The gusty winds of horror are shifting away from beloved, campy slashers to high-concept horror that touches social issues and intrigues mass audiences, at least that’s what Cranked Up Films hopes.
The genre-focused label under Oscar-nominated film studio, Good Deed Entertainment is looking to do more ‘elevated horror’ films and tell unique stories in an artful and thought-provoking way. The studio completed work on its first production, a horror anthology titled Nightmare Cinema, in August of 2017. Nightmare Cinema features notable directors; Alejandro Brugués (Juan of the Dead), Ryûhei Kitamura (The Midnight Meat Train), David Slade (Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night), Joe Dante (Gremlins and The Howling) and Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers). The film, slated for a 2019 release date, will star Mickey Rourke as a projectionist in a haunted theater. Once inside, the audience is taken on a journey through five films that showcase their deepest fears and darkest secrets.
“This is an amazing time to be producing and distributing horror films,” said Nikki Stier Justice, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Good Deed Entertainment and Cranked Up Films. “Horror films have gotten a lot more respect and accolades than in the past and people are appreciating them more as an art.”
Camila Mendes and Andres Velez, Photo by Grady Justice
Cranked Up released its first film; Don’t Leave Home, written and directed by Michael Tully, in 2018. The atmospheric horror was discovered by Cranked Up at the festival circuit. “It was one of those concepts that felt unique and different,” Justice said.
The studio recently moved from sunny Los Angeles to Ohio, a location that will not just cut production costs but also naturally has the look and feel of a horror film, according to Justice. It is there they plan to start production on their two latest films, Confinement and 27 times.
Confinement is a period horror that takes place in a cabin in the dead of winter (also a little harder to capture in Los Angeles). A winter storm traps a new mother in an isolated farmhouse where she begins to fear an evil presence is after her baby.
27 Times tells the story of a young boy, haunted by visions of violent deaths, and his older brother who exploits his younger brother’s ‘gift’ for his own gain.
“A lot of these films have some sort of social issue that plays into fears. These go deeper than traditional jump scares,” said Justice.
The small, but passionate team behind Cranked Up hopes to create and distribute horror films that audiences will enjoy. “Our goal first and foremost is to create the content our consumers are craving,” Justice said.
With the success of artful and provocative films in recent years, such as Get Out, A Quiet Place and The Witch, there seems to be a niche for these high-concept horror films. The time is here, and we are excited to see what Cranked Up has in store.