By Woofer McWooferson
Witchula, an Indie horror film that is the latest project to be called The Expendables of horror, has added another cast member. Joining Bill Oberst, Jr. (Zombieworld) and Marilyn Ghigliotti (Alien Armageddon) is horror icon Kane Hodder. Best known as Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, and Jason X, has a long list of credits to his name, and his addition to the cast has created quite a stir. Hodder will be playing a character named Elias Lou Warren, which has sparked speculation that some of Jason’s backstory will be examined because Jason Goes to Hell revealed that Jason’s father was named Elias. In addition, Hodder will be Stunt Coordinator, something with which he is quite familiar.
Written and directed by Marcus Bradford and Pat Kusnadi and based on a concept from Clifton Braddock Bradford, Witchula will follow a group of college exchange students who travel to a remote town on an exotic island and are subsequently hunted by a vampire-witch hybrid.
Here’s what the creators revealed in the Witchula Press Release:
Marcus Bradford has announced that his production company, MAB Studios’, new project, Witchula, has begun development. Bradford and fellow writer/producer Pat Kusnadi (The Id, The Ringing, Because We Care) have created a script that combines several sub-genres into a project that is sure to delight horror fans. Witches, werewolves, vampires, and more will be featured, with the title character, Witchula, being the first witch-vampire hybrid ever to hit the big screen. Other producers attached to the project include horror veterans Matt Chassin (Krampus the Christmas Devil, Seeking Valentina) and John Blythe (My Amityville Horror, One Day When the Rains Fell).
For his part, Bradford says Witchula has been a labor of love, “It’s been a little over 13 years (May 25, 2002) since the very first draft of Witchula was written. Conceived by a very unique ‘working title’ and a small idea/concept of how Witchula became to being from my father, Clifton Bradford… I was able to put something special together within a matter of a couple weeks.” Now here, all these years later, Marcus is about to see his labor transform from the paper to the camera to the screen.
Bradford, who is also set to direct, has tapped horror icon Maria Olsen (Lords of Salem, American Horror Story) as the title character. Olsen, who boasts over 200 credits, is well known to horror fans, not just for her diverse roles but as a staple at horror conventions as well.
“Scream king” Bill Oberst Jr. (Criminal Minds) is also set to star. Oberst, the star of the Emmy-winning film Take this Lollipop, is also one of the most familiar faces in the independent horror world and is the proud recipient of twelve acting awards, including the coveted Lon Chaney Award for excellence in horror from the FANtastic Horror Film Festival. Oberst said he is “proud and excited to be associated with such a groundbreaking film.”
Rounding out the preliminary cast members are Eileen Dietz and Marilyn Ghigliotti. Dietz, another horror staple, is best known for her portrayal of the demon in the classic film The Exorcist. Ghigliotti is also an icon, but not in the horror world: Marilyn is best known as Veronica, the estranged girlfriend in Kevin Smith’s Clerks. In recent years Ghigliotti has made her mark in independent sci-fi and horror as well, starring in films like Alien Armageddon, Starship Rising, and the soon-to-be-released Rogue Warrior.
Bradford says he is far from finished casting, and he plans to make Witchula “The Expendables of horror.” He is also not done finding crew and production partners. As of yet, there are no exact dates set for production, but Bradford promises to begin shooting sometime in mid to late 2016. Until then, there will be many more exciting announcements from production. For his part, Marcus Bradford remains humble and optimistic, “I’d like to say thank you to those who’ve followed us throughout the last year and a half. My dedicated team and I promise to give you all an awesome, character-driven, scary-suspenseful, and enjoyable film you’ll never forget!”
Bradford's own production company MAB Studios is behind Witchula, which is set for release some time in 2018. With a release date well over a year away, we may yet see even more horror icons join the cast.