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“Playhouse” of horrors: Studio 76’s new horror film

Andrew Kyid, Lieb Kuich and Grace Hernandez preparing to shoot a scene on the set of their horror short film from 2022.

Weber State University’s Studio 76 started production on Sept. 29 for their new horror short film, “Playhouse.” Production for the new short film wrapped on Oct. 1 in Eden, Utah.

“Playhouse” is about two siblings, Calvin and Catherine, whose grandmother recently passed away. While packing up their deceased grandmother’s belongings, the duo discover an old music box that, when played, changes the world around them, creating new revelations about their grandmother and her sister’s disappearance from long ago.

This new short was written by Alexander Papworth, a digital media major at Weber State. Papworth has previously worked on Studio 76’s 48-Hour Film Project over the summer, in which the studio was given 48 hours to complete a short film.

Papworth found inspiration for this short film through the “Resident Evil” video game series and the television show “Doctor Who.”

“The Weeping Angels from Doctor Who are what really got it going,” Papworth said. “I wanted the monster in the story to do something like the Weeping Angels.”

“Playhouse” was directed by Jaxon Winder, a film major and equipment manager at Studio 76. This is Winder’s second time directing with Studio 76; he previously worked on an episode of Studio 76’s series, “Mod Vamps.” The series follows a vampire living throughout different decades. Winder directed the episode that took place in the 1980s.

“That one had an 80’s cop feeling … kind of like Miami Vice,” Winder said.

Studio 76 currently plans to send their new short film to the Dark at the Cinema Film Festival, previously known as The Demon Chaser Film Challenge. In past years, Studio 76 has submitted short films to this film festival, including 2022’s “Withered” and 2019’s “Lambchop,” which won an award. “Lambchop” can currently be found on Studio 76’s YouTube Channel.

This is Papworth and Winder’s first time submitting a short film to the Dark at the Cinema Film Festival.

Emily Barney, an earth science education major, plays the role of Catherine. Barney first discovered this production via a flyer posted on campus, but decided that she wanted to try out for the role after speaking with Studio 76 during this year’s Block Party. Barney acted in theatre classes in high school, but this is her first time acting in a film.

“It’s pretty fun,” Barney said. “It can be a little tedious because I wasn’t expecting how many reshoots and different takes we would have to do, but overall, it’s been a pretty good experience.”

Similarly, David Nelson, who plays Calvin, also comes from the theater acting scene and is experiencing his first time acting for film.

“I like the dynamic between Calvin and his older sister,” Nelson said. “He is trying to act like he’s older and like he doesn’t care. He is trying to have a better power dynamic.”

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Cooper Hatsis
Cooper Hatsis, Culture Assistant Editor

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