Hi-Fear Producers On Their Final Film In The Horror Trilogy – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Hi-Fear Producers On Their Final Film In The Horror Trilogy

Wild Eye Releasing’s Hi trilogy concludes with Hi-Fear, currently available to stream on Digital. The horror anthology features an illustrator tasked with creating four unique stories for a comic book, but each tale delves deeper into her fears, and the lines between fiction and reality blur. Brad and Josephina Sykes, executive producers and writers for all three Hi movies, also worked on projects such as Lord of the Vampires and Cold Ones. Hi-Fear’s cast includes Kristin Lorenz, David Sobel, Adam Novak, Jack L. McCord, Travis Youmans, Skyler Roberts, Alexander Brotherton, Leila Jean Davis, Bella Mozzarella, Shelno Mullins, Amanda C. Healy, Ingrid Hansen, PJ Brescia, and Julie Anne Prescott.

The husband and wife duo spoke exclusively with Screen Rant about working with different directors across the country to create the final film. Brad and Josephina Sykes noted that the trilogy was not intended, but the success of Hi-8 prompted the creation of Hi-Death and Hi-Fear. The films’ creative freedom allows each director to showcase their spin on classic horror themes. The wraparound for Hi-Fear pays homage to Creep Show and Tales from the Crypt, featuring a female comic book illustrator tasked with creating four stories with the transitions between segments using the comic book visual style.

Each segment in Hi-Fear takes place in a specific location, including a cabin in the mountains, on the streets, and in the woods. The directors filmed in different states, and the environments are reflected in the stories. Brad and Josephina Sykes noted that they were pleasantly surprised by the varied locations, making the film more visually appealing.

While the main segment, Day out of Days, could potentially be expanded into a feature-length film, the Sykes’ prefer to focus on creating excellent short films. The segments are personal experiences that the couple has accumulated throughout their time in the movie industry, pouring their life experiences into their work.

In conclusion, Hi-Fear offers a unique horror anthology experience with creative freedom and varied locations, showcasing the spin each director brings to classic horror themes. The Sykes’ personal experiences add depth to the segments, making Hi-Fear a must-watch for horror fans.

Currently available to stream on Digital, Hi-Fear is the third and final film in Wild Eye Releasing’s Hi trilogy. The horror anthology follows an illustrator who is tasked with creating four unique stories for an upcoming comic book. However, each tale forces her to delve deeper into her own fears, and the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur.

Husband and wife duo, Brad and Josephina Sykes, serve as executive producers for all three Hi movies and have written several story segments. In addition to their work on the trilogy, the couple has been involved with projects such as Lord of the Vampires and Cold Ones. Hi-Fear’s ensemble cast includes Kristin Lorenz, David Sobel, Adam Novak, Jack L. McCord, Travis Youmans, Skyler Roberts, Alexander Brotherton, Leila Jean Davis, Bella Mozzarella, Shelno Mullins, Amanda C. Healy, Ingrid Hansen, PJ Brescia, and Julie Anne Prescott.


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Brad and Josephina Sykes chat exclusively with Screen Rant about working with several different directors across the country to create the final film.

Brad And Josephina Sykes Talk Hi-Fear

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Screen Rant: This is the third movie in the Hi trilogy, and you also worked on the previous ones. Was the hope always for there to be three of these?

Brad Sykes: That was never the intention. It never really is with any horror franchise, if you think about it. Generally speaking, it’s almost a surprise to the creators that the movie catches on so well, and that’s kind of what happened with Hi-8. Us, and the other seven directors that are on it, made that movie as an experimental, fun project for us to kind of go back to our roots, because these are all veteran filmmakers who’ve been working since the 80s or 90s. So that’s how it started, and then it just did really well.

It caught on with fans and some reviewers, and it played at a lot of festivals. I think the audience could feel that we were making this movie for the love of filmmaking. It wasn’t really a commercial project. Even though it’s got plenty of commercial things in it, it was made more for enjoyment, and for us to just go out and make shorts that we thought were cool. And so everybody made their own segment that they wrote and directed and came up with their own ideas.

Josephina Sykes: Everybody has creative freedom, and I call this series of anthologies truly independent horror because nobody tells anybody what to do. We get the concepts just to check to make sure we don’t have too similar of segments, but other than that, everybody’s doing what they want to do. From Hi-8, we literally moved to Hi-Death, so everybody had a theme of death, and we had less filmmakers. We had Brad, we had Todd Sheets come back, and we had new, younger blood, as I say, Anthony Catanese.

I also wanted a female director, so we got Amanda Payton. And then people started to come to us and say, “How about a trilogy?” We thought that sounded cool. A trilogy always sounds cool. So we’re like, “Okay, let’s do Hi-Fear.” Less filmmakers, longer segments. And the theme is high fear. What are you afraid of? We never intended for this to be a trilogy, but things just happened, and we like that and enjoyed it. This is a trilogy, and we’re happy, but that’s it. We don’t want to keep going. We want to keep the freshness. We gave it our all.

Anthologies don’t always have a sense of continuity, so what did you want to bring into this final film that was in the same vein as the other two?

