Forest of Fear is an animated brickfilm created for the Halloween season and for Festival of Souls 2. It is based on the 2002 LEGO Studios Monster Madness sets and is currently Mustache Maniacs Film Co.'s most popular film.
"Stop it! Stop it! You're ruining everything!"
The movie opens with married couple Mary and Leo driving out of a farming town in central Georgia, complimenting the locals' beverages and courteousness. However, as they approach the freeway to get on, they discover that the on-ramp is closed. Fortunately, a directional sign points them towards anonther on-ramp. However, as they drive off down a forested road, a construction worker fixes the directional sign to point the other way. He then puts up a sign warning drivers to not enter the forest.
Deeper in the forest, Mary and Leo stop to argue about possibly going the wrong way. They try the GPS, but it does not help them. Running low on gas, they can only hope to find a gas station in the forest. As they drive through the forest, they see a hitchhiker turn into a werewolf. Mary becomes afraid for her life, but Leo dismisses it as a dog.
Driving further brings them to Count Werdna's funeral home Mary is reluctant to step out of the vehicle, but Leo graciously knocks on the door. The funeral home's satyr caretaker Torgo answers the door and introduces the couple to Count Werdna, who is eager to have the couple spend the night. Despite Mary's protests, Leo accepts the offer and they go inside. Once inside, Count Werdna and Torgo guide the couple to two coffins for them to sleep in. Mary realizes that Count Werdna is a vampire, but Leo dismisses these claims.
Out at the Scary Laboratory, Billy Lugosi is busy preparing his newest creation - a monster. However, his assistant Igor hobbles over to inform him that they're out of lightning bolts and that the sky is forecasted to be clear all week. Billy tries to figure out a way to create artificial lightning, but Igor constantly points out holes in Billy's scheme.
Back at the funeral home, Count Werdna tries to suck out Mary and Leo's blood, but is stopped when Mary wakes up and screams. To compensate for the foiled plan, Count Werdna offers them food, which they take. Mary and Leo depart from the funeral home.
As they drive through the forest, Mary and Leo enter the town of Howling Hollow, where they stop at the hotel Washboard Inn. Mary and Leo walk over to a bonfire party and watch the ensuing banjo duel. After the duel, the crowd leaves, leaving the hotel owner to talk to Mary and Leo. They get a hotel room, and the hotel owner leaves for a bite to eat.
Back at the Scary Laboratory, clouds roll in with lightning booming. At the command of Billy Lugosi, Igor activates the devices to bring the monster to life. The laboratory radiates with lightning, causing the inhabitants of Howling Hollow to form an angry mob.
Their commotion wakes up Mary and Leo, with Leo asking the hotel owner for a quieter room. The hotel owner directs them to a room in a windmill, which Mary is reluctant to stay in. However, the werewolf returns, scaring them into the windmill. They lock themselves inside.
The monster comes to life, with Billy ordering it to bring him his magazines. It returns with an issue of Playboy, and Billy decides to unleash his monster.
The mob stops in the forest when they see a bush move. They think it's the monster, but it turns out to be the werewolf, which causes the angry mob to flee. After the mob leaves, the monster arrives and punches the werewolf. The two fight, with Billy and Igor looking on. They enter Howling Hollow, but are afraid of the fire, so they run behind Washboard Suites.
Mary and Leo wake up yet again when the monster and werewolf enter the windmill to fight. Mary and Leo move away from the combat. Outside, the angry mob sees the monster go inside the windmill and procceed to set it on fire, not listening to the hotel owner's objections. As Mary and Leo make a way out, the monster and werewolf run to the roof, where the werewolf grabs the monster and causes both to fall in and die.
Outside the windmill, Leo meets Count Werdna and Torgo, who are out for a night stroll. Count Werdna tries to attack Mary and Leo, but is stopped by vampire hunter Arthur Van Helbrick. Count Werdna tries to escape, but is destroyed by one of Arthur's arrows. Torgo runs away.
After the fire, the hotel owner approaches Mary and Leo and offers them a free night. They accept, but turn down his offer for a free breakfast. He finally directs them to the freeway on-ramp, which was right behind the windmill the whole time. They thank him for his help and get on the freeway. However, behind them, a hillbilly construction worker changes the sign from "To Atlanta" to "To Deliverance." The construction worker laughs.
Mustache Manaics Film Co.'s first horror films date back from 2002 with the animation Vampire's Crypt. While it was more test footage than an actual film, it proved that horror was a legitimate genre for Mustache Maniacs Film Co. This film is now lost.
