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A screening of "Dark Entities," featuring writer and director Brandon McLemore, pictured above in a still from the film, will take place Saturday at Cineplanet 15 in Madison.

Watch party: Horror movie by Morgan County filmmakers to be released internationally

By Catherine Godbey

For the Enquirer

Brandon McLemore faces hours of tedious work typing out every piece of dialogue in the two-hour film “Dark Entities” — including the time each spoken line begins and ends.

But the 26-year-old Priceville man is not complaining.

“Since we are going worldwide, I have to provide a version of the film without the dialogue, but with a dialogue list. It’s a big undertaking, but it has to be done so they can dub it into different foreign languages for international distribution,” McLemore said.

The supernatural horror film, which premiered in May to a sold-out audience at the Cinemark in Bridge Street, will be distributed internationally through the Los Angeles-based company Terror Films next year.

“This all feels very surreal. I don’t think it’s fully set in yet,” said McLemore, who wrote, directed and acted in “Dark Entities.” “We’re just independent filmmakers from north Alabama who made a film (that) a distribution company in Hollywood picked up, and not just for the United States and North America, but the whole world.”

To celebrate signing with Terror Films, a screening of a director’s cut of “Dark Entities” will take place at Cineplanet 15, 2100 Hughes Road, Madison, on Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available on the “Dark Entities” Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

“Since this is October and ‘Dark Entities’ is a horror film, we thought this would be a good way to kick off the Halloween season,” said McLemore, who found inspiration for “Dark Entities” from 1970s horror movies, such as “Halloween,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “The Exorcist” and “Amityville Horror.”

For McLemore, who started acting in community theater productions at the age of 7 and founded Priceville High’s drama club in 2012, signing with Terror Films represents one of the final chapters in a seven-year journey.

After working on the “Dark Entities” script for four years, filming for the movie, which includes scenes shot at McLemore’s Priceville home, the Hartselle Antique Mall, downtown Hartselle and a farm in Somerville, took place July to September of 2020.

Then came the editing.

McLemore and his father, Warren McLemore, an art teacher at Austin High School, who has acted in the TV shows “Snapped: Killer Couples” and “Vengeance: Killer Families,” edited more than 2,000 clips down to two-and-a-half hours, dubbed dialogue over bad audio, color graded the movie and added sound effects.

After the premiere in May, the McLemores focused on finding a film distributor.

“I uploaded the film to a secure screener site and submitted the film to as many different distributors that I could find that were interested in independent supernatural horror films,” Brandon McLemore said.

That number totaled between 30 to 50 companies, Brandon McLemore estimated. Several distributors expressed interest in the film, including Terror Films, the distribution company behind “Hell House LLC” and “The Taking of Deborah Logan.”

“Through the screener site, I could see when a distributor opened the file, watched the movie, how much of the movie they watched and what parts of the movie they watched. When several people in Terror Films watched the film, I knew they had some interest,” Brandon McLemore said.

At the end of July, the McLemores’ production company of Mirror Image Productions signed a distribution contract with Terror Films.

Audiences can expect to see “Dark Entities,” which follows three siblings who lose their parents in a car accident, struggle to overcome depression and inherit a mysterious house, on streaming sites early next year. Possible streaming sites

include Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Apple TV, Showtime, Starz, ROKU, VUDU, iTunes, Shudder and more.

The film highlights the talent in north Alabama, from the cast, which features Elena Ontiveros, Angela Moore, Warren McLemore, Jackson Turner, Savanna Lyles, William Jenkins, Jenni Wood, Debra Davenport, Ethan Sharp, Marcus Patten, Lorelei Bachuss, Hailey Beard and Silas Sims to the soundtrack created by Decatur’s David Vest of E320 Studios.

Nominated as producer of the year for the 2018 GMA Covenant Awards, Vest has worked with Grammy winner Bob Carlisle, actress Lindsey Lohan, Tony Award winner Daisey Eagan and more. The soundtrack is currently available on streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Amazon.

The director’s cut of “Dark Entities,” which will be shown on Saturday, runs 30 minutes longer than the version of the film set for distribution.

“I personally love both cuts,” McLemore said. “The shorter cut is more intense because it is faster paced. The director’s cut is a chance to see the film on the big screen and provides 30 minutes more of the story.”

Due to the scare factor, intensity and implied violence, Brandon McLemore recommended the film for ages 13 and older.

“One of my goals was to do a movie that felt like a 1970s classic horror film with modern elements. I wanted something story driven instead of just going for the shock factor. A lot of our scares are psychological. We use suspense, not jump scares,” Brandon McLemore said.

With work on “Dark Entities” in the final stages, the McLemores are beginning to look to the future.

“After the screening, we had so many people come up to us and say, ‘You’ve got to do a sequel.’ Whether that happens depends on the reception we get with the distribution,” Brandon McLemore said. “We are in the process of working on ideas for a possible sequel. I’m not saying it’s out of the question and I’m not saying it’s for sure. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

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