Winning Halloween video merges horror with humor
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 31, 2014
Scaring people and then making them laugh may not be the classic model for a horror movie, but don’t bother telling Aiea writer Courtney Takabayashi and her friends.
They had so much fun making their first video, “March On,” that they want to make another one. We sure hope they do because “March On” was so entertaining that it won the 2014 Halloween Video Contest sponsored by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now. (Watch their entry at staradvertiser.com and honolulupulse.com, and on Friday’s “Sunrise” morning show.)
The video about a couple hunting for Hawaii’s night marchers — the fearsome ghosts of ancient warriors — topped a field of 15 entries and earned its creators $500.
The “March On” crew included director and editor Denny Hironaga and actors Ron Encarnacion, Annie Macapagal, Wayne Takabayashi (Courtney’s husband and the guy behind the camera) and Wil Kahele as Uncle Kimo. (Trust us, you don’t want to miss the credits.)
All of them have community theater or comedy improv experience, and it served them well.
Humor and conflict helped move the story along at a brisk pace, which was important because of the contest’s five-minute time limit for the video entries, said Courtney Takabayashi, who teaches writing at Leeward Community College. And she wanted a good story rather than a heart-pounding surprise scare.
“A lot of very, very scary stories are intense,” she said. “You have to build the atmosphere and I felt I didn’t have time in five minutes to build atmosphere and get the story across. So I thought. ‘Let’s try to be funny and have scary aspects.’”
Takabayashi wrote a novel and authored a play that won the Kumu Kahua Theatre/University of Hawaii playwriting competition in 2007. But this was the first time she’s heard what her writing actually sounded like.
The plot came from her husband, a First Hawaiian Bank customer service representative who has a side business, Spooky Kine Investigations, that looks into paranormal activity.
“My husband asks people for ghost stories and experiences,” she said. “A lot of times it’s about night marchers — ‘my friend saw night marchers; my aunty saw night marchers’ — everybody seems to know somebody with an experience with night marchers.”