The Case of Evil

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Synopsis
When a down-on-his-luck blues musicians travels to the country to buy a guitar he suspects was stolen from him many years earlier, he finds that its hoodoo-practicing owner is reluctant to hand over the instrument, and she’s got something more on her agenda than a simple sale.

MovieDayStart TimeEnd Time
The Case of EvilSaturday, May 23, 2015
Directors Neal Hallford & Jana Hallford will be in attendance!
0051
10:50 PM11:01 PM

Directors
Neal Hallford
Jana Hallford
Writers
Neal Hallford
Jana Hallford
Producers
Neal Hallford
Jana Hallford
Key Cast
Merrick McCartha Criminal Minds, The Fatal Heir, U Pack It, Scandal, Jesse
Rebecca Sausedo
Music
Carvin Knowles

Director: Neal Hallford & Jana Hallford
WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER Neal Hallford: An avid fan of classic Universal and Hammer horror movies, Neal credits The Plenty Scary Movie — a Tulsa late-night horror show — for his life-long love of the genre. Inspired by CINEMAGIC magazine, he first took up filmmaking as a teenager, but only began to seriously pursue making his own movies when the costs of production dropped enough that he could afford to make his cinematic dreams a reality.
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Neal holds a degree in radio, television, and film production. Prior to jumping into the arena of independent film production in 2009, he established a reputation as an award-winning writer and computer game designer, best known for the computer role-playing games “Betrayal at Krondor,” “Dungeon Siege,” “Champions of Norrath” and others. He continues to work regularly as a game designer, film producer, media consultant, and fiction author. “The Case of Evil” is his first horror film in what he hopes will be the start of a series of “vintage” horror shorts.

WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER Jana Hallford: Jana earned her entertainment credentials early, covering rockstars of the art world like Andy Warhol, Christo, and Robert Rauschenberg for her college newspaper and the La Jolla Light. She also wrote features about the still-developing San Diego ComicCon before it became the cultural phenomena that it is today. Parlaying her art writing into public relations work, she went on to do direct marketing and trade show exhibits for a book publisher. In 1994, she provided background material to the SciFi Channel for their marathons of the original Beauty and the Beast TV series. In addition to her producer’s responsibilities for Swords & Circuity Studios, she is an award-winning artist and photographer, and has had her work shown in national and international juried shows.

Director’s Statement
“The Case of Evil” is a movie firmly rooted in the past. It’s studiously anti-modern, eschewing decades of technical innovations in favor of the simpler conventions of early cinema. The camera sticks stubbornly in place, only moving when absolutely necessary. The dialogue is intentionally sentimental and “speechy”, reflective of the theatrical style that ruled in the age between the fall of Jazz and the rise of Rock and Roll. Adhering strictly to the movie code of the era, even the language is profanity-free, and the gunplay bloodless. Despite that the movie was shot and edited in 2014, we made every effort to behave as though we were a “B” film unit shooting a low-budget horror movie in 1941.

When we accepted the challenge from Horrible Imaginings Film Festival to submit a short, it would have been simpler to choose a less complicated horror genre. Slasher movies are cheap and relatively easy to film. Zombie movies rule at the box office and on television, so it would have been a more logical crowd pleaser. What we choose to do instead was follow our passion and shoot a gothic-flavored period piece that would hark back to the classic black and white movies we grew up loving. We wanted a movie that felt like you could put in on your DVD shelf right between “Dracula” and “The Wolf Man” and it wouldn’t feel out of place. You could run it as a short reel before one of those classic monster movies, and you wouldn’t even bat an eye because it had the same kind of feel, the same story rhythm. Everything had to be right, down to the pop and hiss of the audio track.

The challenge, of course, was to find two actors who could emulate that acting style and feel natural. We didn’t want camp. From day one we’d known we’d be casting Merrick because he’s already got such an old-school movie star quality about him. He’s butter on screen. He can go in an instant from the nice guy next door to a Cagney stone-cold killer, and you love him either way. With Rebecca it was more of a gamble. She was a first time-actress, but from the moment she stepped on set, she radiated this grand-dame-of-the-stage presence that simply commanded attention. She starts off like Maria Ouspenskaya, but there’s a moment that she’s got this whip-crack line delivery that you swear is Bette Davis back from the dead, and we all got chills. Once those two got rolling, it was easy to forget were were in the 21st century.
In the end, “The Case of Evil” is a love letter to a genre of film that shaped generations. We hid under the coffee table in the dark as the Triffids invaded earth, while the Creature watched his love forlornly from his black lagoon. We all grew up being told that they don’t make ’em that way any more…but that doesn’t mean we SHOULDN’T.

The Case of Evil Production Pictures

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