The couple have made five horror films together and are finishing work on an illustrated horror-comedy novella. Their most recent film, called “Echoes of Fear,” has won seven best feature awards since it premiered last year.
After being shown at dozens of festivals and theaters across the country, the film’s next stop is Cinemark Tinseltown in Bristol, where it will be screened on Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
“It’s always exciting to be able to come back to your hometown and be able to screen a movie and show what you’re up to now so your friends and family can see it, and other people who want to see a scary little ghost movie can come out and see it, as well,” Brian said. “I’m really excited about it.”
Brian grew up in Kingsport on a family farm on the border of Tennessee and Virginia. He attended Sullivan North High School, and from there, he enrolled in film school at the University of Southern California.
Brian met Laurence in Florida while working on the audio for his thesis. The start of their collaboration was a horror feature called “Freezer,” which was filmed on Brian’s family farm in Kingsport.
“We were living in Atlanta at the time,” Brian said, “and we actually traveled every weekend, driving all the way up through Tennessee to the farm, and we shot the movie there.”
Of the five horror features they’ve made, two were filmed in Tennessee – one in Kingsport and another in Chattanooga. Their most recent, “Echoes of Fear,” was filmed predominantly in Los Angeles, where they now live, and surrounding areas.
Inspiration for the film
“Echoes of Fear” was inspired by two true news events and several strange experiences Brian and Laurence had when the moved into their Los Angeles home.
“I guess the cliché is there’s always pops and creaks and bumps in the night and everything in a house, but this one kind of took it to another level, because we started hearing pipes groan in the walls and creaks in the floor in the hallway when no one was walking at night, and there’s a weird intercom system here,” Brian said. “The house has a strange design because it’s built into the hill. So each floor kind of stair-steps back over the previous floor, and there’s a lot of hidden crawl spaces and there’s an intercom system that would start going off on its own and making noises.”
Laurence added that they once heard what sounded like a cat fight under the house but were never able to find any evidence. Perhaps the strangest occurrence of all, though, was a dark feminine figure that Brian saw in their bedroom at night.
“That’s how Brian started thinking of the story,” Laurence said, “but it wasn’t enough for a full story, so he went into two other events in the news that happened.”
The movie follows Alysa, who inherits her grandfather’s house following his sudden death from an apparent heart attack. After traveling to the house to prepare it for sale, she witnesses some strange and unexplained events inside that lead her to believe she isn’t alone there.
“Something supernatural lurks in the house and she begins to believe that her grandfather was trying to find something before he died,” the film’s synopsis states. “When her friend Steph arrives, they attempt to solve the mystery, and what they uncover together forces them to confront the diabolical truth and the evil that hides inside.”
Tickets to the screening are available now at www.tugg.com/events/echoes-of-fear-izmj. Though Brian and Laurence won’t be able to attend due to work commitments, they hope the audience has a good time watching.
“It’s a good, fun, scary, haunted house ghost movie that evolves and turns into something else, which is kind of nice,” Brian said. “A lot of people have been responding to that the way the film changes, which is kind of a surprise. It’s been great watching it with audiences for the past year, so anytime you can share it with someone on a big screen, obviously it’s even more special.”