Erwin’s history is jumping to life this year as a local film studio works to retell history, myths and folklore through a new web series premiering this Halloween.
Set in modern-day Erwin, “Erwin Horror Story” will seek to retell some of Erwin’s most riveting tales throughout the town’s history, according to the series’ creator, Dustin Street.
The series combines history with a twist of some of the tallest tales the area has to offer including the Wampus Cat, the legendary Devil's Looking Glass and Old Dawg, a vengeful spirit who is said to haunt Erwin’s Jobe Cemetery.
Even though the show is set as a horror series, Street said he found it important to include some of the town’s authentic history in the story. The drama will be set in modern-day times and the dreary setting follows the closure of CSX transportation in October.
“It provides a good vehicle for storytelling and awareness,” Street said. “If people watch this show, it makes it more real that it happened and people can understand the consequences.”
The eight-episode series will follow characters as they confront various myths and the town’s own history, occasionally stepping into controversial territory.
Street said that he wanted to show the full history of Erwin with the series, not just the good parts, though, because he said he thinks its important not to shy away from the darker side of Appalachian history.
Big Small Town Studios is the production company heading the project, and has already seen success with different shorts, documentaries and produced Street’s first web series in 2012, “The Stranger.”
Fiming will begin in the summer to prepare for the series’ autumn release, but viewers don’t have to wait until Halloween to get a taste of “Erwin Horror Story” — the studio will be releasing short films every other month leading up to the release of the series. The first of these shorts, “The Visitor,” was released on New Year’s Eve and is available to watch on YouTube and the studio’s website.
The prequel films, like “The Visitor,” will be tied in to the main story of “Erwin Horror Story” and provide background context to the show’s main storyline. While the series will be set in modern-day Erwin, the prequels will be flashbacks to the beginning of legends, like “Old Dawg” for example, the focus of “The Visitor.”
“He doesn't really have any backstory, nobody really knows where he came from,” Street said. “So this film that we just released is our version of what his backstory is.”
The show’s eight full episodes will be released at the same time, Street said, and it will be a stand-alone series. Street’s status as an Erwin native and lover of history drove him to create the series that portrays Appalachian history and culture.
One of his goals, he said, is to portray the area in a realistic light, which includes some controversy in addition to the diversity he hopes to show through his work.
“I've always thought that people who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” he said. “It's important for people to know that history, it's important that we don't forget it.”
Watch the trailer for ’Erwin Horror Story: The Visitor’: