the perfect festival piece. As a festival-goer myself, this is definitely the type of film I’d expect to be watching amongst fellow hard core, gore-fiends. It most definitely has a nice indie tone to it, which is mainly down to the ensemble of relatively unknown actors who all gave strong performances, making the material very believable. That said, Natal comes across on a professional level, the film has some impressive cinematography which captures the beauty of the location used and gives a sharper cinematic edge to it. In one of the night time scenes, a lingering shallow focus shot really helped to ramp up the tension. Short filmmaking is a craft that requires a well-structured piece of storytelling conveyed in a short space of time, along with a good balance of pacing. Natal without a doubt achieves this, providing the audience with some intriguing well-rounded characters and an eerie little story thrown into the mix.

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Natal focuses on Carissa (Jessica Fratus), following a recent suicide attempt, her boyfriend Tristan (Erik Moody) and friends Jess (Chara Victoria Gannett) and Derek (Andrew Sawyer) bring her to her family’s former cabin for a weekend of rest. But Carissa’s world spirals out of control once again as an unnerving scratching sound consumes her sense of reality, which questions is there more going on with Carissa than she or her friends actually know? So far, the plot comes off as predictable and witnessed many times by horror enthusiasts, even sharing similarities with the recent ‘Evil Dead’ remake, however Natal proves this isn’t the case. The film soon takes a step back from familiar territory and focuses more on characterization rather than bumping everybody off in elaborate ways. What acts as a generic throwback to 80’s style cabin in the woods type films does a complete U-turn through incorporating a blend of styles, there’s elements of the slasher, possession films, body horror and teen drama. Natal does a great deal so the audience can get under Carissa’s skin and empathize with her. Even, Jess, a character who may come across as the stereotypical blonde air-head actually has more layers than it  first comes across. The conflict amongst the core group is parallel with the horror metaphor and is accompanied by a contemporary soundtrack that depicts the emotions felt. There is one moment where the soundtrack cleverly makes the entire scene which results in a moment of dark humour. There’s a strong build up  of tension  throughout resulting in a blood soaked finale that satisfies those who aren’t too squeamish. The use of sound is very effective, therefore it can only be imagined how that uncomfortable scratching will be heard once played on the big screen.

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As a short film, Natal is definitely one to watch, Corey Norman has created a tense piece of paranoid horror that stays true to existing tropes found in the genre while also bringing in his own spin on how these types of films can be done through playing it as straight horror rather than being too self-aware of the genre.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Horror Hauntings! The Hanover House: An Interview with Director Corey Norman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 29, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

In this interview I speak with Corey Norman about his upcoming film The Hanover House, a spooky haunted house flick that also focuses on the grief process. The film also marks Anne Bobby’s return  to horror, she is most famous  to genre fans for the lead female role, Lori in Night Breed.

The Plot

A freak accident leads protagonist Robert Foster to a mysterious house where he must battle his own problems as well as try to stay alive! With plenty of intrigue and a chilling plot, The Hanover House is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of this vein and not only that it was actually shot in a real haunted house, bringing in plenty of authenticity. It certainly seems a refreshing take on the haunted house sub-genre, something horror enthusiasts have been craving for a long time. In an unintended link with my last review on urban legends, potentially a ghost could well be captured on film! That would certainly be terrifying!

Corey reveals information about the film’s production, his overall vision for the film and his hopes and aspirations for the project.

The Trailer

 

1. Tell us a little bit about your upcoming film The Hanover House. How did the concept come about?

Returning from his father’s funeral, Robert Foster is faced with the unimaginable; he hits a young girl with his car. In a desperate attempt to save her life, he seeks help at a nearby farmhouse. Little does Robert know that the house has been waiting for him his entire life. Once inside its walls, Robert must overcome his own personal demon’s in an attempt to save both his wife and himself. But there’s a problem, only one may leave The Hanover House alive.

The Hanover House started with a simple idea; what if someone you lost could come back? What would you say to them? When I had lost my own father, I was thankful we had a strong relationship. He was my best friend. But then I thought, what if we hadn’t had a good relationship? What would I want to say? What would I need to say? That is how the film was born.

With my work, I like to start with a character with regular problems, and place him into an extraordinary situation.

2. Was the haunted house sub-genre something you always wanted to explore as a filmmaker?

Since I started watching horror films as a kid, the ones that would always creep me out were ghost stories. The first to really scare me was Poltergeist. I remember staying up late, afraid something would suck me into the tv.

The fun part about making a haunted house film is that there are so many possibilities to explore. I love the idea of letting the landscape of the house morph as the story progresses.

