Terror Films has acquired the worldwide digital rights to Marcus McCollum’s feature film debut, “NOISE IN THE MIDDLE”.
After the sudden death of his wife Sara, Richard, a grieving and emotionally ill-equipped father, is left on his own to care for his severely, non-verbal autistic daughter Emmie. Before her death Sara had arranged for Emmy to partake in an experimental therapy and rented a house near the facility where the treatments would take place. Little does Richard know the house has a haunted history. While Richard struggles with his wife’s death he soon realizes he has no patience, skills, or even any empathy to deal with Emmie’s condition and begins to find solace in drinking and drugs. As the spirits in the house grow restless, so does the noise in Emmie’s head, awakening her psychic abilities along with Richard’s personal demons. When visions of his dead wife begin to appear, Richard is convinced she has returned to help him. But is the spirit really his wife or something more sinister sent to take them both?
Written by McCollum and Glen Kannon, the film stars John Mese (Night of the Scarecrow), Tara Buck (True Blood), Tom Konkle (Hornet), Juliette Jeffers (Lemon), Jim Holmes (How to Be a Vampire) and features Faye Hostetter as Emmie. The film was produced by McCollum and Mark Conley under their Whiskey Tango Films production shingle.
The film will make its exclusive, worldwide premiere on the premium AVOD Horror Channel, Kings of Horror Thursday, October 29th and will include a live stream chat with the filmmakers and several cast members. It will remain on the platform exclusively for 6 weeks before launching onto multiple digital platforms beginning Friday, December 11th.
This is your first feature, I believe? Well done!
Thank you so much. I had the most amazing talented people around me to finish this.
You cut your teeth on short films. What did you learn, working on shorts, that helped you better prepare for features?
I did cut my teeth on shorts. But, I got my professional start as a commercial director working on comedy campaigns for ESPN, NFL, Toyota, Honda, Bud Light etc. During that time I was shooting shorts and exploring some longer format stories. When I decided to really make the move into features and television I shot a beautiful short with Chris Mulkey, Tara Buck, and Jenica Bergere called, “Best Driver in the County”. It won some great festivals, but more importantly it allowed me to explore an autistic character and learn to play in the longer beats and drawn out the emotion I couldn’t explore in commercials.
You would’ve noticed some differences straight away, I believe?
-Yes there are some major differences in shorts and features for sure, but the principle is the same on a bigger scale. I have directed multi-million dollar commercial campaigns that would rival any feature production so the stress of job is the same, but different. The biggest issue is making sure the movie fits as a whole. How to set up the emotions for the next scene and then make sure the nuances match. I had to really step back and realize unlike commercials I can’t take twenty two takes of someone shoveling cereal in their mouth. I believe we shot this movie at 4:1. Which is a crazy number since commercials shoot about 220:1
Did you conceive Noise in the Middle as a short, originally? Or was it always a feature in your head?
Noise was always a feature from the beginning. We had full intention to finish it that way.
How hard is it to co-write a film with someone – especially during a pandemic!? How does that work?
Well we wrote it before the pandemic, but my writing partner Glen Kannon lives in Cleveland so pandemic or not we write the same. It was a hard endeavor for sure. We had a concept and a paltry amount of cash. We really just put our heads down and went to work. It took about 6 months to get the screenplay to producibility. We were actually changing it all the way up to the shoot. We had to cut scenes and adjust the script for budget and actor schedules. Glen was on the shoot the whole time and worked the script while I shot. It was a blessing to have another writer on the set. Glen also has a background in music having worked at ABC for 15 years. Glen was an EP and was instrumental in getting our wonderful score delivered.
How hard is it to write scares? Do some just happen naturally during filming?
I think real scares are deeply psychological and jump scares are there to release tension. I have much to learn, but playing that fiddle takes practice. I tended to find that the scares that worked well were almost always written into the script. Of course you roll with it when a happy coincidence happens, but I don’t rely on happy coincidences.
If this film hits, do you have a passion project you hope to get off the ground as a result of its success?
Of course. I have an exciting television horror sci-fi which I’m very excited to get off the ground as well as a feature comedy and horror script that I would love to see made.