THE GALLOWS: How a Small Indie Horror Movie Landed with WB and a July Release

     April 6, 2015


Make no mistake: what happened to writers/directors Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing is an anomaly. As you’ll hear them explain in the interview below, when they set out to make their independent horror movie The Gallows, they hoped it would find an audience, but they never in their wildest dreams expected the film to get picked up by Warner Bros. and slated for release in the heart of the summer movie season. But it did. And it’s hitting theaters this July. It all stems from one small action: they posted the trailer for the movie on YouTube, and then it became an online sensation. That earned them representation and the opportunity to make The Gallows a Blumhouse movie.

During our interview at WonderCon, Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing talked about how they met, what they did to make the film “theater-ready”, test screenings, the fact that they can sit in the audience and no one has any idea it’s their movie, the rating, what the film is about, how Cluff went from Wipe Out champ to filmmaker, and a lot more. It’s a great story and definitely worth checking out. The Gallows hits theaters July 10th.

Finally, before getting to the interview, here’s the official synopsis from The Gallows:

Twenty years after an accident caused the death of the lead actor during a high school play, students at the same small town school resurrect the failed stage production in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy—but ultimately find out that some things are better left alone.


Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing:

  • 00:00 – Introductions.
  • 00:14 – How the trailer for their low budget horror movie became an online sensation and earned them representation and the opportunity to make The Gallows a Blumhouse movie.
  • 02:38 – The movie was good, but it needed more work to make it theater-ready; getting additional funds to do things they couldn’t do before.
  • 03:42 – On “winning the lottery” and having Warner Bros. release this as a summer movie.
  • 04:30 – There’s a trailer and some neat social media stuff on the way.
  • 04:55 – The movie is geared towards a younger audience, but older moviegoers are enjoying the test screenings as well.
  • 05:37 – They’re very close to finishing the movie.
  • 05:55 – On sitting in on the test screenings and pretending they’re part of the audience; going into the bathroom immediately after and hearing what viewers thought of it.
  • 07:11 – Do they know what they want to do next?
  • 08:28 – How Cluff went from Wipe Out champ to filmmaker.
  • 10:00 – How Cluff met Lofing; Lofing on his ambitious thesis film.
  • 11:30 – What The Gallows is about.
  • 12:03 – The film will probably be rated PG-13, but it’s not confirmed yet.

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