By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Having already won five awards (including Best Feature Film) at the Edmonton Festival of Fear and another Best Feature prize at the Montreal Requiem Fear Fest, writer/director Michael Melski’s THE CHILD REMAINS is headed for seven more festivals this weekend, including Spooky Empire in Orlando and the Sin City Horror Fest in Las Vegas. We got some exclusive words from the filmmaker, along with the trailer and poster.
According to the official synopsis, THE CHILD REMAINS is about “an expectant couple’s intimate weekend [that] turns to terror when they discover their secluded country inn is a haunted maternity home where unwanted infants and mothers were murdered.” It’s based on the notorious true story of the “Butterbox Babies,” and Melski tells us, “Back from the ’40s through the early ’70s, private adoption in Canada wasn’t regulated. In Nova Scotia, there was a place called the Ideal Maternity Home that was infamous for terrifying reasons. This home promised—for a hefty fee—to board scandalized young mothers and to manage the adoption of the infants. The young woman would return to her home unburdened, and many babies were adopted.
“But it soon was quietly being reported that many of the sickly children, or babies born of mixed race, were often slowly starved to death with molasses and water, and sometimes buried alive in dairy boxes so their upkeep wouldn’t trouble the bottom line. Canada is still haunted by their story. Similar occurences have been unearthed in the UK and very recently in Scotland.”
The Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Melski also produced THE CHILD REMAINS with Craig Cameron, and David Miller and Marc Savoie were the executive producers. The cast is headed by Suzanne Clement (Cannes Best Actress winner for MOMMY), Allan Hawco, Shelley Thompson and Canadian film veteran Geza Kovacs. “The film was shot on a budget of about $1 million, which made everything a challenge,” Melski notes. “In Nova Scotia, you don’t get a lot of money to make movies, but you get to make them with an incredible talent pool of actors and crew who are world-renowned.”
A genre fan from an early age, Melski says, “I knew when it came time to make my own horror film that it would be a tribute to the great story- and character-driven ’70s movies like THE SHINING, THE EXORCIST and THE CHANGELING—films that emphasized story and suspense over shock and gore. There’s been too much of the formulaic Hollywood jump-scares these days, and I wanted to make something that would really bend the audience’s brain, but with characters you care about and no clichéd gimmicks.”
THE CHILD REMAINS is aiming for Canadian theatrical release next spring and U.S. theatrical release in October 2018. Find out more about the movie at its official website.