Along with everyone else in the entertainment industry I was shocked and saddened by the news of the passing of Mr. Don LaFontaine.
Unquestionably the king of trailer voices, LaFontaine's deep, growly voice was the master at creating suspension. You simply can't watch a series of previews without hearing his voice. His array of talent included doing voices for any genre of film, commercials, radio ads and more.
You can imagine my surprise when I asked Mr. LaFontaine to consider doing the trailer voice-over for Morrow Road and he accepted. What you can't imagine is how I felt when he said he's do it as a favor at no charge. You also can't imagine how impressed I was when he saw our conceptual Morrow Road trailer and decided to do another take because he "didn't realize just how dark and serious our trailer was." So he sent me another take weeks after the first take just to make it even better. That kind of professionalism is very rare and I was even more impressed by that then his talent. And that's saying something.
His voice in our trailers is now extra special to me and it makes our trailers even more unique. I always heard good things about Don LaFontaine and then I experienced them for myself and every thing I heard was confirmed. He sounded like a very interesting man (as I didn't meet him in person). He will always hold a special place in my career for the service he did for the first major picture I attempted.
Thank you Mr. Don LaFontaine for your generous contribution to Morrow Road, and the quality work you provided to the entire entertainment industry.
Francis J Sampier
- : sad
Imagine yourself arriving home after finishing a hard day at the office. It’s late and all you want to do is unwind. You like to watch horror films, so you decide to make some popcorn and sit down to enjoy the newest release. As you watch you come to the realization that, despite all the hype it was given, the film just isn’t as good as you were expecting. The excitement that you had is replaced with utter disappointment. “Wow, that’s two hours of my life that I’ll never be able to get back,” is all you can say…
Most horror film watchers have been in this situation at one point in their lives or another. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, and that is through an independent horror film project called “Morrow Road”. This project has surpassed any in its genre, and certainly will not disappoint. On the contrary, I have never seen any project with more potential for success than this one!
The project director, Francis Sampier, has an incredible gift of filming and his attention to detail is impeccable. I know this because I have known Francis for 12 years. We went to school together, he dated and married one of my closest (and best) friends, and I have had the honor of working as a costume designer for some of his projects. When Francis came to me with the newest idea, a project about a local urban legend, my interest was immediately sparked. I was given the chance to read the script and it was so good that I couldn’t put it down! It was from that moment that I began doing whatever I could to help achieve the goal of getting this script to film. I have had opportunities to work on this project that range from drawing sketches and designing costumes, to working on the fundraising committee and assisting at some of the various events. I have also experienced some “firsts” such as: planning and preparing dinner at an event for 120 guests, aiding in the recruiting of an awesome actor, and having been on set for the making and filming of the trailers. Those were experiences unlike any other, and although it has been a bumpy road (no pun intended), I wouldn’t trade the time invested on this project for anything in the world.
Thank you, Francis, for giving me the chance to work on yet another amazing film! I would also like to take a moment to say thank you to everyone involved, both on screen and behind the scenes. We have an awesome director, cast, and crew working on this project. There are not enough words to describe how much your efforts are valued and appreciated! Thank you!
Ghostly and ghastly incidents on Morrow Road are one of the more well know paranormal legends in Michigan. But what aren’t well known in Michigan are motion picture productions. For years, Hollywood has shunned most of the Midwest if you exclude the Windy City. That’s about to change as Director/Writer Francis J. Sampier is going to put Morrow Road and Michigan on the movie map. Michigan’s Otherside recently had a chance to speak with the busy director as he continues his pursuit to get his vision of a famed local haunt on the big screen.
Morrow Road is enticing story that emulates the human spirit in all the splendid turmoil that comes from a GOOD (key word) horror film. If you want to see people getting hacked to bits in a completely unreasoned fashion, Morrow Road is not that movie. It has believable characters, an amazing plot, and a sense of history and lore that is based in reality.
How I truly became involved in Morrow Road I will never be able to figure. By nature I am a scaredy-cat and I was never a fan of gore unless it was the Evil Dead movies--which is an amazing coincidence regarding some of the casting for the film. I remember Fran asking me how I would like to be the Production Designer, he explained all the duties and I agreed whole-heartedly, but by that time I was already well immersed.
From the first time I read the script, like so many of my colleagues in this movie, I was intrigued. I was curled up with a blanket at the foot of my bed against the wall with all the lights blaring in my room at about 2am horribly frightened, yet I could not put the blasted script down. I could not stop until I reached the end and even then, I could not get to sleep. Was it because I was terrified of turning of the lights, possibly. But even more probable was that I was engulfed by the idea. The legend, the script, the feel, the entire idea of filming a horror movie in goodness knows what dark locations...yet I was hooked.
Everyone who has embarked on the Morrow Road journey is incredibly talented, from seasoned veterans to up-and-coming new faces. I feel so astounded and lucky to be a part of it. If you have not seen the trailers/teasers or the website, you are truly missing out on the amazing journey that has become Morrow Road.
Here's the newest member of the Morrow Road cast, playing Randy Phelps:
After spending twelve years in New York City and Los Angeles, I understand that expectation in the entertainment business typically leads you away from success. Iʼve been in the trenches, in regards to having audition after audition with no bookings, having to endure the massive disappointments, but my involvement with Morrow Road was completely unexpected. My appreciation for being cast as Randy Phelps in Morrow Road is better understood when you understand what ripped me away from my success as an actor in New York, and LA.
