Brian Chamberlain as Robert Foster in The
When you’re making a movie about a haunted house, it’s best if the house is actually haunted (for authenticity’s sake, of course). Fortunately for director Corey Norman, the 1883 farmhouse in Western Maine where he filmed The Hanover House was definitely home to some eerie phenomena. Over 16 days of filming in January 2013, members of the cast and crew reported seeing floating lights, feeling mysterious gusts of air, and even witnessing apparitions of an old man and a young boy.
“I get creeped out just thinking about going back to the house,” says Haley Norman, Corey’s wife and co-writer, who also served as makeup artist for this Bonfire Films production.
The Hanover House tells the story of Robert Foster (Brian Chamberlain), who, returning from his father’s funeral, hits a young girl with his car. Frantic and scared, he seeks help at a nearby farmhouse. But this isn’t just any house — for one thing, it’s his deceased dad who answers the door. Once inside, Robert must face and overcome his personal demons in order to save himself and his wife (Casey Turner). The only problem is, as the movie’s tagline tells us, “the house gets what it wants” — and only one may leave the house alive. The cast includes Anne Bobby (of Cliver Barker’s Nightbreed) as Robert’s estranged mother, Daniel Noel as his dad, Matt Delamater (who was recently cast in another feature, Desiree Van Til and Sean Mewshaw’s Tumbledown), and Jenny Anastanoff.
“I am the luckiest man on the planet to get the cast that I did,” says Norman, a Windham native who chairs the Communication and New Media department at Southern Maine Community College. “When Casey did her initial audition, I stopped breathing during one of the takes.”
He credits Chamberlain, Turner, and the rest of the cast for bringing “depth and life” to the characters beyond what viewers might expect from a horror film. “One thing that bothers me with the modern state of horror it’s about the blood and gore and it’s not really about the characters,” he says, describing The Hanover House as more of a “slow-burn horror film — from the second they step into the house until the end of the film, the tension builds and builds and builds and we don’t give the audience a chance to step out of it.”
Norman’s feature-length debut was originally slated to premiere at the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival, where it was nominated for several awards including Best Feature Film, Best Director, and Best Actress; when that event was cancelled, Ry Russell of the Saco Drive-In stepped in to offer Norman and other filmmakers the chance to show their work at the first annual Dead at the Drive-In Horror Film Festival, which takes place this weekend. Attendees can also see Norman’s previous short film, Natal (which screened Damnationland 2013), as well as the world premiere of the horror comedy How to Kill a Zombie.
THE HANOVER HOUSE @ Dead at the Drive-In | Saco Drive-In, 292 US Route 1, Saco | Friday, May 9 + Saturday, May 10 | with live music scheduled from 3-7 pm on Saturday | Full car-load $20-25 | deadatthedrivein.com or 207.284.1016