Brad Sykes: Like I said before, I think that what’s similar about it is that it’s representing a wide variety of types of horror. We’ve always done that from comedic horror, to urban and sociological horror, to spins on classic themes, like people that are lost in the woods, or alien invasions. These are all themes that everybody did their own spin on. What makes all these films similar is that there’s that sense of creative freedom and the sense that anything can happen.

There are a lot of different tones and moods that you experience when you watch these movies. We try to do something different every time—even with the wraparound. In the previous two films, we had different types of wraparounds. This time we wanted to go back to my personal favorites, Creep Show or Tales from the Crypt. I thought it’d be fun to homage those films now, especially since we’re making the last one, but once again, in a bit of a different way.

Josephina Sykes: We never want to copy anything, so it’s just an homage. We wanted to use this cool idea of a female comic book illustrator that has this task of coming up with four stories fast. What we thought was cool was to have the transitions between the segments use the comic book visual style.

Brad Sykes: Instead of seeing a finished comic book, we thought it’d be cool to see the drawing literally come to life. She’s coming up with these stories right as you’re watching the movie, so you’re experiencing it with her.

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As you’ve said, each segment is stylistically different, which is one of the things that makes it so unique. All the stories take place in a very different, very specific location. It’s a cabin in the mountains, on the streets, in the woods—was that intentional?

Brad Sykes: I wouldn’t say it was intentional, but what I will say is that each filmmaker is working in a different part of the US. Everybody’s filming in a different state. The environments are reflected in the stories and people write around their area, obviously. For example, we wrote Day out of Days to be filmed up in Frazier Park, which is about an hour north of LA. We’ve been there before, we knew the area, we knew that was where we wanted to film, and we knew it was something we could get access to. It was the same for all the other directors, and I don’t think it was intentional, but it was something I was very pleasantly surprised about. It’s just more appealing to look at. You don’t want to look at the same thing over and over again.

Josephina Sykes: That’s what we want, and having different filmmakers in different countries, you hope that you’re going to get that. When you get the concepts and their scripts, you’re like, “Yeah, this is going to be different. This is going to be more interior based,” or “This is going to be more outdoors.”

There were actually some stories where I wanted even more. Did you ever think about making one of these segments into a full-fledged feature?

Brad Sykes: Our main segment, Day out of Days, when we started doing post-production on it, and even before that, we were almost like, “Gee, this could almost be a feature. This concept could be expanded to a feature.” But as I’ve said before, I’d rather have a really good focused short than a padded out feature. If you expand that to feature length, it’s obviously more shooting days and more money and all of that, but it’s also about the movie itself. Would it call for a feature or a 75-minute movie? I don’t know. That’d be like double the length because it’s 35 minutes long. I think it could be done. But that segment, and the segments we’ve done on the previous films, all of these are stories that either I or Josephina had in our minds for a long time.

Josephina Sykes: They’re very personal. They’re a personal experience that we waited to pour into something we accumulated. And this was our chance to do something with that and to share our life experiences that we gathered for years working in the movie industry.

Brad Sykes: But we knew that they wouldn’t work for features. Especially the previous ones. We were like, “No, these are perfect for shorts.” But with Day out of Days, I don’t know. I probably wouldn’t do that now.

With this being the last project in the trilogy, do have anything else upcoming?

Josephina Sykes: Some we can’t talk about and some are still in phases where it’s too early.

Brad Sykes: What I can talk about right now is a movie I made called Scream Queen with Linnea Quigley. It was actually my directorial debut in LA. I made some movies before that, but it was my first professional movie in LA. Long story short, it’s never had a completely legitimate release, but it’s going to have a release later this year in the fall from Visual Vengeance/Wild Eye. Wild Eye is a distributor of Hi-Fear. I’m excited about that because that’ll be literally 25 years after we shot the movie because we shot it in 1998. It’s been a long road with this movie and a lot of false starts, as can happen with independent film sometimes. But it’s finally going to come out this fall from Visual Vengeance.

Josephina Sykes: It’s about the indie-horror world.

Brad Sykes: The other thing I have coming out later this year is a book that I wrote. I’ve written one film book in the past called Terror in the Desert, which is about desert thrillers like Hills Have Eyes. That came out in 2018, but the new book is called Neon Nightmares, and that’s a book all about 80s thrillers that are filmed in Los Angeles. All these projects we’re talking about, Hi-Fear included, because we started Hi-Fear in 2019, these projects have just taken a long time to get finished because of the nature of indie filmmaking and because of the pandemic, but now they’re all coming out this year. So this is a cool year for releases.

Josephina Sykes: We’ll do a feature too, but in terms of when and how, we just kind of have to figure things out.

Brad Sykes: Right now we’re trying to give Hi-Fear every chance to succeed because indie-film is a crowded marketplace. There are a lot of horror movies out there, and even if I’ve been doing this since the 90s, you still have to get your word out there about your movie, and you have to let people know about it.

About Hi-Fear

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An ambitious young illustrator is forced to create four of the most terrifying stories imaginable for a new comic book based on basic human fears. But with each story she creates, the stakes become higher and more deadly as she delves deeper into the nature of evil itself. From producers Brad and Josephina Sykes (Plaguers, Camp Blood, Evil Sister 2), HI-FEAR arrives this summer on digital and DVD, complete with deliciously devilish bonus features including audio commentary and a making-of.

Hi-Fear is currently available on Digital and will release on DVD on July 11th.

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