Reaves starts new production in September; Lion’s Gate to release his Holmes horror pic

With his horror movie “The Evil One” due out on video from Lion’s Gate in August, Parris Reaves is gearing up to return to his DIY roots for a pair of Christian films.

“The Evil One,” about the ghost of 19th century South Side serial killer H.H. Holmes, will have its world premiere in July at the American Black Film Festival. Reaves hopes the pic will attract enough attention on the festival circuit to transcend its straight-to-video slot and garner a theatrical release. “Who knows what will happen after the premiere,” he said.

Bigg Gipp (left) and Geno star in “The Evil One”

Sister urban production companies Breakaway Films and Maverick Entertainment financed the under-$1 million budget for the Super 16mm “The Evil One,” which shot here last summer. Artisan, through a deal with Breakaway and Maverick, released on video Reaves’ self-financed debut last year, the hip-hop family drama “When Thugs Cry.”

Like “Thugs,” Reaves will produce and finance his upcoming productions, the short “Rebuked” and the feature “Man in the Mirror,” through his own Hawkfilmz. Even faced with lower budgets than he enjoyed on “The Evil One” ? a shoestring for “Rebuked” and $200,000 for “Man in the Mirror” ? Reaves looks forward to going it on his own again.

“You have more freedom, you’re able to be more creative, set your own pace and omit what you feel needs to be omitted without going through a lot of red tape,” he said. “Whereas when you do it for a production company it’s more of a job.”

The 30-minute 24P DV “Rebuked” tells the story of a man who fails to heed a series of omens and suffers the consequences. Reaves plans to screen the film through the Illinois Church of God, which he attends, and eventually to distribute it through other churches and schools. Production is slated for July. Reaves is co-producing with Shaun Nicholas and with fellow Church of God member Joel Kapity of JIMLAS Films.

Then in September he’ll go into production on the Super 16mm “Man in the Mirror,” about a man released from jail trying to reconcile with his young son while he’s confronted with shocking commands from what he believes to be the voice of God. Reaves aims for a theatrical release. Joey Domaracki will shoot both films and Jim Andre of Film Branch will be gaffer, as they were for “Evil One” and “Thugs.”

Delvin Molden (“Love Relations”) produced “Evil One” for Breakaway. Stephen Sarsfield edited at Hollywood Florida. Titles by Kapity. Dan Scalpone and Alex Gross of Studio 11 are doing sound.

Reach Reaves at

– by Ed M. Koziarski,