Horror fans are the most devoted film genre fanatics on the go. Local filmmaker and horror connoisseur Mike Hickey is living proof. His love of the genre inspired him to direct award-winning horror shorts and create Fright Hype, a weekly news series he hosts on the digital genre network Crypt TV.
“It’s always just been something I’ve been drawn to, ever since I was small,” says Hickey. “I remember always being really into Halloween, into Halloween and horror themed kids content like the old Disney cartoons and stuff, and there were these books at the public library in my hometown about Dracula and the Wolfman that I used to take out on almost a weekly basis.”
Launched in May 2015, Fright Hype proves that horror fans will always drink up content that satiates their vampire-like thirst. Although Hickey sat on the concept for years, his partnership with Crypt TV finally gave him the impetus he needed.
“I made a pitch video that’s honestly pretty similar to what you see in the first episode and sent it to them and it just went from there,” explains Hickey. “I’ve been really lucky to get on board with them when I did. Their reach has exploded.”
Backed by Purge producer Jason Blum’s company Blumhouse Productions and Eli Roth of the Hostel franchise fame, Crypt TV has over one million Facebook followers and attracts younger audiences not as easy to reach on television.
“When Fright Hype started last year, Crypt TV had maybe nine thousand likes on Facebook and the first couple of episodes of Fright Hype got two to three thousand views,” says Hickey. “Now the show gets seen by hundreds of thousands of people each week. It’s insane.”
The popularity of his show and his development of a feature-length horror script all contributed to Hickey’s recent trip to Los Angeles as part of a business development mission funded by The Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation (NLFDC) and The Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development (BTCRD).
“The LA trip was amazing,” says Hickey. “The Produced By Conference was informative and inspiring, as were the group sessions we had throughout the week. They’ve really made me take a step back and reconsider how to approach my career.”
The trip had other perks for Hickey.
“I finally got to sit down in a room with the team at Crypt TV and talk about where we want Fright Hype to go, and that’s really exciting. I also made it out to Dark Delicacies, this iconic horror shop in Burbank. The team behind a recent release were doing a DVD signing and I got to meet them.”
As for the future of Fright Hype and Hickey’s career?
“I’d always seen myself as a writer-director, and that will hopefully still happen to some degree, but right now I’m really interested in taking what I learned in LA and using it to produce more. To build a team around an idea and push forward to execute it.”