Michelle Aseltine, a horror movie producer and line producer based in Toronto, remembers the time before she met her now two best friends and colleagues.
“I did not like any kind of scary movie, because I hate being scared,” she said.
It wasn’t until 2016, when she got the opportunity to produce a horror movie with Alex Lee Williams and Jay Hewitt-Drakulic, that her opinion drastically shifted.
Aseltine and Williams — who graduated from the TV broadcasting program at Algonquin — and Drakulic, won the CineCoup Film Accelerator competition back in 2015 and were given $1 million in funding to produce a movie that involves a grandiose kind of conspiracy.
“The passion that they have for scary movies; it is more than just getting scared. It’s about the filmmaker techniques that make it more than just scary movies. Because of that perspective, I now appreciate scary movies,” Aseltine said.
Indeed, it is possible to separate the horror films into many categories, but two stand out especially: the bloody horror movies and those that rather address the psychological side of terror.
The horror movie Hellmington, the final product of three years of work, attaches more of a psychological tension. Aseltine explained that the main character goes through a breakdown psychologically and that this particularity itself is more terrifying than bloody movies.
“But there’s some blood in it too,” she said.
The final product represents Williams and Drakulic’s vision of horror movies, featuring real-life characters in odd situations with a strong touch of dark humour.
“We’re really into dark comedy so we like to weave humour into a situation where you might not think that the situation would carry humour,” said Williams.
“So Hellmington is a horror movie thriller, a psychological thriller, but it’s also a comedy because there’s a lot of funny scenes,” added Drakulic.
What the producers mean by a “dark comedy” is to create situations that can speak to different reactions. They aim to make the spectators feel uncomfortable to the point of not knowing whether or not they’re supposed to laugh.
“We want people to almost feel like they’re taking part in the crime that’s being committed,” said Williams. “We don’t want people to feel uncomfortable in a way they’re watching something that they don’t comprehend or something that’s truly despicable. No, we want people to feel uncomfortable like, you know, in those inappropriate times when you’re trying not to laugh but you feel like you need to, like laughing at a funeral or something like that.”
The trailer that was released in March already stimulates the public’s imagination, giving us a first glimpse of a not-so-fictional world where awkward mixed with comedy can give life to horror stories.
The official release date of Hellmington hasn’t been announced yet but Aseltine assured that it would be out in Canadian theatres later this year.
“This movie is our baby and it’s ready to be shown to the world,” said Aseltine.
“We just hope it leaves an impression on people,” said Williams. “I really just hope that it connects with somebody who identifies with our weird aesthetic and dark humour. I just want some weird kid out there to just be like ‘yeah I get Hellmington on a really deep level’ because in some wayit speaks directly to him or her that would just be the best.”