Welcome to the DoT Daily Horror Film Fest! Throughout the month, I’ll be featuring new horror every weekday. Sometimes that will be indie films, sometimes it’ll be big-name stuff, shorts, or even TV shows. Scary, funny, schlocky, quiet, eerie – something for the well-rounded horror fan. Plus interviews with filmmakers and a chance to support projects still in the works. Today’s feature is Innsmouth, an award-winning, H.P. Lovecraft-inspired short film by Izzy Lee and Francesco Massaccesi, available on DVD from Nihil Noctem Films.
The story is based on Lovecraft’s “Shadow Over Innsmouth,” about a mysterious port town north of Boston and its horrifying leader, Captain Obed Marsh. “It’s definitely a further exploration and a bit of an update, as it’s set in present time,” says Lee. “However, here in my short, Alice Marsh is the one running things, not her father, Captain Obed Marsh. And Tristan Risk is deliciously evil in her powers of seduction. But it’s also how she adds to her villainous girl gang.”
A peculiar murder leads Detective Diana Olmstead (Diana Porter)to Innsmouth, where she encounters Alice Marsh (Tristan Risk) and gets tangled up in an evil conspiracy. Lee and Massaccesi created the film for an anthology that never happened. The requirements were that the film be shocking and include death and nudity. “I thought about doing something insane and I wanted to get someone fearless,” says Lee. “Tristan Risk fits that bill as the most fearless person I know. She’d told me about a special trick she does when we were together on set last time (for another anthology project that has yet to be released), and I swore I’d put that on film somehow. Well, I did. I wrote, with my co-writer, co-producer Francesco Massaccesi, the script around her special human trick.”
That trick, which is the reveal of the film in more ways than one, includes all three of the anthology’s requirements, and has gotten some interesting reactions on the festival circuit. “It’s awesome to be in the audience when it happens,” says Lee. “A programmer at a fest I wasn’t able to attend told me that some older gentlemen choked on their popcorn! (Don’t worry, they’re okay.) Others have yelled ‘what the fuck!’ and ‘whoa!’ There have also been gasps and stunned silences. I’ll take it all.”
The main cast is all female, with a couple of men in supporting roles. “Lovecraft was notoriously squeamish about the fairer sex. Heh,” says Lee. “I wanted to create a matriarchy to throw a nod and a wink Lovecraft’s way, but also take things in a completely different direction, because fuck misogyny.”
Lee filmed in Grafton, Ma and Portsmouth, NH, not far from where Lovecraft indicated Innsmouth to be. “I happen to live near Lovecraft country, so it was easy to find cool old locations,” she says. She and Massaccesi get frequent questions about an Innsmouth feature, and they are open to the possibility. “Francesco and I are definitely considering writing it!” she says. “If anyone wants to fund the production, please let me know!”
What’s up next for Lee? “I’m working on a number of things,” she says. “There’s a Postpartum feature Chris Hallock and I are writing, a supernatural feature that’s been written (again with Chris), a Joe Lansdale adaptation/feature I’m trying to get producers interested in working with me on, and a couple of shorts. We’ll see what sticks first.”