WIHM8 - INDEPENDENT ARTISTS YOU NEED TO FOLLOW IN 2017

Wrapping up another amazing WiHM celebration, we thought it fun to look through the countless talented filmmakers, writers, producers, actors that have contributed amazing pieces of work to the horror genre and select a handful that have projects slated for this year. Projects that we feel, fans of the genre won't want to miss out on. Again this isn't, by an stretch of the imagination, a comprehensive list covering every known talent and project in the independent scene (lord knows we'd never finish this article if that were the case), but rather some of our site's personal favorites based on upcoming work that tickle us in that special kind of way. Like a violently swung hatchet to the face. That bloody kind of way.

Enjoy.


MATTIE DO

NOTABLE WORK - Mattie Do hit the ground running in her directorial debut with the horror-drama Chanthaly, a sometimes despairing, ghostly film, that asks, "How much are we willing to sacrifice to keep near us, those we love most?". Critically well received, Chanthaly was noted as a landmark feature representing the country's first ever horror film, let alone one directed by a woman. In 2016, Mattie continued to explore the paranormal with Dearest Sister, and also continued to add multiple layers and subtext to her films, this time exploring complicated topics such as capitalism and the class divide born from it. Much like her first film, Dearest Sister was met with the same warm reception and praise, many critics pointing to the seeming ease in which Mattie Do was able to balance horror with socioeconomic commentary. And when you realize that with Dearest Sister, Do is responsible for 2 of just over 10 total films to come out of Laos, it becomes that much easier to understand why horror fans are excited about her arrival on the scene (not to mention, why she made this list to begin with). For one, we have a hell of a talented director who's already proven her mettle with regards to filmmaking; both directed films garnering plenty of praise from both community and critics alike. Furthermore, and just as important, we now have in Mattie, a genuine opportunity to examine and understand the multiple societal facets that make up Laos in a way the genre never really had before, opening things up for refreshing takes on horror through a lens we never even knew existed; and we couldn't be more thrilled.

WHAT'S IN STORE - Mattie Do isn't one to rest on her laurels, and has wasted no time in starting production on her next film, this one, a science fiction thriller starring Siengyan Chanthalangsy. You'll recall that Chanthalangsy also played in Mattie's other film, Dearest Sister as "The Gardener". While finer plot details are still being ironed out, Mattie was gracious enough to provide a brief story description, giving us a pretty good idea on what to expect in The Long Walk:

It's a very odd story that takes place in the rural villages of the Lao countryside, year 2065. The story centers around an older man, isolated and living like a scavenger in the fringes of development. He's a forgotten hermit with ambiguous morals and a disturbed past; and when he figures out he's able to cross through time, the film becomes quite a dark study about isolation, development, regret, and of course, a time traveling serial killer. It'll be Lao's first sci-fiction thriller! 

She continues, detailing what compelled her to tackle the subject matter that provides the narrative foundation for The Long Walk

I decided to do a story like The Long Walk because whenever I'm out in the Lao country, it is kind of eye opening to see the huge difference between not just the Western world, but even the tiny capital city where I live, and the villages still lacking electricity and modern luxuries. It's 2017 now, but the disconnect in some parts of rural Laos remains huge! It made me wonder what Laos would be like in the year 2065, and where we would be.

Outside the provided information above, we were also given a sneak peak into the kind of aesthetic Mattie Do would like to shoot for with the film. Gallery of the concept pictures below:


EMMA DARK

NOTABLE WORK - 2015 saw Emma Dark break out, fangs bared, onto the independent film scene. Starting first with an atmospheric short film (which played more like a faux trailer) calling back heavily to the Italian zombie films and giallo of yore, Island of the Blind Dead gave us a very small glimpse of the kind of style Emma Dark had an eye for. But it wasn't until her vampiric action-thriller Seize the Night that we would come to better understand her true potential as a filmmaker. Absolutely nailing the look of a high production feature-film with a comparatively paltry budget, Dark proved that talent trumps budget when it really comes down to it; we certainly weren't the only ones who felt this way either. The film saw plenty of praise and critical acclaim from larger highly regarded media outlets, many of which lauded Dark's sense of style, eye for action, and engaging narrative. A successful online release of the short, Emma Dark's recognition as a "patron of the arts" for London's Misty Moon society, multiple magazine appearances, and a staring role in the horror comedy 'Frankula', Emma was assured a very bright future in the independent film scene.

