Local Filmmaker Couple Brings Children's Horror Media To Louisville

Two students bring their shared nostalgia for autumn to the screen.

Jun 13, 2024 at 3:25 pm
Local Filmmaker Couple Brings Children's Horror Media To Louisville
The Legend of Gourdface

Alyssa Couri and Hunter Hoskins are the co-writers and co-directors of the short film "The Legend of Gourdface." They were Film Production majors together at University of Louisville. They are also romantic partners.

Couri and Hoskins met in high school. "I was taking biology class with her and we immediately hit it off," Hoskins says. "We became best friends and partners in our freshman year of college in 2020 and we have been together since." The couple began making films together by their sophomore year. Between them, they have now written and directed eight short films and worked on six feature films. In 2023, they won Best Choreography and Best Use of Character at the Louisville 48 Hour Film Festival for their submission, "Bad Faith." In 2024, they are screening their film "The Legend of Gourdface" at the Floyd Theatre, inside the Swain Student Activities Center on the Belknap Campus.

"The Legend of Gourdface" developed out of their shared love of October festivities, and was inspired by children's horror media like "Goosebumps" and "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" Couri describes the film as "a love letter" to the television series and films that introduced her to the horror genre in her childhood and motivated her to become a filmmaker herself.

"Thematically, our project is based around the warm, affectionate, and sometimes foreboding energy that surrounded the fall months as a child — carving jack-o-lanterns, listening to spooky stories, and going trick-or-treating," the couple says. "We like to look at Gourdface as something you might catch airing on a kid's network while flipping through channels, in between a pillow fort with a bucket of candy while the wind howls outside."

Like "Stranger Things" and "Paper Girls," "The Legend of Gourdface" invokes the nostalgia for autumn. In its short runtime, four kids (played by Eliza Smith, Braeden Berry, Jeremiah Stephens, and Evan Magee) devise a plan to vanquish Gourdface (Myles Jordan), a wicked scarecrow who comes to life every one hundred years to feast on the unlucky souls who enter his cornfield.

The production was crowdfunded through an IndieGoGo campaign that raised $2,038, and made use of borrowed gear and help from friends. It was shot on locations in Kentucky — including Happy Jacks Farm in Frankfort — over five days in October 2023.

Liam Champion, who was also a classmate of Couri and Hoskins at UofL, is the director of photography for "The Legend of Gourdface." Champion worked on several short films with Couri and Hoskins, as well as on the feature film "Land Lord," directed by Louisville-based Remington Smith (for which Couri served assistant director). Stephan Carpenter, who earned a BA in Film Studies in Production and a BSA in Theatre Arts from UofL, is the Executive Producer. Carpenter has two feature films, 10 short films, and 88 theatrical credits, in the roles of directing, producing, production management, technical direction, properties, electrics, sound design and engineering, and dramaturgy.

The diverse skill sets and shared passions for horror media that informed "The Legend of Gourdface" make the film memorable, despite its runtime of only slightly more than 13 minutes. Follow "The Legend of Gourdface" on Instagram for production notes and updates and RSVP for the free screening event here.

"The Legend of Gourdface"
Floyd Theatre — Swain Student Activities Center
2100 S. Floyd St.

Wednesday, June 26
6:30 p.m.