Victoria U. Bell on Transforming Real-Life Nightmares into Heir of the Witch

Director Victoria U. Bell puts her flair for psychological horror on display in her latest gothic thriller, Heir of the Witch. This haunting tale was born from Bell’s deepest fears and nightmares, inspired by her family’s alleged history of witchcraft and curses.

Heir of the Witch follows Anna, heir to a dark witch, who refuses to carry the sinister legacy she was born to. But Anna’s long-dead grandmother has other plans, haunting and manipulating her descendant. Deceived by dark magic at every turn, Anna struggles against the inescapable doom of her bloodline. 

Heir of the Witch transforms Bell’s personal demons into a deeply chilling work of gothic cinema. The film promises to be her most harrowing and ambitious project yet when it is released domestically and internationally on August 4th, 2023.

In an exclusive, revealing interview with Horror Facts, Bell provided a rare insight into her creative process and the personal experiences that shaped Heir of the Witch. She gave our readers an inside look into how her family history and deepest fears directly informed the supernatural elements and dark tone of this film. This compelling interview offers horror fans an intimate understanding of Bell’s deepest inspirations.

Image of Victoria U. Bell

Horror Facts: You mentioned Heir of the Witch was born out of your deepest fears and nightmares. How closely did you draw from specific events and memories in your life when crafting the film’s story? Were any scenes directly inspired by your experiences?

Victoria U. Bell: The story is inspired more from the heavy energy I’ve felt from my grandmother and the events that followed. There are some aspects that correlate to my own experiences. The nightmares were real and dark. I would feel a specific heaviness around me that couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. It was dark, it was dense, and it was very present. Only after praying intensely, would that heaviness leave. Anna’s nightmares were a depiction of my own experiences.

HF: You state that your paternal grandmother was a witch and cursed your family line. How did your grandmother’s story and your family’s history shape your belief in the supernatural or unknown?

VB: It helped me identify the “unknown” with a clear understanding. I used to identify religion as a “Tradition” and “God” as a mystical being. I equally perceived “The Devil” as something terribly scary. But now I feel the truth with absolute conviction. The battle between good and evil is real!

HF: The story of Heir of the Witch deals with themes of inescapable fate and doom inherited through bloodlines. Do you feel our families and ancestry shape our destinies in ways we can’t escape? How did making this film influence your perspective on such ideas?

VB: Absolutely! Our ancestors and bloodline have a huge impact on our lives. There are generational traumas that get passed on from generation to generation. Research shows that “Trauma” can leave a chemical mark on our genes and they pass down the generations. We may refer it to “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” But, we can escape it! My whole life, I was bound to the fear that she instilled in us, but after opening up about this pain and allowing myself to find my healing, I found the strength to overcome it.

HF: The main character Anna struggles against the evil fate she was born into, reflecting your own journey confronting your family’s cursed history. In what other ways did you relate to or see yourself in Anna’s character? Did portraying her story feel like a form of release or freedom from your past?

VB: We all have something we fear and feel enslaved to. In my life, it felt like running away from a fire, but no matter how fast I ran, it was right behind me, bearing over my shoulders, crackling in my ears. In the process of writing, directing, and portraying Anna in HOTW – it was my way of facing my fear of fire and extinguishing it.

HF: You co-founded Pasha Entertainment which helped bring Heir of the Witch to life. How did collaborating with your team at Pasha allow you to transform such a painful personal story into a feature film? Did their support help you feel empowered in sharing this confronting vision with the world?

VB: In the words of the famous filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, “To make a great film, you need 3 things. The script, the script, and the script.” When I presented the script to my team – I had a unanimous feeling of support and we worked relentlessly during challenging times like “Covid”, on the story, site locations, casting, and everything else to help bring my vision to life. When they say “it takes a village” it truly does. I am extremely grateful to everyone on our team for all their hard work on this movie. I couldn’t have done it with them and I am proud to share it!

HF: What can viewers expect in terms of the tone and feel of Heir of the Witch as a psychological horror film? Will it be more atmospheric and creepy or overtly frightening?

VB: There’s a good dose of all of that. I try not to rely on the “typical” jump scares, although there are a few of those, but what carries you thru the film is Anna’s ominous dread and despair that leaves you with an uncomfortable feeling and fear of what is about to happen (or not happen).

HF: Heir of the Witch explores witchcraft and the occult. How deeply does the film delve into the fantastical or magical elements involved? Will audiences see spellcasting, curses, or supernatural hauntings?

VB: Yes! There are loads of witchcraft elements in the movie.
Originally It was way more involved pertaining to witchcraft history – but in post-production, we took some of those elements out. There is a scene that reminds me of what my grandmother did while I was visiting her as a child, which involved animal blood and horrific spells. I kept some of those elements in as I think it’s necessary for the audience to feel what I felt and experience the full spectrum of the story.

HF: Psychological horror often relies on ambiguity and leaving certain elements unexplained. Does Heir of the Witch employ a similar technique, or are all mysteries revealed by the ending?

VB: Most Definitely. There are times when you think it’s going in one direction but ends up going another.  By the end of the movie, the audience will have a slight feeling of closure, but then….. Sequel? Maybe…

HF: What film or director would you compare Heir of the Witch to in terms of its style, tone or themes? Is there another work of horror or gothic fiction that you feel captures a similar mood or spirit?

VB: I don’t want to sound cliche when I say this, but truly, I can’t compare this story with anything I’ve seen before. Maybe because is so close to the bone and personal to me that it feels different and unique in so many ways! I think this film will stand out on its own, but we will let the audience decide!

HF: With so many horror films and franchises out there, what will make Heir of the Witch stand out as a memorable entry in the genre? Why should audiences give it a chance amid so many options?

VB: I poured every ounce of my being into this film. I lived it, breathed, and embodied it. Every scene in this film has a meaning and is not wasted on generic gore or basic bloody banter. As I mentioned… I think Heir of the Witch will stand on its own with its originality and creative direction, it can definitely find a place in the heart, soul, and mind of any True Horror Fan.

HF: What final thoughts or impressions would you like to leave with audiences before they view Heir of the Witch?

VB: Relax, enjoy, and expect the unexpected! Much love to you all! Victoria

Far from the jump scares and gore that plague modern horror films, Victoria U. Bell’s Heir of the Witch promises a chillingly intimate descent into the director’s own darkness. By probing the depths of family secrets, psychic trauma, and subconscious terror, Bell has crafted an intensely personal horror parable. This haunting tale gives form to the ghosts that have clung to Bell since childhood, transforming real-life demons into artfully rendered supernatural villains.

Audiences can anticipate a raw, visceral viewing experience upon the film’s August release as Bell lays bare her vulnerabilities through a genre lens. In baring her soul, the director seeks deliverance from lifelong dread. For devoted horror fans, Heir of the Witch offers the rare chance to confront our collective darkness alongside a visionary filmmaker. 

Heir of the Witch is slated to be released domestically and internationally on August 4th, 2023 via streaming platforms. When it debuts, audiences can expect to experience Bell’s innermost torments brought vividly and viscerally to life.