WHAT'S IN STORE - Continuing her positive trajectory towards super-stardom, Emma Dark is now neck-deep in the post-production process of her next short film, an intriguing tale that deals with the properties of time in an extraordinary high-stakes life-or-death situation involving a very ordinary man in Adam Harper (Alan Austen). Details are scarce, but it's safe to say we have a science fiction horror film that, by way of its director's past performance, indicates only that the end-result will be something truly special, something truly worthy of the wait. Also, as was the case with her first two films, Emma Dark herself will thankfully be making an appearance in, what is currently titled, Salient Minus Ten


GIGI SAUL GUERRERO

NOTABLE WORK - Where do we even begin? If she isn't involved in some collaboration or community project, Gigi Saul Guerrero is busy directing, writing, or producing one of her own. From the disturbing Madre de Dios, to her provocative entry in the Mexico Barbaro anthology, and of course the wildly popular and ultra violent short, El Gigante; Luchagore indeed! Gigi is a filmmaker that lives and breathes horror in its most distilled form, and this is evident in each of the works shes either directly produced or had a hand in on some level. Regardless of her involvement, there's always one thing that's absolutely clear, she's having the time of her life making her audience squirm and no one film more demonstrative of that than her entry into last year's blood drive PSA with O Negative. A bloody message of a film that delivers, tongue firmly in cheek, on all the elements you expect from Guerrero's brand of horror. Its gory, its fun, and it has something to say. Watch it for yourself below, along with what we feel, was the short that brought Gigi the attention she eventually parlayed into a promising career:

WHAT'S IN STORE - She's being awfully tight-lipped about the next few projects coming down the line, one of which looks to be a feature-length adaptation of the novel that inspired her horror short El Gigante. Trust us, we've pried and pried but there's no cracking Gigi on the subject. Still, there's no denying the supreme talent found not just with her, but the entire Luchgore productions team. Here's what she was able to divulge:

Right now it is all about #ProjectLucha, I can not wait to reveal the real title of the show to the world, and more than so, what it's about. This has by far been the biggest challenge of my career and as a filmmaker, but at the same time it has been the greatest learning experience. 'Project Lucha' really showcases how our team at Luchagore Productions don't just focus on horror, we are able to tell other type of stories too. Our fans will be proud of this one. All I can share for now is that we are currently editing the last stretch of the show and working hard with the studio to get it finished. Yes, we worked with one of Hollywood's biggest and most well recognized studios. Other than that, the 'El Gigante' online comic is finished and we are going to have a release date soon. Lastly we are a part of a couple of anthologies to soon be announced, and filming a new short film very soon. We can't wait to keep going, 2017 is going to be crazy, but it's going to be a good one!

HEIDI MOORE

NOTABLE WORK - Referred to, by us, as "The Renaissance Woman" Heidi Moore embodies those specific traits of the kind of work ethic that can make production miracles happen, this no better exemplified than with her most recent feature-length film Dolly Deadly. Having run into multiple issues over the course of the film's development, Heidi was forced into a precarious position; a sink or swim moment as it were. Thankfully for horror fans, she met the challenge with aplomb, and took it upon herself to play multiple roles in Dolly Deadly's production. Writing, directing, producing, art, makeup, cinematography, you name the department, Heidi was involved, intimately. The result of this labor of love is an emotionally arresting film with juxtaposing visual styles that even on their own, tell much of this brutal story about abuse and self-discovery, a tale that ultimately subverts the assertion, "whatever doesn't kill us, makes us stronger". Dolly Deadly was released to high praise in the horror community, playing across multiple film festivals, receiving multiple award nominations, and eventually landing on digital video streaming services and even the Blu-Ray platform. 

