Horror Flick Available On Shudder.com
By CHRYSTAL SAVAGE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
A Shudder original, “A Nightmare Wakes,” premieres Feb. 4 on the horror-thriller-supernatural streaming platform.
The short was filmed at the Hyde Hall National Landmark on Otsego Lake by Wild Obscura, a “by/for/about women” producer.
Directed and written by Nora Unkel, the 90-minute film follows author Mary Shelley “as she creates her masterpiece (Frankenstein), she gives birth to a monster,” the IMDb page reads.
Shudder describes itself as “a subscription service for the horror, thriller and suspense genres.”
Alix Wilton Regan stars in the film as Shelley alongside Giullian Yao Gioiello, Philippe Bowgen and a host of Cooperstown talent.
Local cast members include Jen Vos and Joelle Lachance. Vos, a curatorial administration student at the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies, has made a few small screen appearances prior to her debut in the short.
“My partner is in the film industry and I participated in some amateur student films,” Vos said.
She was originally approached by Hyde Hall’s marketing manager, John Henry Aborn, who had conducted tours at Hyde Hall.
“From leading tours to watching the transformation for the film, it was magical to see the building come to life,” Vos said.
Lachance, raised in Fly Creek, is a professional opera singer who found herself at home in November 2018. She responded to an ad looking for local talent for the film and she was selected.
“I had done everything on a stage you could think of: operas, operettas, and musicals,” she said, “but I had never tried film.”
Lachance was initially drawn to the project by a “deep love” of Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”
“I read the novel in high school and was so drawn to it,” Lachance said.
“Shelley was struggling to be taken seriously as an author at that time in her life and had just suffered a miscarriage – she was trying to create life from death,” a theme Lachance says the film does well to pay “homage” to.
“The film is not your traditional jump-scare horror, it is a dark, historical thriller that keeps elements of gothic romance as well,” Lachance said. “It’s a neat take people might not know.”
Both Vos and Lachance agree Hyde Hall was an ideal location.
“The area is breathtaking – cute and quaint,” Lachance said. “Cooperstown and the surrounding area has a lot to offer – in terms of local talent as well – and I think should be considered for future productions.”
Vos added, “I no longer live in the area, but I revisit Cooperstown and Hyde Hall in watching the film.”
“It’s such a beautiful place,” she continued. “They picked a great location to represent the film.”
“When we set about making ‘A Nightmare Wakes,’ we knew the success was hinged upon the right location,” said director Unkel.
“We looked high and low around New York but it wasn’t until we drove up the lake-side drive on a rainy gray day and saw the front door of Hyde Hall that we knew this film had a real shot,” she said.
“Odd coincidences started to occur,” she continued. “Almost every object and piece of furniture displayed in the house was to our era.”
“We needed a chapel and there was a chapel inside the house itself and weirder still, there was an original portrait of one of our main characters, Lord Byron, in the study. It was meant to be. There was no question, from the moment we laid eyes on it, to the final big hug we got from Jon Maney, this was our location,” she continued.
“The dining room takes my breath away every time I walk in and when it’s completely lit up; there’s nothing like it. I love the artwork around the house, making me feel like I’m actually stepping into history itself. I love the balcony on the topmost bedroom – that unfortunately couldn’t be fit into the film – that I remember stepping onto that first rainy day and seeing the misty lake spread across my view,” Unkel continued.
“I loved the feeling of spectral eyes on us as we worked, ensuring our utmost respect and care…I only hope that the film does some amount of justice to showcase the incredible, impeccable, and infinitely detailed work that the Hyde Hall folks have put into that gorgeous home and museum,” Unkel concluded.
The gothic period piece was filmed from September to October 2018 at Hyde Hall and takes advantage of period lighting, among other architectural attributes, alongside the “regency attire” that Vos loved so much.
The film had its world premiere at the Salem Horror Fest in October of last year and will be available on Shudder within the next few weeks.
Shudder is an “American over-the-top subscription video on demand service owned and operated by AMC Networks,” according to Wikipedia.