By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Filmmaker Paul Hough (THE HUMAN RACE) has been telling creepy text stories at the YouTube channel DON’T TURN AROUND for a couple of years now, and recently launched a new on-line platform. He also plans to bring a couple of those tales to the screen, and gave RUE MORGUE some exclusive words about these projects.
DON’T TURN AROUND, which can be found on YouTube here and at its new website here, offers frightful scenarios aimed at young viewers; the site is updated weekly. “I started the YouTube channel when I realized that the most difficult thing for an indie filmmaker is to reach people with their movies when there isn’t a huge marketing budget. With DON’T TURN AROUND, I hoped to create something where I would have direct reach. I put out short films, narratives, creepypastas and texting stories. My ultimate aim was to create something that would spread virally, that people would then want to see made into movies or series. I’ve also used it to develop characters and worlds that I otherwise couldn’t do in a solitary movie. In the DON’T TURN AROUND universe, all the characters interact, while at the same time every story also works as a stand-alone. It has been a huge learning experience, but I’m super-excited now that DON’T TURN AROUND has become one of the leading Internet horror channels. I also never realized, until I started the channel, what an amazing horror community there is on YouTube.”
Hough hopes to tap into that enthusiasm with planned features based on a couple of the most popular DON’T TURN AROUND properties. “The first is the Creepy School Bus movie,” he reveals. “It’s action-horror, scary but without extreme violence or bad language, aimed at the middle school audience. I think it’s close in style to one of my dad’s [director John Hough] horror films for Disney, THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS. I’ve just finished the script and am taking it to different producers.
“The other is a Nancy James movie,” he continues. “She’s the World’s Scariest Babysitter and goes after parents and kids alike. She’s my own version of Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers, and over the course of many stories on DON’T TURN AROUND, I’ve been able to develop her backstory. Both series have garnered tens of millions of views, which I’m hoping will make it easier for me to get these films made. And since I have a built-in audience already [of over 235,000 subscribers], I’m lucky enough to have a free advertising platform.”
He adds that the aforementioned story series have received attention beyond their entertainment value. “Both the Creepy School Bus and Nancy James were investigated by Snopes.com, which investigates whether stories on the Internet are true,” Hough says. “The fact that they covered both shows that enough people thought they were real—which means I’ve been doing something right!”
Hough adds that the interactive choose-your-own-adventure-style text stories seen on the YouTube channel will be coming soon to the website; see a sample below.