The reason I let go of my acting career was the growth of a brain tumor. The tumor was removed in 2002, but grew back in 2005, and after a total of four brain surgeries, I came back to Michigan with my tail between my legs. When I returned to Michigan I decided to attend college once again so that I could economically provide for myself in ways that did not revolve around waiting tables in a restaurant. Iʼd been attending community college for two years when Morrow Road entered my life.
What makes my involvement with Morrow Road so unexpected was the way in which I became aware of the film. Prior to each semester at college I would meet with an academic counselor so that he could assist me with taking the proper courses. Iʼd arrive at the counselorʼs office each semester and converse with the women who assisted the counselor. Through our conversations one of the women became aware that I was an actor and had quite a list of accomplishments in the field. She informed me that her daughter was part of a film project and would take one of my headshots to the producer to see whether or not I could become part of the film. There was one major role left to be cast in Morrow Road, and after being given the opportunity, I was fortunate to enough to be given the role of Randy Phelps in the upcoming hit, Morrow Road.
I feel as though I canʼt finish this story without revealing how this opportunity has altered my perceptions on life. When I made the choice to become an actor I left everything Iʼd ever known and done behind, so that I could achieve my goal. As I began achieving my goal, brain cancer robbed me of what Iʼd worked so hard to become. Now having to leave everything Iʼd ever known and done in New York City and Los Angeles behind was necessary, so that I could achieve a new goal of becoming a person with a career other than acting. Without having to endure brain cancer, I donʼt think Iʼd ever have realized that what I was leaving behind was myself. Since my return to Michigan I yearned to return to my craft of acting, but didnʼt think it was possible. The truth is; that which you truly love will come back to you once you let it go, as acting has returned to me, via Morrow Road.
Cameron C. Scott
I became involved with 'Morrow Road' by auditioning. I heard about the audition the night before and was immediately interested. The only problem was I was not prepared (we had to have sides prepared for characters we were interested in). I almost didn't go, but last minute I decided this was too good of an opportunity to pass up! What intrigued me most was the fact that this was indeed based off of an actual Michigan legend. Also, the website and quaility of the teaser on the website was intriguing I knew I had to be apart of it! I'm so honored to be apart of this project and can't wait to bring the character of Ivy to life!
See more of Andrea at her MySpace page.
- : creative
I was impressed with Morrow Road from the beginning. From the first time I read the script through I was impressed with the tragedy of the story, and how the story lines were so easy for me as a reader to relate to. Of course Morrow Road is a horror movie, but it's first and foremost the story of the characters involved. The characters are very real, and as the movie continues we are drawn into their story, almost as if it were our own. When I read that first script I didn't imagine that I would be in any way involved with the film. We heard occasional updates from Fran every few months, and I was amazed to watch what started as a script, written by a few people, grow into a small scale movie project, and then over time grow into what it is today. I've learned so much about movie production, and seen the real effort that goes into getting a script to the screen.
When Fran asked me if I would be interested in doing some personal photography for him during the making of the movie I was very surprised. I had just finished my studies in Photographic Technology, and was primarily a black and white fine art photographer. Although I had been interested in photojournalism, I didn't have much experience in it at that point. I deliberated about whether I would be able to work on the project, since my husband and I were moving to the UK that very summer just before filming was due to start. What finally convinced me was seeing the preliminary sketches for the film- I could
see that my style of black at white photography had the strong sense of presence and dramatic lighting fit well with the concept of the movie. So I agreed to be Fran's personal photographer for the film. Things with the move turned out alright since the funding was delayed last summer, and my husband and I are now settled in
For me, photographing Morrow Road involves the sacrifice of being separated from my husband George for 2 months. We've never been apart more than a week since our marriage. But I am amazed at the level of sacrifice both Hope and Fran Sampier have made for this movie. They have persevered through difficult times in order to make this movie a reality. I'm looking forward to learning more about the movie process, meeting new people, making new friends, and watching this movie which started out as little more than a dream become a reality.
My childhood home lies less than two miles from Morrow Road. Having lived around the lore, I can say that I no longer think of real experiences in and around the physical Morrow Road in Clay Township. It turns out the Morrow Road that the world will come to know and love forever on celluloid is infinitely more interesting.
My first encounter with the project Morrow Road was just after Iʼd finished a masterʼs program, and I had realized my greatest fear. Iʼd finished school without a single job offer. My mother had put aside an article about the project, the first of two articles that she rightly recognized at that time as the right way. The path. Emotionally, physically, and every other which way, I convinced myself I was in no shape to do anything about it.
A few lifetimes later, enclosed in a letter from my mother was yet another article about Morrow Road. In a completely different place, invigorated by what I thought I saw in the script, I began to revisit the lessons that I had written down in class, but for lack of time, hadnʼt digested. I recognized that everything Francis and his team had created shone strikingly similar to the most valuable lessons from school, but in a much richer context.
Morrow Road is more poetry than anything. It is Greek Tragedy in itʼs purest form: The fatal flaw. Stinging irony in the face of hubris. Loss more painful than death. Catharsis. True character, weʼre reminded, is revealed through our actions. Our choices.
The contributions from the wide network of individuals that have gravitated to the Morrow Road project are a source of inspiration to all those who take the time to look. With their stories are revelations about the human condition, each is resoundingly creative, resourceful and defiant in the face of incredible odds.
Their struggle is ours. Just as the characters in Morrow Road, each of us face our own mortality in the reflection, blindfolded, standing opposite the most formidable of adversaries: The vast, shape-shifting unknown leering in the the shadow around the bend.