Saloon Media producers Paul Kilback and Tara Elwood netted stories from Redditors online and extrapolated them for the new T+E series “‘Web of Darkness.”
The inspiration resulted in a collection of horrific tales diving deep into the folklore of ghosts, UFOs, witches and more.
“Web of Darkness” premieres June 8 on T+E and Kilback assured in a June phone conversation that it’s not to be confused with creepypasta.
“Everybody tells a story in a different way. It starts to not be what really happened over time,” he said. “You start to embellish things, your memory fills in gaps, so I don’t know how to explain things.”
Kilback is also at work on a UFO series and has seen strange phenomenon and references the content he’s seen with his own eyes as indescribable.
Those anecdotal stories are the stuff of campfire tales; shared to get the adrenaline pumping.
The stories from Reddit that Kilback and Elwood chose were those that have inhabited our subconscious for years. Whenever there was a gap in the Redditor’s story, it would be expanded on.
“There’s something basic and primal about these stories,” he said. “I always gravitate to stories that send shivers up our spine. At some sort of basic level, we react to it. We all love the unknown.”
The twist with “Web of Darkness”, is the modernization of the stories. It’s not quite inspired by the Turkish film Blackmare, Kilback said, but the team took classic stories from online, like shadow people, and injected the experiences into one character.
Each vignette in an episode is shot from a different perspective, from noir to Hitchcock to found footage.
“Even if the stories are 70 years old, we just imagined how they would play out in the modern world with cell phones and technology,” he said. “It was fun to play with that genre that way.”
When it comes to Kilback’s own experiences, he had a few, especially while working on the former YTV series “Ghost Trackers”, which featured young adults venturing into some of Canada’s most infamous haunts.
“There were places where I would go, ‘Man, this place is creepy,’” he said, adding one experience at the former Heritage Theatre in Brampton triggered his spider-sense. “We did a pre-interview with a medium who walked through the theatre. She explained to me that there were all these ghosts … but in the projection room there is a very evil presence.”
The medium described a thin, gaunt man with a top hat and a long black coat.
Flashes of Poltergeist II‘s Kane aside, the kids were sent through the theatre to investigate. The crew was off-site during the filming and kept in contact through a communications link. When the second teenager went through the theatre, he experienced a jump scare in the projector room.
“He described what the medium said to a T. And I remember my blood running cold,” Kilback said. “All of us turned to look at each other because there is no way that kid … we did that interview (the day before) … he wasn’t on set. He had no way of knowing that.”
There is a revival of paranormal television, and “Web of Darkness” adds its own footprint in that milieu.
Kilback is hoping that the dramatic stories in the series opens audience members’ eyes to the world outside the known.