Just when you think you have seen every conceivable version of a found footage movie, one comes along with a fresh and unnerving angle. That movie is The Houses October Built, which was co-written and directed by Bobby Roe.
The film follows five friends who rent an RV and travel from town to town visiting the haunted houses that are put up for Halloween. However, this group isn’t terribly interesting in checking out typical haunted houses. Instead, they are determined to visit some underground Halloween haunts which promise an extremely horrifying time for those who dare to enter them. They soon discover what they’re looking for, but things then take a very, very dark turn.
At the recent press day that was held for the film, I had the chance to speak with Roe, as well as his cast (Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Mikey Roe and Jeff Larson), for an exclusive interview. We discussed where the idea for the story came from, blurring the lines between what was real and what wasn’t, which movies inspired The Houses October Built and much more.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
How did you come up with idea for The Houses October Built?
Bobby Roe: A lot of these found footage movies are so watered down. They have stiff acting, they have stories you have seen over and over again and they don’t feel real. That’s the point of the genre, right? So for us I think we wanted to immerse ourselves in a real environment, use real people and kind of tackle it that way. A lot of it is very real. There’s a lot of that stuff that’s very organic, and that’s how we tried to separate ourselves from the rest of the pack.
Zack Andrews: With found footage movies everything is too perfect. There’s a lot of just kind of cuts in this or something some people don’t understand, but it’s also very organic and you’re in the moment with us and are along for the ride. You see yourself there, you start to see yourself as one of us, and then when shit hits the fan the anxiety kicks in a lot. We didn’t set out to make the scariest movie in the world; we wanted to make something different and creepy. So it’s a different feel throughout the movie, and even afterwards you’re walking away still thinking about it and it stays with you a lot more than a possession movie.
Jeff Larson: I also think it’s a nod just to the originality of the haunted culture itself. These actors, these performers and these owners, they are always striving to top each other and to do the scariest thing. There’s never a dull moment, and to be in that environment where it’s ever evolving and ever changing and trying to capture just glimpses or what you can because there’s so much going on and there’s so much creativity, it makes a whole new film world we haven’t seen. That’s part of the fun of the film I think.
Interspersed throughout the movie are interviews with employees and performers who work at Halloween haunted houses, and it helps to delineate the line between what’s real and what is not. The more we hear from these people, the more we get the feeling that they are always looking for new ways to scare people, and they lose touch with reality. That’s especially the case with the very last interview we see in the movie.
Bobby Roe: That guy is proud of himself. He doesn’t say it on camera, but he’s been knocked out three times by patrons and that was his badge of honor. He was so happy about it (laughs).