LA Horror Presents: Peter Dukes

Most horror fans become enticed by the genre at a young age.  We all remember being terrified of the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys.  We’ve had nightmares after reading “Goosebumps” books under our blankets with flashlights.  We all remember being frightened on Halloween, even though our parents were close by to protect us.  Horror is a crucial part of our culture at every age, which is why LAHorror.com is proud to present Peter Dukes and Dream Seekers productions.

What Peter Dukes has created is a wide variety of horror films in a multitude of genres and, more importantly, films that inspire seasoned horror veterans as well as children young and old. “I’ve always prided myself in diversifying what it is that I do.  I have the interest in telling all sorts of stories.  I love all types of genres,” Dukes told LAHorror.com.  And his films do just that.  From whimsical and magical, to brooding and suspenseful, Dukes films are all horrifying on completely different levels.

One of the more lighthearted horror films we’ve seen yet is “The Scarecrow & The Princess.”  It’s hard not to love this movie, and the ending will leave your imagination running wild.  We must warn you that the following film is rated PG (parental guidance suggested).

Keeping in the fantastical realm, “A Goblin’s Tale” is one of those films that isn’t necessarily straight horror, but does have a sinister side in an otherwise magical story.  It stars Tiffany Giardina of Radio Disney and features some pretty excellent make-up work and design.

But children’s storytelling isn’t all that Dukes does—not even close.  “There are a lot of different types of horror out there.  My horror tends to be a little more cerebral.  A little more psychological,” Dukes said.

And that’s what makes his films so unique; it’s less of a blood and guts show and more of a mind game.  Take for instance, “Lanrete.”  Dukes takes the classic and often super gory zombie genre and spins it upside down with some terrific and disturbing results.  “I intentionally kept this film very ambiguous and I did that for very specific reasons,” Dukes explained.  And the ambiguity is what makes this film work.  While Dukes may have written a zombie film, it’s really up to audience interpretation as to what is really going on here.

Dukes latest film, “The Beast,” is another character drama that has a vicious horror twist.  The film features stellar performances by Bill Oberst Jr., Peter Le Bas and Alexander Le Bas.  The trio brings this beast to life, pun intended.

We expect to see a lot more from Peter Dukes and Dream Seekers productions.  With “The Beast” hitting the festival circuit this year as well as a plethora of other scripts in the pre-production stage, we hope that these films will continue to inspire both the young and old, fantastic and realist and living and dead alike.

For more from Peter Dukes the films of Dream Seekers Productions, please visit their official website.

LA Horror Presents: Carnival Pictures

Alexander G. Seyum has been a horror fan for life.  He remembers fondly his days as a child watching Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on VHS…over and over and over again.  After all, it was the first horror movie he ever saw and one that has stuck with him ever since.  But as Seyum grew older, he fell into the real world trap, putting his ambitions and dreams of filmmaking aside for a more practical profession.  And after five years of working in construction, he experienced a sort-of blessing in disguise.

“I was basically laid off for about a year and a half and then at that time I was saying, ‘Well, what do I really want to do with myself?  Am I really gonna, you know, stick to construction for the rest of my life or am I really gonna make a change and do film?’” Seyum told LAHorror.com.  And after his brother talked to him about the LA Film School in Hollywood, Seyum took the step and enrolled.  It was then that Carnival Pictures was created.

His first film he made was “Darkmoon,” a campy yet sinister werewolf flick.  “I was inspired by ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and ‘Sliver Bullet’…I used that old school 80s type of filmmaking when I did that short film.  That was the first one I ever wrote produced and directed.  I ended up being one of the top winners in the California Film Awards in 2010,” Seyum said.  “I wanted to create my first movie monster.”

In Seyum’s next film, the monster was less of flesh and blood and more in spirit.  “A Midnightmare” was his thesis film at the LA Film School and ended up being a finalist in The Directors Circle Festival of Shorts in 2011.

And while he has found success in directing horror, he knows it’s always wise to keep his options open.  “My first genre is horror.  Always will be horror.  But I can also do comedy; I can also do drama.”

Seyum is also a talented poet with a self-published book.  And while his poetry is not strictly horror, it does involve dark themes and struggles of good versus evil.  His poetry was also notably featured in the Midnight Black International Festival of Darkness in 2011.

Seyum and his production company, Carnival Pictures, are currently developing an urban crime-drama coming soon.  You can also check out Seyum’s latest piece, “El Cartel” here.

LA Horror Presents: Paul Hart-Wilden

Paul Hart-Wilden always admired the film industry of the United States from afar.  As a horror movie fan growing up in the United Kingdom, Hart-Wilden often dreamed of coming to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking.  “I was doing film and writing back in the UK anyways, but Hollywood’s where it’s at,” Hart-Wilden said.  And for the past 11 years, Hollywood is exactly where Hart-Wilden has been.

“There seems to be something in horror, that, in the fandom of it, encourages you to actually become part of the business that creates it,” Hart-Wilden told LAHorror.com.  He started creating his own horror while working as a production assistant in the UK. Hart-Wilden was tasked with delivering film to developers, which involved a daily 10 hour train ride.  It was there that he wrote his first script.

“I found myself stuck on a train or a series of trains for 10 hours a day… [so I thought,] how about I use that time productively?  So, I just went into a store at the Broadway station, picked up a note pad and a pen, sat down, had an idea, and I started writing a script…then I went out and sold it.  Never been that easy since,” he recounted.

The script, “Living Doll,” was released in the US in 1990. “Living Doll” follows a seemingly normal guy with some not so normal urges.   But that’s the type of horror Hart-Wilden is typically drawn to.

“I found myself much more drawn to characters like Ed Gein because I kind of figured that it doesn’t matter what you create or imagine. Somebody out there has either done it or done it worse or is doing it now and you’ll be finding out in six months or six years or a lifetime later,” he explained.

Hart-Wilden’s next film, “Skinner,” is also about a young man trying to fit in…to women’s skin, that is.  While “Skinner” was a little under appreciated at the time of its release, Hart-Wilden still holds a special place in his heart for the film and is currently on a quest to find the original master negative in effort to get a re-mastered and re-distributed project.

Hart-Wilden has also been a director of several horror pieces.  He has recently directed two short films, “The Pack” and “Meredith,” for a film anthology entitled “Obits,” co-directed by Joel Umbaugh.  “Obits” premiered at the 2010 Los Angeles Screamfest.

His latest film, “Wolf Town,” co-written by writing partner Asabi Lee, is a favorite amongst horror fans and showcases a different type of real-world killer .  “With Wolf Town, a producer friend of mine came to me and said, ‘I have a ghost town.  I have some wolves.  Do you want to make a movie?'” Hart-Wilden said.  Two months later to the day, the filming of “Wolf Town” was completed.

Hart-Wilden has also notably self-published a horror anthology entitled “Broken Bones,” a collection of short horror stories that he has written over his the years.  Hart-Wilden laughed as he reflected as his time as a writer.  “It’s certainly not a very social thing to do…when you’re out writing, you’re stuck in your home on your own. Your boss is yourself.  You hate your boss and you hate your work and you hate all of your work colleagues and you don’t have any work colleagues.”

Well, if horror films have taught us anything, it’s that isolation can create some wicked horror.

You can check out other work by Paul Hart-Wilden on his official website or his vimeo page.  His book “Broken Bones” is available for purchase as well as digital download.