Written and Directed by Chelsea Lupkin
Creative Produced by Sarah Kalagvano
LUCY'S TALE: A SHORT HORROR
Between mean girls, her first romance, and budding hormones, Lucy begins to realize that she’s not quite like the other teenagers in her class in this coming-of-age horror.
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“When girls hit puberty, there’s a whole mess of confusing things to worry about: We get our period, our boobs get bigger, our hips get wider, we get too tall or not tall enough. We suddenly worry about what we look like to boys and how we are perceived by our peers.
When writing Lucy’s Tale, I explored the societal pressures of looking and behaving a certain way and thought of them as rules that my character should break in a fantastical way. So while Lucy was faced with entering her womanhood, she was ultimately also coming into her villain-hood, being supernaturally different than the other girls her age.
Frankly, I’ve always been a champion of fantastic stories, especially those about characters who had physical manifestations of their flaws or internal state of being. Body horror gave me an avenue to tackle the very real and relatable issue of puberty, which is a horror in and of itself.”
- Chelsea Lupkin
Lucy's Tale is a female led, coming-of-age story with a horror twist.
Paying homage to Stephen King’s Carrie and dark female coming-of-age films like, Heathers and Jawbreaker, Lucy’s Tale is sure to remind you of the horrors of growing up and the body insecurity that goes along with it. A suspenseful story about a girl who no doubt wishes to grow bigger boobs, finds herself growing something else and no amount of acne cream or blemish removal can help her. So while Lucy may just want to come into her womanhood, she also comes into her evilness.
The film follows a teenager named Lucy as she tries to find her place in high school after one of her best friends abandons her for “cooler” people. Lucy’s Tale is a story that dives into the complexities of mean girls and also addresses their consequences. For Lucy, her sense of betrayal and new-found outcast status serve as a catalyst for the film’s supernatural happenings. What should have been a time to grow into her sexual identity and womanhood, instead gives birth to telekinetic powers with a hideous physical side effect.
Disfigurement has long been associated with evil and social exclusion - monsters or demons are often portrayed as ugly creatures with ill intent. Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera, and Freddy Krueger all have physical manifestations of their flaws to clue the audience in that they are the bad guys. Sometimes these disfigured characters are naturally disfigured and sometimes that disfigurement happens upon them by outside forces - like the mean acts of teenage girls coupled with something supernatural. The forces beyond the character’s control and the idea that this could happen to anyone, even nice-girl Lucy, add to the horror element of Lucy’s Tale as does the abandonment that makes her have to face what’s happening to her alone.
But Lucy isn’t really a villain or the one to blame for what’s happening to her. Much like Carrie, Lucy’s transformation is a byproduct of her social status and stunted sexual growth. While the film is certainly a dark story, one in which she exercises her powers on those who do her wrong, it also capitalizes on the most relatable horror of all: puberty.
Lucy is just a teenager who has to attend gym class and figure out how to navigate her first real romance. The film is therefore as much of a coming-of-age as it is a horror story. What’s left is a dark tale that touches on all of the relatable and not relatable things that are happening inside of her.
A far cry from a final girls horror film, Lucy’s Tale is a film about growing up and becoming the person you were meant to be, for better or worse. Good or evil, you’ll be rooting for Lucy the whole time.
Director of Photography Jason Krangel
Assistant Director & music composer John Komar
Production photography by Kevin Johnsrud.
Assistant Camera Tom Jezik - Gaffer AJ Ryan - Sound Bill Drexler - Best Boy Jeff Beverly
Associate Producer Kevin Johnsrud
Creative Producer Sarah Kalagvano - Costume Design Calvy Click
Locations can make or break a film's aesthetic and Sarah was nothing if not relentless about making sure we secured the right sets for the production. Dragging her parents along on location scouts, hounding mom and pop pharmacies, knocking on the doors of high schools local to her home town - once Sarah had a vision from reading the original script, there was no stopping her. This was going to look "goddamn amazing".
As Sarah stepped into her role as creative producer, Calvy, the film's costume designer, played a pivotal role in creating the visual language of wardrobe styling each character. As Lucy's character progressed in the film, she found it poignant to reflect that through her character's clothes. Calvy explained, "Teenage girls wear their personality. Their clothes tell a story about who they are and teens are the best at it."
Collaboratively, Sarah and Calvy combined their efforts in styling Lucy's bedroom, bringing in props supplied by SEVENTEEN magazine and from their own homes. Sarah even went as far as bringing old photos from her childhood bedroom and also brought the most 90s wizard-looking candles you'll ever see. Needless to say, the room, much like the rest of the production, was very authentic.
Calvy also ended up reaching out to her parents as well, namely her mother, who ended up embroidering "Kings Catholic" on all of the gym uniforms.
Special effects make up artist Anthony Giordano
A huge fan of horror and a veteran in special effects fabrication and design, Anthony was by far the most important piece of the production puzzle. How were we supposed to build a human tail let alone make it look real? I opted to ask Anthony, an old friend, who I worked with on a movie way-back-when called Robot & Frank (2012). According to Anthony, I was as annoying as a fresh-out-of-college kid would be, but despite all that, we became friends, stemming from a love of horror.
Anthony's movie credits include The Last Samurai (2003), Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004). He also worked as a Special Effects Artist and Prop Fabricator for 6 seasons of Saturday Night Live as well as on Broadway productions including Young Frankenstein, Tarzan and Shrek the Musical.
Needless to say, I didn't know what to expect when I asked him for his expertise and I certainly wasn't expecting him to offer to design it himself! I was floored, totally giddy, and suddenly terrified about what I was getting myself into.
From there, we took Irina Bravo (Lucy) to his shop and began the tedious and hilarious process of creating a custom tail just for her.
In addition to Anthony's talents, we also had the fortune of bringing on Paul Mason, who applied all of the tails to Irina Bravo who played Lucy in the film. Both he and Anthony pupeteered the final tail reveal.
Special Effects Make Up & Puppeteering Paul Mason
Make Up Artist Shay Garcia
While Shay may have had food poisoning, she sure as hell showed up to set anyway. What. A. Trooper. Between natural make up application on all of the principal actors, Shay also created authentic looking wounds, even going as far as working in actual asphalt into one actress' scraped hands to help it feel more real.
Lucy's Tale is Coming soon...
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