The idea of making a full animated horror-comedy originated with the never-released Ghost Pictures in early 2009. While that concept was being tossed around for some time, another concept to turn the 2002 LEGO Studios Monster Madness sets into a film was developed as early as March 2009. Around this time was when Ghost Pictures was cancelled.
The film was announced October 5, 2009, with a planned release in October 2010. However, as the script endured several months of re-writes, it became a burden to manage. It still managed to avoid the chopping block as other simultaneous projects, such as Black Friday, were cancelled, but suffered massive cuts and mending. Originally, Leo was also going to be aware of what was going on, but that, the editors reasoned, would have made them both stupid. Leo's personality was changed, as were other shots. Mary and Leo were going to stop at the Scary Laboratory at one point, but this was eventually cut out. The parts of both the werewolf and Arthur Van Helbrick were also cut down. On several occasions, there was talk of ending the project.
Another part that was cut out was the original ending. Originally, Billy was going to exact revenge on Howling Hollow by turning himself into a human/fly hybrid (a la The Fly), eating Igor, and chasing Mary and Leo around. Eventually, Billy was going to fall into a lake and get eaten by an octopus that escaped from the Georgia Aquarium (a la Bride of the Monster). The movie would have then ended with Torgo stepping out and saying, "The Master would not approve of that ending."
Despite this writing turmoil, filming was finally conducted over the summer of 2011, with a final (and constantly delayed) release on October 21, 2011.
While it wasn't popular when it was first released, it quickly garnered views, eventually becoming Mustache Maniacs Film Co.'s most popular film just a year after its release. However, opinions are split on the film; some like voice actor Nathan Crookston loved it, while others like critic movieguider73 and voice actor Al Bermudez hated it. While it is a highly debated film, it still pulls in numerous views daily, justifying a spin-off film titled Van Helbrick and the Monster Fighters and a sequel titled Ocean of Fear.
- Mary Rawlins (Teresa Bermudez)
- Leo Rawlins (Raul Flores)
- Construction Worker (Nicholas Bub)
- GPS (Teresa Bermudez)
- Hitchhiker/Werewolf (n/a)
- Pumpkin Man (cut from film)
- Witch (cut from film)
- Torgo (Andrew Bermudez)
- Count Werdna (Daniel Bermudez)
- Billy Lugosi (Andrew Bermudez)
- Igor (Bryce Bolick)
- Russell Spectre (cut from film)
- Judy (cut from film)
- Howard (cut from film)
- Ghost (cut from film)
- Skeleton (cut from film)
- Hotel Owner (Daniel Bermudez)
- Banjo Dueler 1 (Andrew Bermudez)
- Banjo Dueler 2 (Teresa Bermudez)
- Sheriff Barley (Nathan Crookston)
- Turkey Hunter (Al Bermudez)
- Monster (Andrew Bermudez)
- Arthur Van Helbrick (Daniel Bermudez)
- Fly Monster (cut from film)
- Octopus (cut from film)
- Howling Hollow
- Billy Lugosi's Laboratory
- Count Werdna's Funeral Home
- Washboard Suites
- Andrew Bermudez - Director, Producer, Writer, Concept Artist, Animator, Voice Actor, Editor, Sound Mixer
- Teresa Bermudez - Writer, Advisor, Set Assistant, Editor, Voice Actor
- Daniel Bermudez - Set Assistant, Voice Actor
- Al Bermudez - Voice Actor
- Raul Flores - Voice Actor
- Nicholas Bub - Voice Actor
- Bryce Bolick - Voice Actor
- Nathan Crookston - Voice Actor
- Best Special Effects (The Second Mustache Maniacs Film Co. Fan Choice Awards; 2014)
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Bryce Bolick as Igor; The Second Mustache Maniacs Film Co. Fan Choice Awards; 2014)
"Stop it! Stop it! You're ruining everything!"
Forest of Fear contains examples of the following tropes.
- Agent Mulder: The character of Mary Rawlins.
- Agent Scully: The character of Leo Rawlins.
- Classical Movie Vampire: Count Werdna's appearance is this.
- Creating Life: Billy Lugosi does this.
- Directionless Driver: Leo refuses to ask for directions.
- Frankenstein's Monster: Billy Lugosi creates a creature similar to the one from Mary Shelley's novel.
- Haunted Castle: While not haunted or a castle, Count Werdna's Funeral Home is this. The Count himself almost calls it a castle in the film.
