Tubi rolled out their October Terror on Tubi schedule this month, and one of the original films announced was Harland Manor, which begins streaming on October 29. 1428 Elm had the chance to talk to writer/director Steven Monroe ahead of the film’s release.
Interview with Harland Manor writer/director Steven R. Monroe
1428 Elm: Hi, Steven! First of all, thank you for taking some time to answer my questions today. I am a writer with horror fansite 1428 Elm, and I know you have some horror cred. Most notably, you directed the remake of I Spit on Your Grave, and now you are the writer/director for Tubi’s upcoming Harland Manor. Tell us about Harland Manor.
Steven Monroe: Thank you! Harland Manor is about a team of paranormal investigators with a successful internet show. They became popular by never backing down, and by provoking the spirits. But in the final episode of the show, the entities they are chasing begin to get to them mentally and physically, and bad things start to happen.
They take on a manor that also was a hospital where young women used to go for not only mental health issues, but abortions, from the turn of the century until the early 1940’s. Horrible things were done to them by an awful doctor and his wife, and now the ghost of the evil doctor and a young girl who was believed to be possessed by the devil himself still walk the grounds of the manor and hospital.
1428 Elm: How did Harland Manor end up as a Tubi project? Tubi is really popular with horror nerds (like myself), so I think that’s going to end up being great for you as the creator.
Steven: My manager Stan Spry at The Cartel started producing horror for them and sent Ira Pincus and Adam Lewinson at Tubi the script. They liked it, and now here we are. I am grateful to all of them.
1428 Elm: Are you a fan of horror films? I know that seems an odd question, given your resume, but I have interviewed directors and cinematographers who are not really huge fans of the genre. And, if you are a fan, what do you consider to be some of your favorite newer horror films?
Steven: I’m kind of more of a 70’s horror movie fan, not a big fan of modern horror. I did like the first REC, and I liked the original Paranormal Activity. But, really The Exorcist is the master of them all. Also, I loved the original The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, and the original Amityville Horror, original Texas Chain Saw Massacre…see where I am going, I keep saying “original.”
1428 Elm: OK, I have to ask about the number of Christmas movies on your resume. As I said, I am a horror nerd. But, it just so happens that I also LOVE those Hallmark Christmas movies, I rarely watch anything else on TV during November and December. How did you end up finding that particular niche?
Steven: I got very lucky, I worked hard throughout my career to NOT get labeled any type of director. It got to the point that the only genre I had not done was a rom-com/family thing. My manager Stan Spry got me a meeting at Hallmark, and to his credit, the head of production Randy Pope trusted me with a show, and then it just took off from there.
It was perfect timing because it was only a few years after the I Spit On Your Grave sequel and the Molly Hartley sequel I had done, and the horror scripts that were coming to me were really bad. So, I needed to step back from that for a bit. And I did, thanks to Pope and Hallmark.
1428 Elm: Moving on from the holiday cheer, do you have any scary stories to tell of your own? This is the Halloween season, after all, so tell us if you have ever had any personal paranormal experiences.
Steven: Nothing super exciting. But, I lost each of my parents to cancer over the last five years. With each of them, only days prior I knew something was wrong, and that I was going to get some bad news or “that call”. The only other time was when I was in Liverpool prepping a film, and my wife was visiting, and we went out to a restaurant for our anniversary in a place that was at the turn of the century a row house.
I had to use the restroom, and went up to the unisex restroom, and when I walked in, I felt a strong presence, and had to get out of there really fast. I went down, and didn’t say anything to my wife. About 10 minutes later, she had to go use the restroom. She came back down totally white in the face and said, “There’s something up there in that f*****g restroom.”
The server overheard her and said, “Oh, did you see or feel anything?” We both said yes, and she went on to tell us that the original owner of the house hung himself in the restroom, and patrons always see and feel things in there.
1428 Elm: That’s all I have for you today, but before we say farewell, tell our readers about any projects you may have coming up in the future (if you are allowed to discuss them).
Steven: I just wrapped another horror film for Tubi called UNBORN, and I am editing it now. It’s a Rosemary’s Baby kind of thing, and I believe it’s set to come out March.
Have you watched any of the Terror on Tubi Original productions? If so, tell us what you thought about them in the comments section.