Local filmmaker Henrique Couto has just had his first experience into the huge fundraising website Kickstarter wrap up. He shows signs of exhaustion and fatigue. Almost as if he personally executed his campaign like a Jerry Lewis televised marathon on the local television channel. He quickly perks up, though. It truly is amazing. Immediately, his attitude changes and it’s as if he suddenly took some miracle pill that completely wiped out any tiredness that was rummaging around him.
This isn’t the first time Couto went to trying out crowd funding. He first tried indiegogo.com to help get his first family film, A Bulldog For Christmas, up and rolling back in March of last year. The movie centered on a cynical college student that was on Christmas vacation and then was transformed into a bulldog. The college student needed to learn the true meaning of the holiday spirit, along with what being part of a loving family entails in order to become her normal self again. Couto wanted to make the goal he set of $1600, which would help feed the cast during production, hire composer Buzz Amato to do the music score of the film, and help with the manufacturing with the DVD and Blu Ray copies of the film. Couto was able to raise over $2400.
With the success of the first one in the books, Couto looked to Kickstarter to go and help get his one of his newest projects he currently is working on, the dark comedy Awkward Thanksgiving. Like A Bulldog For Christmas, Couto wanted to do the same things with Awkward Thanksgiving with the post production, music, and treating his actors to a great meal or two. Unlike Indiegogo, Couto knew that with Kickstarter you make your goal or you get nothing at all. The goal was set a little higher-$2400. Within the first 24 hours, the goal was made. At the end of the drive, the movie raised over $6000.
Couto continues to deliver micro-budgeted films that captivate his audiences all around the world. With his first voyage in comedy Depression: The Movie, to A Bulldog For Christmas hopefully being released nationwide later this year, and coming soon Awkward Thanksgiving, it’s clear to see the Couto continues to dive into the realm of different genres. For most that know better, the true passion that this director has when it comes to his work is producing horror and suspenseful films. Friday night, Couto will be releasing his newest film, Haunted House on Sorority Row at Englewood Cinemas.
Haunted House on Sorority Row centers around a group of young college girls who have become disenchanted with the other sororities on campus. The leader of the group has located a house that is a little outside of town. When the girls are checking out the house, they learn that there has been some talk that it’s haunted. The girls brush it off, and purchased the house. After doing some repairs and refurbishing of the home, the fledgling sorority is ready to get some new recruits in to be with the first four girls. As soon as they unpack and start to get situated, some dark and disturbing incidents start to occur. The screenplay writer, John Oak Dalton, along with Couto take these young girls through psychological horror as they try to find out what’s truly the reasoning for what is happening between the four walls. “It really is about you have to face your fear if you want to move on”, explains Couto. “Otherwise, it will kill you.”
The movie was shot in Waynesville, Ohio in a house that actually belongs to a member of the production’s family. Owned by at least eight individuals in the family, the house is primary used for storage and for family gatherings. “We didn’t know that it had a basement”, Couto says. “It turns out that it had a root cellar with a basement…and it’s terrifying. To walk down into, it’s scary. So, we have some good scenes down there.” The filming didn’t take long, only taking two weekends. With the work on Haunted House on Sorority Row, Couto decided to throw out his normal ways of recording and really let loose. He experimented with different camera angels, different lightning, and even tinkered around with fog. What viewers should expect is a movie that is terrifying, and will make sit at the edge of your seat. “I’ve been making horror movies on and off for a long time, and I think that this is the scariest thing I’ve made”, proclaims Couto. “The combination of experience and the playground that I had to work with, I was able to make a scarier movie. Its visually scary. I feel like once you are in that house, you aren’t getting out.” When you hear Couto discuss Haunted House on Sorority Row, you see and hear how excited he is about this film. “The movie has so much set pieces, special effects, makeup…it’s hugely ambitious”, declares Couto.
After making Haunted House on Sorority Row, Couto mentioned that he wants to make another film that involves ghosts. “I enjoyed the experimenting”, explained Couto.
What Couto doesn’t realize-he is always experimenting.
The world premiere of Haunted House On Sorority Row will be shown at Englewood Cinemas on Friday night, February 21. 10pm showing. $8 admission.