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Shudder goes on a “HELLBENDER” with Fantasia premiere chiller

Thursday, August 5, 2021 | News

By MICHAEL GINGOLD

The occult/folk-horror feature is the latest from the team behind the much-praised THE DEEPER YOU DIG.

Shudder has announced its acquisition of HELLBENDER, which it will release on its platforms in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand in early 2022. The movie, which world-premieres virtually August 14 as part of the 25th Fantasia International Film Festival, was written and directed by Toby Poser, John Adams and Zelda Adams through their Wonder Wheel Productions; the trio also star along with Lulu Adams. The synopsis: “In HELLBENDER, 16-year-old Izzy [Zelda Adams] suffers from a rare illness that has kept her isolated on a mountaintop with her mother [Toby Poser] her whole life. As Izzy begins to question her sickness, she pushes back against her confinement and secretly befriends Amber [Lulu Adams], another girl living on the mountain, but her newfound happiness is derailed after she eats a live worm as part of a juvenile game and finds an insatiable and violent hunger awakened within her. To understand the hunger, Izzy must learn the dark secrets of her family’s past and the ancient power in her bloodline.”

“We are thrilled to bring this family-focused folk nightmare to Shudder,” says the streamer’s general manager Craig Engler, “with such a talented actual family in front of and behind the camera. With HELLBENDER, Wonder Wheel Productions has made their most polished feature yet, and we know our audience will delight in the film’s shocking visuals and scares.” The filmmakers add in a statement, “Teaming up with Shudder was at the top of our bloody bucket list. They’re the pinnacle of beautiful horror, and to be a part of that is beyond thrilling for our family.”

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and spent 28 years as a writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. In addition to RUE MORGUE, he currently writes for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM, IndieWire.com, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM and others. His book THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press) is out this fall, and he has contributed liner notes and featurettes to a number of Blu-ray and DVD releases. Among his screenplay credits are SHADOW: DEAD RIOT and LEECHES!, and he is currently working on THE DOLL with director Dante Tomaselli.