I recently had the opportunity to chat with the masterminds behind the new web-series Image Killer. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard of before and I’m totally in love with the concept. It reminds me of a new age version of Clue and I think it will be a big hit because of its creative concept and interactive social media accounts.
This new web series is created by James Young, Nik Benn, and Michael Davidson. It is a gallows humor series about a social media serial killer. The killer posts clues about who she is going to kill next and then posts the results online for all to see. Catchy, huh?
Check out the interview down below and be sure to spread the word!
PopHorror – Hey guys! I’m super stoked to talk with you and pick your brain. How did you get involved with the horror industry?
James – I’ve always liked horror and other genre films. I made my first film at thirteen years old. It was a Zombie/Stoner movie. It was terrible. I still have it too. Not sure if that’s a good thing.
Nik Benn – Always wanted to make genre films, sci-fi, horror, thriller, those movies always seemed to stick. Horror especially is a great genre to really pull people into the story and keep them there, that’s always been my attraction to it.
PopHorror – That’s awesome that you both set out to do what you love and have made a career out of it. You run the company Spiderclown Studios. How did that come about and what is your motto or goal for your business?
James – Spiderclown Studios was started back in 2011 when Nik and I were still in film school. We enjoyed working together and thought “no time like the present” and got incorporated that year. The name of the company came out of the fact that a friend of mine is scared of spiders and clowns. I thought that was hilarious. I guess Nik did too. It’s stuck since then.
Michael joined back in 2014 and that’s when we really started seriously moving forward on projects.
Nik Benn: Goal for the company is to keep producing fiction projects that we’d want to watch ourselves. It’s cliche I know but is what it is.
PopHorror – It is hilarious! Fans who love this genre often make the best films because they know what people want to see. What was one of your first projects?
James – Our first bigger project that we created as a team was a small Canadian action-comedy TV-show that we created and produced for RVK Productions Inc. that premiered last year on WinHD (A Rogers/Bell Cable channel) called Bedtime Stories for Men. Personally, one of the first horror projects I ever wrote, which Nik shot and also co-directed with me, was my final student film at YorkU called Winter Harvest where I basically murdered my family. Not for real. Obviously. But yeah, I cast my brother and sister and had them off’d. It was cathartic.
Nik Benn – First project of mine was a series of shorts (believe me its dumber than it sounds) I made when I was in high school, called unfriendly places, wasn’t much to do in Tech class so we borrowed one of the school cameras and went out and shot some mock fights out on the snow bank. I’m from a small town if that wasn’t apparent.
PopHorror – That’s hilarious, James. Your family must be supportive! (Laughs) Nik Benn, I am too, so I totally get it. Your new horror series, Image Killer looks pretty badass. What was the inspiration behind that?
James – It was originally going to be a run-of-the-mill “whodunnit” horror/thriller feature called “Focal Point” about a killer that uses a camera and leaves clues for an investigator to find. But when I brought the idea to Nik, he came up with the idea of making it a social media serial killer. One who posts their clues on Instagram or something and has a following. We called it “Instagram Killer” at first. Obviously, couldn’t use that one. We still wanted it to be a feature and we were pretty excited about it, so we shot it off to Michael who’s usually our voice of reason. He immediately asked us why this wasn’t planned as a web series due to its social media nature… and here we are.
Michael – What’s great about IK is that it’s a transmedial experience. We’ve got an Instagram page run in character as the Image Killer. We’ve got a podcast with two episodes weekly from our fictional investigator who hosts the show. Now we’re pitching a live action web series to go even bigger. What I love about the series we’re pitching now is that we follow the hours leading up to a social media persona’s death. Each episode functions as a short film that follows a new character (and their demise) bookended with a Lemony Snicket styled narration from our sarcastic podcaster/investigator.
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Nik Benn – It was after we came up with the social media angle, that the story really began to take shape, a lot of good horror takes a real-world idea and then warps it into something that’s twisted but still grounded and it’s that aspect of believability that makes it scary. Ideally, we wanted to make something that would make the audience go “oh shit, what if?”
PopHororr – Honestly, I love the Instagram idea. It’s so creative and interactive. It’s unlike anything out there and I think fans will love it. What are you looking to do with this series? How many episodes?
James – Provided that we can attain the funding, we are looking to produce 12 live-action episodes, along with 12 companion podcast episodes (in addition to the podcasts we’ve already released)
Michael: In the meantime, we plan on producing 50-60 additional podcasts until we get to launching the live action series, which can be found on our Image Killer YouTube channel.
Nik Benn – When the show does get going, each episode will feature a different guest lead, and hopefully some guest directors as well, there’s a lot of great talent in Toronto and in the horror film community at large and we’d like to bring them out for this one. Sum of the parts and all that.
PopHorror – Awesome. Maybe all depending on how things go, you can do an Indiegogo Campain as well. Have you done any casting yet?
James – We’ve cast for the podcasts that we’ve released but are still looking to grow the channel. However, that’s not to say you won’t get a chance to see the faces behind the voices that you hear.
Michael: As for the live action web series, we haven’t begun casting yet.
Nik Benn – There’s been a lot of interest in the project so far, we’ve spent the past month talking to some great actors out of Toronto, but nothing’s set in stone until we’re further along.
PopHorror – I will definitely be checking out the podcast soon because I’ve been hearing great things. I think it’s a wonderful idea. Podcasts are pretty big right now especially ones about crime. When is the release date for this?
If we are successful in getting shortlisted and then attaining full funding we are aiming to release the live action series in early 2019. The podcast launched on March 8th.
PopHorror – Fingers crossed! So, the trailer is very intriguing. Will there be any more teaser trailers?
As far as content goes, we’ve already released five in-world podcast episodes that further develop the story of Image Killer. It features an investigator character (voiced by our very own Nik Benn) as well as a few concerned callers! The plan is to keep releasing two of these episodes every week.
Nik Benn – As far as trailers go it’s just the one, for now. The podcast is in full swing though. We just released another one this afternoon.
If you dig the idea, please check out our trailer! Every view we get helps!