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Interview Queer Horror Director Israel Luna – new Film “Ouija Warehouse”

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Filmmaker Israel Luna completed filming of “Ouija Warehouse” in June – the fifth installment in Luna’s The Ouija Experiment franchise. The first three are American films the first distributed by Viva Pictures and the other two distributed by ITN Studios, while the fourth is a foreign film distributed by MGK Multimedia.

Israel independently made the first film titled, “The Ouija Experiment”, a remake of his 2002 film, “Is Anybody There?”, on a small budget of one-thousand two hundred dollars in 2013. The movie did so well in sales that ITN Studios picked up and funded the sequel, “Ouija: Resurrection” in 2014. The third film (inspired by the online Charlie Charlie craze) “Ouija 3: The Charlie Charlie Challenge” was released in 2016. The fourth installment is simply titled, “Ouija 4” and was made in Asia in 2015 and released in The United States the following year.

Starring in the film: Kristin Keith, Mattias Gaffoglio, Joseph Herrera, Tom Roma, Nikki Hunter, LaRandall McKind, Suha Kim, and Abby Joy Hammes (who is also assistant directing and co-producing). “Ouija Warehouse” will be Angel Rose Keeley’s first feature film after producing and starring in the short film, “Lesbian Strippers from Hell” which coincided with a screening of Luna’s other film, “Dead Don’t Die in Dallas” in 2017.

About the film:

Ouija Warehouse - Suha_Joseph

Strange happenings occur to a group of friends as they prepare for a birthday party in a large warehouse. As Kay (Kim) and best friend Noah (Herrera) find a spirit board in a storage room, they decide to contact the dead victims who died there the year before. As they witness: strange noises, disappearing objects, and a possible portal, the friends try to piece together the hidden secrets that affect them all before it’s too late.

The project will be filmed in a continuous shot (edited to appear as a single shot using long takes). Luna was inspired to do this by the early works of Alfred Hitchcock and the recent film, “1917” saying “there wasn’t any horror movies that had used this continuous shot style, so I thought I’d do it!”

We caught up with Luna for an interview:

Queer Sci Fi: What’s the connection between the five Ouija films?

Israel Luna: There is a connection between part one, two and Ouija Warehouse. Part three was a completely different storyline that had very little to do with my original story. Part 4 was an Asian film about a spirit board which was given the Ouija Experiment title for marketing purposes. Ouija Warehouse is a continuation of the end of part 2.

QSF: How has your style changed over the time doing the series? What have you learned?

IL: My style, I feel, is constantly changing but my aesthetic is the same. I love horror, but I’m a happy guy. So, my horror is not necessarily all dark, it always has humor in it as well, much like my personality. I love reaction from an audience like laughs, screams, but they’re all rooted in fun.

QSF: What was the original inspiration for the series?

IL: The inspiration for the series was being obsessed and maybe even addicted to ouija boards while I was in Jr. High and High School. I had 3 of them and played with them constantly with friends. I based the original movie on particular incidents that actually happened to us.

QSF: What makes the movie queer?

IL: I think anything I do automatically makes it queer. I base everything on me and things that have happened in my life so a lot of it comes off very relatable to anything queer. There’s always been a great connection between horror movies and the rainbow community. We relate to the surviving girl, who is constantly the outcast or the misunderstood one. We root for her because we all have to survive the terrible villain that is life – at least more than straight people.

QSF: Why did you decide to use the single shot method, and how did it impact the way you are telling this story?

IL: We shot this film during the COVID-19 self-quarantine time period. I had to challenge myself with what type of movie I could make. One location, a limited number of cast and crew, minimal visual effects, in a short time frame. The continuous shot element, not only helped make this happen, but it added an entirely new feel to the movie! I didn’t have a script either, just a detailed outline just like I shot my original Ouija Experiment. This style of shooting opened up even more possibilities with tension, suspense and especially scares!

QSF: When will the film be released? Where can people see the earlier films in the series?

IL: I’m not quite sure when it will be released. We have secured distribution through ITN Studios, but I’m thinking early 2021. You can find the other films in the series in various digital streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, TubiTV and Netflix.

For more on Luna’s work, see his website: lalunaentertainment.com

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