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David J. Ellison


10 Minutes


United Kingdom


It is 1942, in the dark woods of Pennsylvania, Richard Mason is the Familiar to a hideous ancient vampiric creature living in the bowels of an isolated mansion. Every day he must bring a new victim for it to feed on and tolerate its physical and mental abuse.

Familiar is a call back to the classic horrors of the 1930's such as Tod Browning's 'Dracula' (1931) as well as a love letter to the silent cinema era such as 'Nosferatu' (1922) and 'Dr. Mabuse The Gambler' (1922).
This can be seen in the wide master shots of Familiar as well as the absence of dialogue from the single lead role.

Alfred Hitchock is quoted as saying, 'If it's a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.' and I hope this is the case with Familiar.

We also created a minimal location production for Familiar, I've always felt this could be a stage play a with minimal cast and an intimate emotional atmosphere. It is also has a heavy European flavour with my love of French suspense films like 'Diabolique' (1955) and 'Elevator to the Gallows' (1958). We see very few films these days actually deal with suspense in a Hitchockian sense, waiting for that moment of terror using a sublime build up and also truly playing around with a unique sound design. This is something that we have aspired to do.

Familiar is a film that underpins several societal issues, issues that are sometimes not tackled or people are reluctant to discuss. One is the concept of male domestic abuse with Mason as the battered and abused husband, also you could consider the relationship between Mason and The Other almost as a male same sex relationship but a very toxic one. It also deals with co-dependent relationships and being forced into caring for the infirm. There are many parallels in there for the current covid crisis.
For example, being trapped in a house with an abusive persona. Depression, anxiety and guilt. Also your whole world becoming the house you live in with Mason mindlessly trying to divert his thoughts from his awful situation with the same single record he plays over and over again. We also play with the audience, tricking them into feeling sympathy for a man who is just as guilty of murder as the creature he serves....

Familiar was made with a very diverse crew. All of our departments such as production, camera, production design, post and sound represented a broad mixture of genders, races and ethnicities. We are committed to producing films with the widest representation possible. The film was shot with a very stringent covid PPE policy.

David J. Ellison is a writer director of horror and thriller films with a minimalist style and high visual impact. David wrote and directed the 2013 'I Against I' for Stray Dogs Films and also won the 2008 San Diego Comic Con Award for best horror and Suspense short film 'The Insane'. David's movies focus on psychological horror with minimal locations and minimal actors for a more intimate film experience. He is strongly influenced by Silent Cinema and Asian movies as well as classic horrors such as the James Whale films, Hammer Horror and any classic film set in minimal locations.


Writer/Director/Producer - David J. Ellison
Producer - Mike Staniforth
Producer - Michael keogh
Director of Photography - Mike Staniforth
Editor - Andrew Mckee
Composer - Andrew Henderson
Colorist - Jorge Ortiz
Visual FX - Sam Highfield
Monster FX - Demitris Robinson
Production Design - Martin Butterworth
Costume Designer - Rebecca Chubsey
Sound Design - David J. Ellison & Andrew Henderson
Assistant Director - Jack Casey

Hugo Nicolau - "Richard Mason"
Richard Wiltshire - "The Other"
Milda Cuplinskaite - "The Victim"