- The Igor: Igor is this, naturally. Also, Count Werdna's servant Torgo fits this trope.
- Kill It with Fire: Both the werewolf and monster die by fire.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: Such as bring Billy Lugosi's creation to life.
- Lost World: Howling Hollow and the namesake forest of fear are this, even if the town in question has a Dollar General and a Chick-Fil-A in downtown.
- Mad Scientist: The character of Billy Lugosi.
- Mad Scientist Laboratory: Billy Lugosi has an outdoor laboratory.
- Molotov Cocktail: The angry mob uses these to set the windmill ablaze.
- No Sense of Direction: The GPS gets Mary and Leo even more lost. They eventually throw it out.
- Non-Malicious Monster: The character of the monster.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Count Werdna is a very stereotypical Gothic vampire, though he does have an assistant in the form of Torgo that helps him dine on human blood.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: A more hominid variant plays a major role in the film.
- Road Sign Reversal: The construction worker fixes the electronic detour sign that sends Mary and Leo the wrong way. This happens again at the very end of the film.
- Scenic Route: Leo says that their mistake put them on one.
- Sequel Hook: The ending could be interpreted as this. A "Forest of Fear 2", titled Ocean of Fear, was eventually produced.
- Southern Gothic: This film's genre.
- Torches and Pitchforks: The inhabitants of Howling Hollow form one giant angry mob.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Howling Hollow's dark secret is that it plays host to a plethora of monsters, which the locals mostly leave alone. They, however, do not take kindly to Billy Lugosi's experiments.
- Vampire Hunter: The character of Arthur Van Helbrick.
- Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: Mary and Leo's entire misadventure starts when they turn the wrong way at a construction detour.
- Hidden Character: In the very first shot of the film, where Mary and Leo are driving out of the town, Jake Raines from Pharaoh's Quest can be seen strolling down the street.
- Hidden Character: In the same shot, the Gorilla Suit Guy collectible minifigure is also walking on the sidewalk.
- Special Prop: Later, when Mary is holding out a road map, a very sharp eye can see it's actually the map to Amset-Ra's pyramid from Pharaoh's Quest.
- Stagehand Visible: When Mary and Leo look inside the empty foyer of Count Werdna's funeral home, you can see a cameraman standing in the bushes behind them.
- Special Prop: When the slouch hat wearing hillbilly glares at Mary and Leo, you can see the half-track from Johnny Thunder and the Secret of Marco Polo parked in his front yard.
- Stagehand Visible: During the shot of the intersection that Mary and Leo go through, you can see a camera woman in place across the street.
- Hidden Character: When Igor sees the lightning, you can see the Monster collectible minifigure in the dumpster behind him.
- Special Prop: When the dog runs off to join the angry mob, you can see a shack behind it. Pinned on this shack is the theatrical poster for An Afternoon at the Zoo.
- Hidden Character: In the same shot as the poster, you can see a shower set up in the front yard. Peeking out from behind the shower curtain is the pig from JustKidden's THAC 8 entry, Pig in a Shower.
- Hidden Characters: The angry mob has many odd members, including the Baseball Player and Ninja collectible minifigures, Officer Max from The Adventures of Legoman, and Gabarro from Johnny Thunder and the Wisdom of the Ancients.
- Stagehand Visible: When the monster comes stumbling back out of the trailer with an issue of Playboy, you can see the best boy peering out the far left window.
- Stagehand Visible: When the turkey hunter hillbilly points his gun at the shaking bush, the safety technician can be seen hiding behind another bush.
- This is the most viewed Mustache Maniacs Film Co. film.
- Originally, Arthur Van Helbrick was going to have a major part in the film. However, after several re-writes, he was reduced to a bit role near the film's ending.
- The ghost hunters that were cut from the film were inspired by the TV show Ghost Hunters International.
- The banjo duel at the Washboard Inn is a reference to the banjo duel from the movie Deliverance.
- The appearance of Torgo is a reference to the film Manos: The Hands of Fate, with the music from the said movie playing as Torgo's theme.
- In one shot, a pig is seen bathing in an outdoor shower, a reference to JustKidden's THAC 8 entry Pig in a Shower.
- The film's tagline "The Woods Have Eyes" is a reference to the title of the horror movie The Hills Have Eyes.
- Originally, a whole slew of monsters were going to appear, but were cut out for time constraints and to focus the film.
- In deleted scene animatics, the hitchhiker/werewolf is played by Andrew Bermudez.