The House That the Devil Built, a horror film written, directed and produced by Santa Ana College faculty and students, premiered at the Frida Cinema in Downtown Santa Ana Oct. 27.
Hosted by the SAC Theatre Department’s El Don Productions (no affiliation with the El Don newspaper), the event opened with two short films: Un Festejo a la Familia and La Luz. The first short was about a modern Hispanic family in America and the second was about a search for a trapped friend. Both films were written and directed by SAC students. When those two films finished, the 45-minute-long horror film began. All three films starred SAC students.
The film revolves around a professional ghost hunting team with their own reality television show that are contracted to explore a haunted theater, which was Philips Hall during construction. Through a series of interviews with the locals, they learn of a ghost, known by the Santa Ana residents as “Mr./Mrs.” haunting the theater and performing possible Satanic rituals being held inside the building.
The storyline follows the team talking to the owners of the theater, Harry and Amy Richmond (played by Alexander Cortez and Emma V. Rivera) and after that, they begin their investigation. Some members of the team, especially Abby (Lexi Ginn) and Kyle (Alvi Rahman), experience bizarre paranormal activity throughout their investigation. Team members start to think that the job is more than they can handle and believe that they should leave the hall, but the character of Abby persists that they should stay to discover the truth about the haunted theatre.
The Theatre Department chose to produce a film instead of a play because it was a “performance opportunity,” said SAC Theatre Arts professor and director of the film Chris Cannon.
“This is our fifth film but first feature film. We do plays as well but we wanted to make a film so students can gain experience working on a professional set with professionals, either faculty or from the outside,” Cannon said.
The SAC Theatre Arts Department plans to produce more films in the future. “Our current plan is five projects per school year, with four of them being plays and one of them being a film,” Cannon said.