Posted by Jason Hornack
Jason Hornack

The phenomenon of sleep paralysis has been around since the dawn of time. Only recently has there been common awareness of the uncommon experience. The topic was highlighted in the popular 2015 documentary, The Nightmare. Previously thought of as a demonic force pinning the victim down, science and spirit collide in a debate which continues to this day. My own fascination with sleep paralysis comes from personal experience, which motivated me to create the film, Paralysis.

Watch Paralysis

Haunted Inspirations

Sleep has always been the perfect element for horror films; it's when we are the most vulnerable. Films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Paranormal Activity spawned very successful franchises by tapping into sleep vulnerability in very different ways.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Since childhood, we can all relate to hearing bumps in the night and feeling a presence in the room. Was it all in our minds? Are children in some way tapped into the spirit world, or maybe targets of it? As a child, I struggled for years with chronic recurring nightmares and strange feelings of dread while trying to fall asleep. Horror films became a therapy for dealing with it. Watching dark imagery and monsters made it all more familiar and easier to handle. As I grew older, the nightmares went away.

The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli (1781)
The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli (1781)

My Nightmares Came To Life

As an adult, another problem began tormenting me. Sleep paralysis. It's hard to explain the sense of horror and doom that you feel. Your mind wakes up in the middle of the night, but your body doesn't follow suit. You can still see, but your body is frozen in place no matter how hard you fight to break free. You can't escape the paralyzing fear until it runs its course. God forbid that you see a figure in the room. