At Acculturated.com, a cool pop culture site well worth checking out, writer and pal-o-mine Mark Tapson has produced an excellent piece on the iPad/iPhone App Haunting Melissa (script by yours truly):
I’m not generally a horror movie fan, since I spook so easily. The Wicked Witch scared me so much as a kid that I never watched The Wizard of Oz again. After seeing The Exorcist as a teenager, I checked under my bed every night to make sure a possessed Linda Blair wasn’t hiding there. So it was with great trepidation that I pursued my morbid curiosity about a unique new horror flick making its premiere not in a theater or online, but on your iPad: Haunting Melissa.
“I wanted to tell a ghost story in a different way because of the way technology was moving”, said movie producer Neal Edelstein, whose past work includes The Ring andMulholland Drive. “I come from making movies, I love movies, I love the cinema and storytelling in general”, he told Fox 411. “But I wanted to reinvent the way stories are told and consumed”. He wanted to bring a ghost story to tablets and mobile devices, but “it wasn’t really until I saw [the iPad] that I went, ‘OK this is it … now I can do it’”.
Klavan is a friend of mine, so I asked him to take me beyond the chilling storyline ofHaunting Melissa and tell me a bit about its deeper dimension, its themes and values, which he was eager to do. “The story”, he told me, “asks what I think is the central question facing all of us right now: Can we trust our own conscience to show us the way to what’s right and wrong? A lot of folks argue that, because there are moral gray areas, there can be no morality – that morality changes with each culture, maybe with each person. Haunting Melissa doesn’t take place in that world at all. It takes place in the real world, where faith and evil do battle, and even though we have to question our own perception, we also have to have faith in our conscience. Plus it’s really, really spooky!”