Haunting Melissa is a new horror story app created by independent film producer Neal Edelstein, creator of The Ring. The app is designed to not only scare you senseless, but to also to give horror enthusiasts everywhere a different kind of scare they have never seen before. It is more than an episodic horror story and also can't be described as a film within an app. Haunting Melissa is an entirely different type of horror story. The app delivers the story of Melissa piece-by-piece and chapter-by-chapter so that the viewer can digest it just like a book.
a good description of Haunting Melissa according to the app is, "No one knows why Melissa vanished. She warned her friends that some ghostly presence had awakened in the isolated farmhouse where she lived...something that whispered to her from the locked room where her mother went mad and died. Now she’s gone... and no one knows what unearthly horror had risen from the past and was... Haunting Melissa."
As different chapters or episodes of Haunting Melissa come out you will receive push notifications on your phone that allow you to then watch the content right away. Each time new content is delivered to your phone it may not be the same length every time. Sometimes you may receive a 20-minute episode and the next time you may only receive a 30 second clip. This type of content delivery makes for the perfect horror story that keeps you on the edge of your seat awaiting the next piece of the story.
During the Q & A Neal answered some questions about the Haunting Melissa "appisodes" and how the app was built. Check out some of his answers below!
Lets talk about the control that you have with the app
We are constantly looking at when we deliver pieces of the story, what’s the distance between each chapter, how the app is updated and how we use push notifications. We constantly monitor how we deliver each chapter and we see how people react
Did you go back to edit the "film" after the app has already been out?
Yes we have gone back and edited different parts of the app. We have tweaked it in certain places and It’s easy to do that with Haunting Melissa being on a server, which makes the editing easier and faster.
Will the sequel have its own app?
No, the sequel will go right onto the Haunting Melissa app. All new content will go right into the app itself. We don't want to create other apps that will continue to use up storage space.
Was your impression of the audience different than you expected?
It has skewed broader than I thought. It has grabbed the attention of teenagers for its physiological horror appeal, but it has also grabbed the attention of an older crowd, which is great.
Did you find the entertainment press open to writing about this app?
People were interested in it because it’s different and people really embraced it. It was mixed across the board. Many people just think that it’s a movie inside an app and its way more than that. The overall feedback was pretty positive from the entertainment industry. I hope that Haunting Melissa will inspire independent filmmakers out there who have a vision and want to make it happen.
Was there concern that people would just get the episodes and just throw them out without grabbing their attention?
I constantly get people who are annoyed that they can't receive all the content at one time. That would make it a movie within an app and that’s not what it is. It was written and conceived to have natural breaks that leave you hanging. You must have cliffhangers and you have to keep people interested. We all love to read books, but how often do you read a whole book in one sitting? You put it down on the nightstand and you think about it and that is almost as powerful as reading the book itself.
Any secrets you can give out about the sequel?
Its a blend of the past, current and what is coming. We will be going backwards in our story and it will be a mix of a few stories woven together. We are excited about it!
Check out Haunting Melissa for yourself and download the app that has been scaring everyone everywhere! You can download the free app that has been completely re-designed for iOS7 here from the app store.