Dorothy Booraem grew up in a house in the woods, neck-deep in South Carolina's Southern Gothic.
This led to a love of sci-fi and horror, which led to making movies.
The Lincoln filmmaker just completed her first feature film, "Wake the Witch," a Japanese-horror-influenced tale about three girls on a photo shoot in Wilderness Park who inadvertently, well, wake a witch, unleashing a curse upon Lincoln.
Booraem co-founded the film production company Unfiltered Entertainment a few years back with fellow Nebraska filmmakers Chad Haufschild and Andrew Johnson, and she said "Wake the Witch" is just the beginning.
We chatted with Booraem about her first feature, her love of scary stories and her spooky childhood.
How did "Wake the Witch" become your first feature?
It wasn't our first idea. I was writing this first-person consumer camera point-of-view thing that was all about aliens that are somehow connected to the Masons, and they have their headquarters in the basement of the Lincoln Capitol. I got to the end of writing it, and things were exploding and the gateway had opened. I just thought, what am I doing? Giant alien spiders? We can't make this story.
So you went smaller.
I got out a yellow legal pad and made a list of what we could do. I started thinking Wilderness Park would be a really cool place to shoot. I love Wilderness Park. It is both beautiful and creepy. So I made up this urban legend. It goes that a long time ago in Lincoln, there were a bunch of children disappearances and murders. A group of people decided to blame this woman who lived on the edge of Wilderness Park and was rumored to be a witch. They strung her up and hung her. Then they cut her down, wrapped her body in chains and buried her in the forest.
It's been a good year for independent horror movies. Did that fuel your enthusiasm a bit?
When "Paranormal Activity" came out, we were so jealous. But here's the best thing about horror: It's wide open. What we made is not "Paranormal Activity." But there's always a chance to get distribution with horror. We didn't expect theatrical distribution with our movie. Our greatest goal is to get online with, like, Netflix or Blockbuster. You know how you walk through a Blockbuster and you see just tons of crappy horror movies with great DVD covers? That's our goal. Not the crappy part, but those are our peers. That's what we're about.
What are your favorite horror movies of the past few years?
This is ridiculous, but you saw the reboot of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," right? I love that movie. It was beautiful, really well done. Most American horror movies don't leave a lasting impact on me, though. The only movies that have scared me are the American versions of Japanese horror films and some of the Japanese horror films themselves. I found "The Grudge" so terrifying. Even like a week later, as soon as the sun would go down, ohhh ...
What did you grow up watching?
Well, my parents wouldn't let me see a horror movie for the longest time. The very first horror movie I saw in the theater was "The House in the Cemetery," and that just blew my mind.
The biggest influence on me, though, was I grew up in South Carolina in a big old house a couple of miles outside of town. It was built on the foundation of a plantation farm that had burned to the ground. It was surrounded by 100 acres of just trees and woods, and it had been owned by the folks who owned a funeral home.
When we moved in, there was formaldehyde under the sink, coffins in some of the outbuildings. I heard stories about one of the old hired hands getting cut in half by a giant saw, stories about a traveling preacher haunting the grounds. I often thought something was there. It could get super creepy, even in the broad daylight. I had a totally Southern Gothic childhood.
Reach Micah Mertes at 473-7395 or email@example.com.