UPCOMING PROJECTS - With the success found in her first feature-length outing, it was only natural that a film as ambiguous and open-ended as Dolly Deadly was, the idea of a sequel would be toyed with. Well, just recently, Heidi Moore dropped the bomb many of us were hoping she would. Dolly Deadly 2 was indeed set to be produced, only this time, the now grown tragic protagonist of the first film would be carrying out his violent tendencies in the form of song and dance. That's right, its going to be a horror-musical (rock musical to be specific)! Details are still a bit scarce as the film is currently working through its funding phase, but the partnership with HMM films gives us confidence that the final product will receive the treatment and attention it deserves, and Heidi Moore will ultimately have her magnum opus.

https://www.facebook.com/DollyDeadly2/


MONIQUE DUPREE

NOTABLE WORK - There simply isn't enough space to go through Monique Dupree's extensive body of work, at least not without devoting an entire article space to her accomplishments and involvement in the horror film industry. Probably more so than any of the other artists spotlighted here, Dupree has absolutely "been there, done that"; her spirit and love for the arts ensuring this to be an inevitability. Acting in at least 59 different films, from more mainstream to well, not mainstream, there's a good chance you've seen her performing in something! But its the later kind of work, the "not mainstream" projects that have given Monique Dupree the cult following she has. From the Troma-spirit-filled films like the self-directed Shadowhunters: Devilspeak, Bachelor Party in the Bungalow of the Damned, Bikini Bloodbath Christmas, and Return to Return to Nuke 'Em High Aka Vol, 2, or her work as a model and comic book star, to Dupree's involvement with wrestling series House of Hardcore X, the she certainly isn't going to give her fans (or herself) a chance to breathe. Notable works? Honestly, just watch, read, and listen to it all; you already know whether or not her brand of entertainment is up your alley, and if so, Tha True Original Gata has got you covered.

UPCOMING PROJECTS - Sickness, Urban Legends to Die For, Scream Queen Campfire are three projects (the first of which is completed already) that Monique Dupree will be involved in. That last one is slated for 2018. 2017 just started. Expect at least 50 other films to fill in the gaps between the ones already mentioned, plus convention appearances, more modeling, collaborations in non-film projects and probably a trip to the moon because why not...if she has time. Holy shit.


SARAH GIERCKSKY and JASMINE MARTINEZ

NOTABLE WORK - The video podcast dynamic duo only just got their YouTube start in the middle of 2015. Covering a large spread of horror films from old to new, independent to mainstream, the Bitches of Horror have taken every opportunity to involve themselves at every level in every form horror has to offer. But video production wasn't limited to just film reviews and interviews (some of which involve a couple of the woman also featured here), and it wasn't long into the year that the fledgling Bloody Fierce Productions company was launched and with it, new exciting projects for Sarah, Jasmine and crew to get involved in. No longer were they just talking films, they were making them too. Starting with the short film The Participants, Bloody Fierce Productions and along with it, Bitches of Horror, had found the start of a path that would lead them to bigger and better things. 

https://www.facebook.com/BloodyFierce/

UPCOMING PROJECTS - Sarah and Jasmine along with the the rest of the talented crew at Bloody Fierce Productions have recently wrapped on their first feature film, the horror thriller Sargad. A landmark for the team, the film is set to release later this year and promises to be a the kind of gore-filled disturbing ride the girls have been known to love covering on their show. In addition, they are hard at work producing a couple of short films such as Rotten Love and Baby Bock, both currently in post and should be also be arriving shortly this year.


HONORABLE STAFF PICKS


FINAL THOUGHTS

While we choose February to celebrate the achievements accomplished by female artists in the horror genre, it is important to understand that the spirit of "Women in Horror Month" carries through the entire year, these accomplishments demanding recognition always, and not just because of a denoted gender affixed to the type of talent in question, but mainly because they are - more than anything - talented artists, period. That in itself, always worthy of continued celebration.


IN LOVING MEMORY OF "WHIPPET"

 

 

 

 

*All portrait image bio text outside of the honorable mentions section, have been pulled from the respective IMDB actor pages*

All images are copyright of their respective owners, Thirteenth Floor does own the video and gallery images used in this article, and are all used for the purpose of this publication as defined under the Fair Use Act.