Glocester filmmaking team showcases Rhode Island in independent film ‘House of Shadows’

Glocester filmmaking team showcases Rhode Island in independent film ‘House of Shadows’

The independent Gothic romance film House of Shadows, created by Glocester residents Michael and Karen Iacobbo, will be airing on Rhode Island PBS Nov. 10, 12, and 13. From left to right: Olivia Sage Pentell, Jami Tennille, and Joe Michael Phillips

GLOCESTER – Halloween may have come and gone, but there are still local scares left to be experienced – on the small screen.

The independent film “House of Shadows,” shot entirely in Rhode Island, will be airing on PBS on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12, at 11 p.m., and Sunday evening, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. as part of the ongoing Rhode Island PBS series Rhode Island Stories.

Created by the husband-and-wife filmmaking team of Michael and Karen Iacobbo of Glocester, the 52-minute long Gothic romance film takes place between 1893 and present day as an unknown 19th century force is awakened after the mansion of famous Victorian-era poet Nathaniel Silverfield is taken by eminent domain for a planned flood.

The film features an original story written by Karen Iacobbo and directed by Michael Iacobbo that inspired by local history, such as when villages and towns were destroyed to build the Scituate Reservoir, Rhode Island’s largest source of drinking water.

“I recall reading about the suffering of those whose ancestral homes were torn down – even several entire villages, of which we can still see the remains,” says Iacobbo.

Made on a budget of $5,000, Iacobbo said the film was shot in seven non-consecutive days as most of their cast and crew had day jobs.

“We had many challenges on a low budget,” said Iacobbo. “However, we negotiated many things and other things were provided for us like donated time, reduced fees, that sort of thing.”

The independent film was shot at mansions and various locations throughout Rhode Island – including using the Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket.

Other Rhode Island locations featured in the film include the Malbone Estate in Newport, the Governor William Sprague Mansion in Cranston, and the Roger Williams Park in Providence.

“The Museum of Work & Culture was chosen because the film has a factory scene, and there is one assembled at the museum,” says Iacobbo. “Mainly, part of our mission is to showcase the history, architecture, natural beauty, businesses, and talent in Rhode Island.”

The Iacobbo’s used acting talent hailing from all over local southeastern New England with several calling Rhode Island home, such as Burrillville actress Linda Colvin, actor Larry O’Leary from North Smithfield, and mother and son actors Peggy and Josh Passerelli from Johnston.

Iocobbo said in writing the screenplay for “House of Shadows,” she was greatly inspired by the Gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows,” which aired weekdays on ABC from 1966 to 1971.

Both film and show have a direct connection as Connecticut actress Beverly Hayes, who plays Patience Silverfield in the “House of Shadows,” appeared in the original “Dark Shadows” television show.

“Dark Shadows” wasn’t camp, wasn’t played for laughs,” insists Iacobbo. “Instead, the stories were in part derived from great books, great authors.”

Iacobbo says “House of Shadows,” like “Dark Shadows,” plays on the ancient theme of good versus evil, where good isn’t always rewarded, but evil eventually “gets its just comeuppance.”

Currently, the Iacobbos are in post-production of their next project called “Device,” which Iacobbo describes as a sci-fi thriller, and are about to wrap up on another romantic film called “Newport Gothic,” all produced by their company, Providence Lyceum, LLC.

As for “House of Shadows,” Iacobbo would not rule out a sequel in the future, even bringing back killed-off characters.

“The film story is influenced in part by “Dark Shadows,” which brought back characters and actors that have been killed off, as relatives of the deceased, that sort of thing.”

The independent Gothic romance film House of Shadows, created by Glocester residents Michael and Karen Iacobbo (pictured), will be airing on Rhode Island PBS Nov. 10, 12, and 13.
The independent Gothic romance film House of Shadows, created by Glocester residents Michael and Karen Iacobbo, will be airing on Rhode Island PBS Nov. 10, 12, and 13.

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