The Lockdown Hauntings is new pandemic-inspired Sussex horror film
Eastbourne and Brighton are among the locations for a chilling new movie The Lockdown Hauntings which is now available as pay per view on streaming platforms including Amazon, iTunes, Sky Store and GooglePlay.
Director Howard Ford a Brightonian currently living in Eastbourne, is delighted with the film’s publicity tagline which sums it all up perfectly: “And you thought your lockdown was bad…”
It’s a movie which grew entirely out of the pandemic – and was filmed during lockdown under all the lockdown restraints. In fact, Howard hasn’t even met one of his stars, Horror legend Tony Todd who starred in the Candyman movies.
“Tony was in LA and he filmed his stuff all via Zoom.”
So far the reaction has been great, suggesting that Howard has succeeded in his aim: namely capturing the sense of fear, of anxiety and of isolation which befell us all during the pandemic.
“I lost my uncle during the pandemic, to Covid. He did have underlying health issues, but it was weird that we were all thrust into this stay-at-home situation, and after six or seven weeks, I thought I just had to do something.
“And a friend of mine lost his father and he said to me ‘Do you know this virus isn’t even alive?’ I thought it was the grief speaking, but I googled it and yes, he was right. This virus isn’t even alive.
“And I started thinking that as a film-maker that I should do something that captured the fear and the anxiety and the isolation.”
Howard put a post out on social media seeking actors prepared to be filmed in their own homes (because of the lockdown) and had hundreds of responses.
“And I made the film during the lockdown. After two and a half months, we were still in lock-down but there were certain things we could do if I kept a certain distance and had had a test. I decided to make the film with no crew. I couldn’t find any locations so it had to be done in the actors’ own homes, and I went on a tour around the UK.
“I filmed in Brighton and Eastbourne and Bournemouth and London and Hampshire.
“There is a little bit done in Eastbourne… and even the bit done in LA with Tony Todd though obviously I didn’t get to go out there. Actually there were four of the actors that I didn’t get to meet personally.”
As for the story, it harks back to the start of lockdown, no people in the streets, no cars: “And nature decides to start rising up. Spirits are freer than ever before because there is no human interference.
“Some of the spirits are good but some of them have got evil intent. And on the first day of lockdown a notorious serial killer The Locksmith, who had died in prison, rises up and starts killing people in lockdown.
“These women are attacked in their own homes without anyone breaking into their homes.”
The police are baffled. Supernatural investigation is needed…
“I made a piece in the moment. This is a piece of its time. It documents the time. I wanted the film to represent the fear and the isolation cinematically.
“There were also a lot of mental-health issues that arose as well as fear, and the film touches on that. It is the Zeitgeist of the moment, of all that is happening.”
And as the tagline says, “And you thought your lockdown was bad…”
But in fact, maybe the real origin is in Howard’s own supernatural experiences. Twice, at the age of 21 and 23, both times in Brighton, he felt himself forcibly held down “by something that was a shadowy figure that I could see through.
“I was totally 100 per cent awake and held down by great force. It was like a female figure was holding me down.
“It was crushing me so much that I thought my ribs were going to break. I was terrified…”