There’s been an odd uptick recently in holiday traditions. The latest, “The Elf on a Shelf,” deals with a little elfin creature that spies on kids and reports back to Santa whether they’ve been naughty or nice. Parents move the unsettling watchman around in the night to give the appearance that the elf sees all.
“It’s a new holiday tradition that needed to be tackled, and why not be the first filmmakers to do so,” says Michael E. Cullen II, a Toledo-based director. Cullen paired up with writer/producer Lindsay LaForest, a Whitehouse-native, to produced a new, local horror comedy film Shelved, premiering Friday, December 10, at the Maumee Indoor Theater.
The second coming
Shelved is the second horror-comedy film produced by Cullen and LaForest. Earlier this year, the duo produced the “slashomedy” flick Pi Day, Die Day. Like Pi Day, Shelved is another scary, yet fun, take on a holiday.
“I think the holiday horror film is just a classic trope that keeps happening because it is an idea we can all relate to,” Cullen explains: “Everyone can relate to fear, and I think we all like to be scared even if we won’t admit to it.”
Cullen studied film at The University of Toledo and started his film company Cullen Park Productions in 2011. He produced Pi Day, Die Day through Cullen Park Productions, and Shelved is the company’s newest release.
He sees you when you’re sleeping
Shelved is the tale of an elf known as Private Gumdrop, an agent of Santa Claus tasked with watching a family to see if they’re naughty or nice. But Gumdrop, a bit too overzealous in his work, ends up terrorizing the family during Christmas. “This is the mechanism of the film’s horror,” explains Cullen, “but the great thing about this film is the comedy and heart as well. I literally found myself laughing out loud as I read (the script).”
“This is a good time for the premiere,” Cullen explained. “Being a Christmas-themed film, it will be great for the audience to see a fun horror-comedy in December.” At the showing, audiences will also get the chance to meet with the actors and filmmakers, including the movie’s evil elf Private Gumdrop, who will be on hand to take “Elfie Selfies.”
Cullen has previous experience with movie premieres, learning to set up showings over two nights at the same location, back-to-back on a weekend. “I think that will attract more people to the premieres.”
“The Maumee Indoor Theater is a great local venue and I think it is one of the jewels of Northwest Ohio,” Cullen added.
7pm Friday December 9 and Saturday, December 10
Maumee Indoor Theater | 601 Conant St., Maumee
419-897-8902 | brownpapertickets.com