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3. Your official website reveals that the film was actually shot in a real haunted house. Did you encounter any spooky occurrences while shooting?
Prior to the production of The Hanover House, I wasn’t sure if I believed in ghosts or not. On my third night in the house, I was awoken by my two dogs standing on the edge of my bed, growling. Standing above me was the figure of an old man.

Other crew members saw shadow people, orbs and experienced cold spots.
4.Would you say the use of the location managed to bring a sense of authenticity to the actor’s performances?

There is something spooky about shooting in a haunted house at night. I definitely think this affected the mood on set. Things definitely took on a creepy vibe and our actors really let their performances reflect that.

5.The Hanover House marks Anne Bobby (Famous for her role in Clive Barker’s Night Breed) return to the horror genre. How did she come on board after such a long absence from these kind of films?

It turns out that Daniel Noel, a long time actor for Bonfire Films, was friends with Anne. They had done some theater work together some 20 years ago and had recently connected through Facebook. He asked Anne to read the script and she loved it. It was an honor to have her join our team for this project.

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6. Was it important to you to cast someone with prior experience in horror?

I don’t necessarily know if it was important to cast someone with prior horror experience. I saw this more as an opportunity to work with a strong actress who has played a diverse stable of characters. However, having name recognition in the film has helped us gain a larger following.

7. What can you tell us about the characters in the film?

Robert Foster has recently lost his father, an event that’s weighed very heavily on him, impacting his relationship with his wife. As a result, he’s really internalized a lot of his problems.

Shannon Foster is a strong woman. She stands by her husband during the good times and the bed, never losing hope in the power of matrimony.

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8. As a director, what challenges did you face during production and how did you overcome them?

Weather was our biggest problem during production. We had 36″ of snow on the first day of production, delaying the flights of both Anne Bobby and our Assistant Director Jimmy Crocco. It also slowed our travel greatly. On day 3, we received another 26″ of snow.

We traded snow for -25 degree weather in the mountains. This made our exterior shoots extremely uncomfortable. To make matters worse, our blood would freeze before even hitting the ground. On another evening, we lost half a shooting day when the pipes burst due to the cold.

9 .What was the most enjoyable experience of making The Hanover House?

It’s very hard to choose just one memorable experience from the making of the film. New Year’s Eve was definitely surreal. We spent the new year making a kitchen come to life and attack our protagonists. This meant swinging cabinets and a flurry of flying dishes.

I also really enjoyed the day we used 150 gallons of blood… But unfortunately you’ll have to see the film to see the effect itself.

It was also a dream come true to shoot on my first set. Our set designer has worked on some big name films: Crocodile Dundee 2, R.I.P.D., The Good Son, Empire Falls, Here Cones the Boom and Blown Away. Having Erik on hand to design a hallway and bathroom that not only fit my artistic vision, but also fit into the house stylistically, was incredible. Those two rooms in the house presented many logistic issues, so having this new location really helped sell my vision for the film.

10. What do you think genre fans will take away from it?

I tried to make a horror film that takes it’s time to create well rounded characters. I want the audience to develop a bond with these characters, and I want them to genuinely care whether they live or die.

11. You’ve previously stated the film will be circulating festivals in the coming months, which ones do you hope to gain screenings at?

Well, as an Indie filmmaker I definitely have set my scopes high for this one. We’d love to screen at: Toronto After Dark, New York City Horror Fest, The Mile High Horror Fest, Screamfest and Slamdance.

12. Who are your main influences within the industry? Were there any particular inspirations for The Hanover House?

I’m a huge fan of Ti West. I love his slow burn style of horror. I respect the early work of Sam Raimi and his low budget, DIY ethics. I love John Carpenter’s use of wide open, minimalistic environments. All of these directors have impacted me, but guys like: Polansky, Craven and Kubrick are large influences as well.

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13. Finally, could you tell us about your production company Bonfire Films, how did it begin? And what future projects can we expect to see in the future?

My company, Bonfire Films started in 2009 and has been making short films, music videos and commercials since. As we wrap up The Hanover House, we have entered preproduction on a short Lovecraft inspired, original horror film that will premier at the Damnationland Film Festival this October. We have also begun writing our second feature, Native American revenge film tentatively called ” The Reservation.”

I would like to thank Corey for taking part in this interview and I wish him, his cast and crew all the best with the film.

Interview By: Hayley Alice Roberts (https://www.facebook.com/HayleysMovieAndTvReviews)

Official Site for The Hanover House: http://www.thehanoverhousefilm.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHanoverHouse