An important part of establishing the feel of The Case of Evil was to start things off with a vintage-styled opening title sequence.
The mysterious home of the hoodoo witch Louisa Sampson. In reality, this is the Weldon-Glasson House built in 1880, and is owned by Paul Gresock and Christal Hayes. It is the oldest house in the Logan Heights neighborhood of San Diego, and is the site of San Diego's first petting zoo. It is listed on the San Diego Historical Landmark Registry.
Fallen blues star Deke Williams (Merrick McCartha) travels a long way in search of his lost guitar, Stagolee.
Deke Williams (Merrick McCartha) receives a hoodoo warning before entering the house where Stagolee is kept.
The hoodoo witch Louisa Sampson (Rebecca Sausedo) welcomes a new guest into her parlor.
What secrets does the strange and terrifying house of Louisa Sampson hold?
Is it a pig? Is it a deer? Actually this prop from the Stagolee altar is both, and a small visual pun making reference to the "Stag" portion of the Stagolee altar. Photograph by Cynthia Staliunas.
Some of items found on the shelves of hodoo witch, Louisa Sampson. Fortunately for the production, the owners of the house already owned a number of the props required. Photograph by Cynthia Staliunas.
Louisa Sampson (Rebecca Sausedo) poses a hard question for her new visitor.
The final design for the Stagolee altar in place on set. Photo by Cynthia Staliunas.
Merrick McCartha prepares himself for his next scene. Photo by Cynthia Staliunas.
The resting place of Stagolee, a legendary demon-possessed guitar that can bring fame...for a bloody price. The story behind Stagolee was inspired by real-life bluesman Tommy Johnson's claims that he owned a haunted guitar.
"Frankie" the Victrola was played before every take on set of The Case of Evil to help establish the correct mood and mindset for the cast and crew. The preferred record was "You Gonna Reap What You Sow" by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Photo by Cynthia Staliunas.
The Case of Evil features stellar, award-winning performances from Merrick McCartha and film newcomer, Rebecca Sausedo. Although this was her first-ever role as an actress, Rebecca is a former Latin-language recording star, with three hits to her name on the Latin Billboard.
Composer Carvin Knowles pointed out that bottles of rum are commonly found on Voodoo altars, and created a special label just for our shoot -- Baron Samdhi. Baron Samdhi is another name sometimes used for Legba, the god associated with the crossroads in Vodon lore. Photo by Jana Hallford.
One of the big moments in The Case of Evil requires the altar to shake when Stagolee's name is mentioned. In this shot, director Jana Hallford crawls underneath the altar for a quick test of the shot. Photo by Cynthia Staliunas.
Before rolling tape on a critical moment in the movie, director Neal Hallford checks a shot being set up by Robert Padilla, the 2nd Unit Director of Photography. Photo by Cynthia Staliunas.
Merrick McCartha stars as Deke Williams in a classic, retro-gothic horror tale penned by directors Neal Hallford and Jana Hallford.
Merrick McCartha provides some behind the scenes insight in Inside The Case of Evil, a special featurette included on a limited edition DVD/Blu-Ray of The Case of Evil.
Deke Williams (Merrick McCartha) discovers the secret of The Case of Evil.
The make-up kit of Francia Cohen, the Make-Up FX artist responsible for Louisa's remarkable transformation at the end of the film. Photo by Cynthia Staliunas.
Rebecca Sausedo patiently waits in the makeup chair while Makeup FX artist Francia Cohen applies Louisa's "hellhound" makeup. The entire transformation took about two hours of application. To help maintain the "authenticity" of the film's intended look, Francia constrained her designs to only use makeup techniques which would have been commonly available during the 1940s.
The audience getting ready for the screening of The Case of Evil at the 2014 San Diego Fall Film Festival where it picked up three awards: Best Horror/Sci Fi/Thriller/Action movie, 1st Place Audience Choice Award, and 2nd Place Best Trailer. Photo by Eddie Lain.
Neal Hallford taking a break between scenes on the front steps of the set for "The Case of Evil." Photo by Jana Hallford.
Part of the score for The Case of Evil was performed on the Alexander Piano, also known as the Longest Piano In the World, located in New Zealand. It measures over 18 feet in length, twice the length of a concert grand piano. Photo by Carvin Knowles.
From left to right: Christal Hayes, Neal Hallford, Paul Gresock. Christal & Paul are the owners of the Weldon-Glasson house which was the shooting location for The Case of Evil. Photo by Jana Hallford.
The directors and stars of The Case of Evil taking a moment to celebrate prior to the world premiere at the 2014 Horrible Imaginings Horror Film Festival in San Diego, California.
Rebecca Sausedo ("Louisa Sampson"), Producers Jana Hallford and Neal Hallford, and Make-Up FX artist Francia Cohen enjoy a moment on the red carpet at the San Diego Fall Film Festival prior to a screeing of The Case of Evil. Photo by Stegela Photography.
The audience settling in for the first screening of The Case of Evil trailer at the Shorts From Beyond festival in San Diego, California. Photo by Michael Poole.
Directors Neal Hallford and Jana Hallford answer questions from the audience following the premiere of The Case of Evil at the Horrible Imaginings Horror Film Festival.
The Case of Evil made its world premiere at the Horrible Imaginings Horror Film Festival in San Diego, California on a night featuring ghosts and supernatural terrors. It was the first showing before a live audience. Photography by Dante Moran.
From left to right: Jana Hallford, Neal Hallford, Paul Gresock, Christal Hayes, Robert E. Jones, Merrick McCartha. Photograph by Dante Moran.
Makeup FX artist Francia Cohen and 2nd Unit Director of Photography Robert Padilla. Photograph by Cynthia Staliunas.
To match the retro feel of the movie, Swords & Circuitry Studios also comissioned a poster from Austin-based graphic artist Charity Wood. Charity and her husband Chris own and operate Bye Bye Robot, a company specialzing in officially licensed fine art posters for Star Wars and Star Trek.
The Case of Evil screening at the 2014 San Diego Film Consortium Halloween Party.
Prior to its delivery to the set, the Stagolee "altar" was designed and assembled in a variety of different ways at Swords & Circuitry Studios by Jana Hallford and Neal Hallford. Note in this version that the altar board has not yet been painted with its characteristic crossroads veve design.
The final arrangement of the Stagolee altar prior to transport to the set of The Case of Evil.
Producer, key grip, and all around get-it-done man Michael Ledoux helps install "black wrap" to cut the light from the exterior windows to ensure a properly "moody" look inside. Getting the black wrap installed meant covering windows that were 14 feet off the ground on one side of the house.
Rebecca Sausedo ("Louisa") and Make Up FX artist Francia Cohen take five as the production team gets the audio gear in place. Photo by Jana Hallford.
In addition to our human hosts at Weldon-Glasson house, we also had a pair of feline mascots who instantly laid claim to the antique props that were brought in for the production. Nougat, a very sweet sphynx cat pictured here, was particuarly fond of Louisa's chair and of Frankie the Victrola. Photograph by Jana Hallford.
What many of the production crew walked away remembering most about the shoot were the chicken feet which were suspended over the entrance to Louisa's home. These props were actually purchased through an online dog food vendor and then further decorated for theatrical effect. The owners of the house actually kept them hanging up for several weeks after the conclusion of the shoot. Photograph
by Cynthia Staliunas.
Carol Burt, owner of Little Miss Muffin catering, took good care of the production team for the first day of shooting of The Case of Evil. Photograph by Cynthia Staliunas.
Neal Hallford on the promotion circuit, giving a talk on horror movies prior to a showing of The Case of Evil at ComicFest 2014 in San Diego, California. Photo by Jana Hallford.
Robert Padilla adjusts a light while producer Michael Ledoux and director Jana Hallford watch the effect on the scene. The Case of Evil was Swords & Circuitry Studios first two-camera production. Photograph by Cynthia Staliunas.
In the wee hours of the night, Merrick McCartha rehearses his lines between takes.
Co-writer, producer, and director Jana Hallford taking a moment to enjoy some silliness on the set. Photograph by Cynthia Staliunas.
Sound man Robert Djxehro Betancourt gets into position to mic a tricky shot. Robert has been a go-to guy for several of Swords & Circuitry Studios other productions including The Con of Wrath and The Crypto-Historians (both still in production). Photograph by Cynthia Staliunas.
The first film festival award for The Case of Evil, given by the San Diego Fall Film Festival on November 14, 2014.
Directors Jana Hallford and Neal Hallford (center) accept their 1st Place Audience Choice award for The Case of Evil at the San Diego Fall Film Festival. Photograph by Stegela Photography.
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This page, all of its contents, and "The Case of Evil" are copyright 2014, Swords & Circuitry Studios. All Rights Reserved.
The official website for "The Case of Evil", an award-winning horror short from Swords & Circuitry Studios.
Written, produced, and directed by Neal Hallford and Jana Hallford. Starring Merrick McCartha and Rebecca Sausedo.