PEARLAND, TX – Every Sunday after midnight for the past two years, a group of friends has gathered at dark, old house in the backwoods of Pearland to stir up ghosts.
They were making a horror film called “Her Cry” based on the Spanish legend of La Llorona, the weeping woman.
“It’s about a lady who drowns her three kids,” says James Ezrin, lead actor in the film, explaining the legend, “and because of this great evil she committed, her ghost roams around in purgatory, if you will, searching for them… and you can hear her cry in the dead of night.”
Like the “Blair Witch Project,” the film follows a video crew investigating an area where the apparition has been spotted. “I’ve heard about La Llorona since I was a child,” says first-time actress Nichole Ceballos, “so when I heard about the film, I was kind of excited and definitely wanted to be a part of it.”
Damir Catic makes his directorial debut with “Her Cry.” He also manages the Edwards Marq-E movie theater on I-10 and recruited a lot of his cast from his co-workers. “I kind of listen to them when they talk, when they talk about movies,” says Catic, “so I pull them aside and say, ‘By the way I’m making a movie. You wanna be in it?’ and they’re like, ‘Huh?!'”
But with a little convincing and a trip to the spooky set, folks like Elizabeth Alcantar and Parker Riggs agreed. “I love stuff like this,” explains Alcantar of her fascination with horror films, “so if I get the chance to be near it or close to it, why not? I love it!”
“Her Cry” includes all sorts of scares, but the frights onset weren’t confined to the script, as Riggs explains, “Doors would shut and open by themselves, and we would ask our friends, ‘Hey, is this the way it’s supposed to be?’ and they’d say, ‘It’s just the house. It’s just the house.’ And they’d just kind of blow it off, and we’d kinda go, ‘What?!'”
“The scariest thing while we were filming was when I was left inside when it was dark in the house,” Gabrielle Santaumaro, who has the lead in the film, says. “I went through the back door to try to find anybody… and all of a sudden I hear the door slam. Right when I turned, I started hearing footsteps running at me, running at me.”
“I got so scared, I ran away and lost my shoes in the process,” she laughs. After that encounter, she made the crew swear to never leave her by herself in the house.
“Had we known what we were getting into, we’d never do it,” says Ron Gelner, executive producer on the film. “It’s such hard work, but once you’ve done it… it gets in your blood.”
“Her Cry: La Llorona Investigation” won the Gold Remi for thrillers at the 2013 WorldFest Houston International Film Festival earlier this year. It opens Friday, October 25th, across Houston, the first locally-produced film to open in multiple theaters since “The Chase” with Charlie Sheen back in ’94. Plus– it’s the only new horror movie out for Halloween.
So if you love a good scare, log onto Fandango to find out when and where it’s playing. Just make sure you get tickets before La Llorona gets you!