Synopsis: THE TORMENT OF LAURIE ANN CULLOM Set in 1988, a young woman who suffers from agoraphobia soon realizes her fear of the outside world is nothing compared to what she finds lurking in the shadows of her own home.
Bio: Writer / Director/Editor and Actor Mark Dossett is a self-taught filmmaker who was inspired by the DIY approach of Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. This is Mark’s first feature film and it went on to not only get accepted into the Orlando Freak Show Horror Film Festival but also win the BEST ACTRESS award.
How did you come up with the concept?
I actually came up with the title before I even had a story. I was testing out a new 50mm lens on my Canon T2i and walked down the street toward my front door at night and thought…this looks just like something out of an 80s horror movie. So I started thinking about what would be a good title? Came up with it that night and then built the story around it from there. I basically thought what would be scarier….if your house was haunted or if there was actually someone there.
How long did it take to film?
We shot for 1 month in a rented house and then later added a bunch of outdoor footage..so it was about 2 months of actual shooting altogether.
How did you decide on the location?
I was in Orlando and to be honest…finding a house from the 80s that still looked like the 80s on the inside was a lot harder than I thought it would be to find. Everyone updates things when they are trying to sell a house but I lucked out and found one in Apopka Fl. Complete with wallpaper the kitchen and an epic stone fireplace!
What was the highlight of making the film?
Working with Shannon Scott the lead actress. She has so much talent,she made my job easy! I remember one day while we were filming the 9-1-1 scene….she started crying on cue and it freaked me out so much I asked her if she was ok and she looked at me and said…”yeah silly…your rolling aren’t ya?” I knew whoever I cast as the lead would make or break the film since she would have to carry it. As soon as I saw Shannon’s video audition…..I called her right away. I knew I found my Laurie!
What was the most difficult moment of shooting the film?
Believe it or not…the house we used as the interior was in the middle of a very busy neighborhood…meaning landscapers at all hours of the day either on our street or the street over was weed eating or cutting grass or neighbors pressure washing driveways. One of the things I quickly learned when it came to editing was that I needed more footage to connect some of the scenes. So I shot more footage 6 months later. One telltale sign is me as Sheriff Parks. When I am in the house telling Laurie about using wasp spray as a home self-defense weapon, I weigh 200 lbs. Then when I leave and I am walking to my police truck you can see I put on 15 lbs just by walking out the door. Those 15lbs came from sitting in front of a computer screen and editing for months on end. But don’t tell anyone. I’m hoping people won’t notice!
Any specific movies or stories that influenced the script?
House of The Devil got the ball rolling for me as well as The Strangers. Halloween was the first scary movie I ever saw as a kid so I knew I had to pay homage to that. Not only did I name my lead character Laurie but also had her go the closet and grab a coat hanger just like Jamie Lee Curtis did. There is also a reference to Jaws ,Die Hard and even Risky Business. I took some fun parts from those movies and threw them into mine, pretty much the same way Quentin Tarantino does in all his films. My opening credit scene was also heavily influenced by Quentin as well.
What makes this film stand out among others?
I can tell you Shannon and I agreed that Laurie would never look down a dark hallway and ask “Whos there?”. Shannon played Laurie with a lot of depth I think compared to most horror movie leads. No one wants to see this girl get hurt because you care about her. She’s smart, funny, attractive, vulnerable and tuff all at the same time. Shannon brought all that to life for the audience.
Looking back, is there anything you would change about the film: There were some scenes I had to cut out because we didn’t have a 2 story house or a second house that she runs to for safety. The movie was supposed to be 80 minutes long instead of 71 minutes. I would have loved to have shot those scenes. But they say you make 3 movies every time you make 1. Meaning you your script is one movie, then your actual shooting is your second movie then your edit is your 3rd and that’s the one everyone sees.
Any other horror projects currently in the works?
I am currently editing AS THEY FALL my second film with Shannon. It takes place in 1965 and has a Hitchcock vibe about it. Everyone I have shown the first 17 minutes too is blown away by the production value and acting in this one as well. Shannon and I have a strong attention to detail about how authentic things should look. I think you will easily see that in both films. AS THEY FALL clearly, shows how much Shannon and I have grown as filmmakers and actors. There would be no AS THEY FALL without Shannon. She is amazing!
I have turned down 3 distribution deals for THE TORMENT OF LAURIE ANN CULLOM and decided to self-release it thru VHX.TV The reason is because VHX lets me keep 90% of the revenue and they offer complete transparency when it comes to how much I have sold. You also get paid monthly. No distributor can offer that. Because I can get back 90% of the sale price I can offer it at half of what a distributor would put it on iTunes and Amazon for. I can sleep at night knowing I’m not ripping my audience off and that although I may not sell as many downloads…. at least I know when and how many and to whom. All I want to do is to be able to make enough money to eat and go make another film. I had a corporate job doing training videos as well as worked as a manager for Best Buy. I hated every minute of it. I’d rather work 80 hours for myself doing what I love vs 40 for someone else. Lets face it…in the end of this movie LIFE…we all die, so I want to at least leave something behind besides some crappy product replacement plan that is nothing more than an empty promise printed on a receipt. Trust me on that…my district manager told me that’s exactly what it was…LOL.
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