Deep within the swamps, cemeteries and back roads of Louisiana reside some of the most haunting, terrifying and legendary stories ever told. Whether it’s the legend of the Loup Garou (Cajun werewolf), or Marie Laveau, the infamous voodoo queen of New Orleans, or the restless spirits that still haunt some of the state’s oldest mansions and plantation homes, Louisianais just as famous the world over for its frightening side as it is for its great food, music and nightlife.

That backdrop is the setting for the new 6 episode horror series REQUIEMS, created, written and produced by Baton Rouge-based filmmaker Travis Hedges Williams. (Episode 1 can be viewed at the embedded link below.)

The series, which debuted October 17th on its official web site and Youtube page (see link below) airs new episodes each Friday, and revolves around the story of artist Dani Auburn (Devin Williams), whose young life is suddenly changed when she wakes up in a hospital that’s unlike any other: a hospital dedicated to treating victims of the supernatural.

Having been blessed with the ability to see inside the memories of patients through touch, but unwilling to reveal just how she obtained that ability, Dani has an uneasy relationship with the other members of the hospital staff.

Among them is her doctor, Dr. Jameson (played by Kenneth Mayfield), who has his own problems with a fellow colleague and with trying to keep the hospital wing’s manager, Dr. Christianson (Mike Katchmer) from making life even harder for his patients.

In addition, Nurse Angela (played by Jenny Ballard) only serves to make Dr. Jameson’s love life even more complicated through their on again/off again romance, while being somewhat suspicious of the stories of supernatural horror endured by the hospital’s patients.

Also featured in the large cast (over 50 actors, comprised of local Baton Rouge talent) is Rachel Theriot as Elaina, a girl who Dani once knew, but whose real agenda and her whereabouts have become a mystery, and Bill Martin as the equally mysterious Priest, who somehow manages to be the main link to the incredible stories told by those being treated at the hospital.

10 years in the making, Williams originally conceived REQUIEMS as a way to collaborate with some of Louisiana’s most talented actors and filmmakers, and as a way of bringing viewers a unique story that reflected the legendary folklore and ghost stories that have become part of the Pelican State’s ingrained culture.

“Living in Louisiana and loving any kind of spooky story I could get my hands on, this seemed like a perfect union,” he says.

The possibilities presented by a multi-episode miniseries provided Williams with the perfect canvas to tell REQUIEMS’ story. “Artistically, I wanted to create a unique and complex story on the kind of epic scale that only an episodic medium would allow,” he adds.

“I also wanted to collaborate with more people than we ever had before, because collaboration creates a better product than working alone does, and everyone learns from each other. I feel we’ve accomplished that.”

That rich culture, combined with characters and storytelling that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats, is what Williams feels makes REQUIEMS a uniquely different kind of horror series.

“(What sets REQUIEMS apart is) the Louisiana setting and history, the complex mysteries the audiences can attempt to put together between episodes, and the fact that you can take the show at face value – just another horror movie – or you can dig deeper into the psychological and philosophical undertones of the stories.”

With most of the show’s cast comprised of talented students from LSU (Louisiana State University)’s theatre program, as well as regular performers from Baton Rouge’s professional theatre company Theatre Baton Rouge, Williams had little difficulty finding the best actors who would help him bring REQUIEMS to life.

Then came the long, arduous task of capturing REQUIEMS’ story on camera; one made even harder by Louisiana’s notorious summer weather. “We shot all six episodes at the same time, over a period of two months this summer,” Williams says. “Many locations were outdoors in the humidity and mosquitos. And we shot long hours – as many as 14 straight at one location.”

Nevertheless, it all comes out to a horror anthology web series that brings together Louisiana’s distinctive culture with a powerful, multi-faceted story of people whose lives are forever affected by the fascinating, mysterious and often terrifying world of the supernatural.

Through each episode of REQUIEMS, Williams feels that he and his cast and crew have achieved their ultimate goals: to not only entertain viewers, but to make them think about the people, places, things, and especially, experiences, that scare them the most.

“A running theme throughout the show is one of fate or destiny and how much control we have over these things,” Williams says. “As a horror series, we also explore many aspects of fear – both from external factors like monsters chasing you, and internal factors like being haunted by lost loves. The series tries to bring both of those ideas together and ask, what does it all mean?”

(Note: The series is not currently closed-captioned.)



TWITTER: @HedgesPictures

Episode 1 of REQUIEMS can be viewed at the embedded link below: