I’m not generally a horror movie fan, since I spook so easily. The Wicked Witch scared me so much as a kid that I never watched The Wizard of Oz again. After seeing The Exorcist as a teenager, I checked under my bed every night to make sure a possessed Linda Blair wasn’t hiding there. So it was with great trepidation that I pursued my morbid curiosity about a unique new horror flick making its premiere not in a theater or online, but on your iPad: Haunting Melissa.
“I wanted to tell a ghost story in a different way because of the way technology was moving,” said movie producer Neal Edelstein, whose past work includes The Ring and Mulholland Drive. “I come from making movies, I love movies, I love the cinema and storytelling in general,” he told Fox 411. “But I wanted to reinvent the way stories are told and consumed.” He wanted to bring a ghost story to tablets and mobile devices, but “it wasn't really until I saw [the iPad] that I went, ‘OK this is it ... now I can do it.’”
Toward that end, Edelstein created Hooked Digital Media and invited his writer friend Andrew Klavan to collaborate on Haunting Melissa, a movie for an Apple-only app – the first of its kind – that delivers the story to your device in fragments at unpredictable times. Edelstein added another twist as well: “I invented this thing called ‘dynamic story elements’ which means if you go back and watch something it may change. I wanted to have this story evolve and change, almost as if your device is haunted.”
Klavan’s screenplay for Haunting Melissa is about a young woman alone in an isolated farmhouse after her mother has died, and her salesman father is away traveling. Melissa begins to hear voices and see visions that she believes are messages from her dead mother. She soon begins to wonder whether she is going insane – as her mother did before her.
Stephen King, who knows a thing or two about scary books, has called Andrew Klaven “the most original American novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich” (a crime writer who has been ranked behind only Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler).