Editor's Rating

L.A. MACABRE is a suspenseful, mystery thriller that will have you on edge constantly through each episode. The twists featured in this series are pleasantly surprising and quite unexpected. The production as a whole felt strong. This series is pretty similar to the style of 'Marble Hornets' when it comes to a found footage type of series. The social media aspect of this series really immerses viewers in the action.


Are you craving a heart-pounding, fear-inducing kind of show? A show guaranteed to have you sitting on the edge of your seat, glued to your glowing screen, occasionally jumping a few feet in the air? Well, then you’re in for a real treat. This show is full of cliffhangers, twists around every corner and will have you begging for more. What show am I talking about? Why, I am talking about the fast-paced, addictive, mystery thriller series called L.A. MACABRE. This show is a thrill ride from start to finish.

L.A. MACABRE, from Half Ast Productions and D Studios Productions, is directed by Dan Ast and produced by David Schatanoff Jr. and Michelle Cantor. The series follows a filmmaking team attempting to create a show about the grisly history of Los Angeles, California. The viewers will meet Ryan and Jamie Holbrook (Ryan Hellquist and Ryan Bartley), a brother and sister on the filmmaking team. They are joined by Collin (Aidan Bristow), their close friend. Their filmmaking path takes a detour once they meet a former cult member named Callie (Corsica Wilson) who works as a waitress. They ask for her help to uncover the mysteries of The New Family, a cult that was active during the mid-2000s. The group believes that The New Family shared a lot of similarities with Charles Manson’s cult.

Callie immediately grabs the attention of Collin and there’s romance in the air. Collin begins to get sucked into Callie’s stories of her time with the cult. Ryan and Jamie begin to see Callie as being a bad influence on their friend. Tensions begin to run high as unexplained events occur around Collin and Callie’s relationship and their experiments with cult activities. Then the group’s filmmaking mission takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Some secrets are meant to stay hidden. When things are looking at a bit grim, the group enlists the help of their computer savvy friend, J.P. Cutler (Christina Wren). Their curiosity places them on a path headed toward some dangerous consequences.

The writers, Dan Ast and Ryan Bartley, have created a well-written script that will take viewers on a roller coaster ride starting from the very first episode all the way up to the last episode of Season 1. The episodes will keep viewers on edge, ending with an incredible cliffhanger. We all love great cliffhangers, don’t we? The suspenseful show is in its first season with eleven episodes. A three season story arc is in the works.

The show creator, Dan Ast, and producer David Schatanoff, Jr. are thrilled with the quality of the project. “We wanted to explore the creepy side of storytelling for the web and tell it from the perspective of those that create web content,” states Schatanoff. Ast adds, “We looked at the narrative web series landscape and saw a lot of comedy or gamer related content. No one was making anything geared toward me as an audience member. I’ve always enjoyed a good mystery or horror story, so this felt like a great opportunity to explore those genres on the web and make the web essential to the story.” The show is being released via YouTube on Dan Ast’s Grinning Man Pictures channel. The channel currently has 6,027 subscribers and over 16.5 million views across current content. L.A. MACABRE began airing its supporting content on October 12th, 2014. The premiere episode was released on November 4th, 2014 with new episodes airing weekly.

L.A. MACABRE3L.A. MACABRE is filled with solid performances from all areas. The actors delivered exceptional performances. Honestly, viewers will have no idea who is responsible for the crazy events happening in each episode. They can go with the obvious and assume cult activity has been revived, but the script leads us down another path where we can’t really trust every character. We’re given a reason not to trust them. Everyone is sketchy. That’s great writing.

The cinematography (Austin Lee Smoak) and editing (Dan Ast) will pull viewers swiftly from their chairs, through their glowing screens and right into the action. The shots were visually captivating and engaging, including some interesting choices for lighting. They didn’t sacrifice good performances for interesting lighting. Each time there was a creative way to light a shot, performances most definitely did not suffer. The light sources include a green glow stick.

The sound was crisp and clear.

The actors break the fourth wall. The story is captured through the lenses of various cameras. It left me feeling vulnerable when creepy moments were happening like doors opening and closing when everyone left the room. It’s great to be aware of all of your surroundings. This show often removes that comfort. The fact that the camera would be handed off to another person and you can’t see them, made me quite uncomfortable.

The show is also heavily involved in social media. It is an important tool in this show. It was great to see how they used Twitter to make the show more realistic for viewers. The episodes are featured on their Twitter page. They also have vlogs from Jamie. Some of the key events happen through Twitter.

The opening title sequence was really fun to watch with the series music driving it along. The animation featured in the opening title sequence was nicely done. It definitely set the tone for the show. I did get a little confused at first. There are a few newspaper articles that appear through the opening title sequence referring to different types of crimes. The first season focuses on The New Family and an unknown force wreaking havoc on the group of friends as well as Los Angeles. It may confuse viewers to expect more than the plot they are given. It may also be a way of showing the different tragic events caused by The New Family. I’m thinking the opening title sequence is an umbrella for the different grisly stories of Los Angeles. Will the story change each season like American Horror Story? We will find out! The series music is very fitting for the opening title sequence and the closing title. The music teases you at the end followed by the closing title when you are met with a cliffhanger. Curses! Then you immediately rush to the next episode and repeat. It was interesting to see that the show did not include closing credits. It was a choice made by the show’s team. I really wanted to see closing credits. It would’ve allowed me and other viewers to know who to credit for great work.

L.A. MACABRE2L.A. MACABRE has made the official selection list for both the Los Angeles Web Series Festival (LAWEBFEST) and the Vancouver Web Fest. Go ahead and clear your schedule. L.A. MACABRE will command your attention. Luckily, the entire first season is on YouTube. You’ll be able to binge-watch it. If you’re the slightest bit interested in ‘Marble Hornets’ or just plain addicted to that show, then I highly recommend this show for you. It’s not Slenderman, but it’s awfully creepy in another aspect. The camera work featured in this show reminds me a lot of ‘Marble Hornets.’ It is a found footage type of show. Viewers will constantly be trying to put together the mystery.

You will be thanking me later for your newest addiction called L.A. MACABRE. You’re welcome.

For more information about the show, please check out: http://www.lamacabre.com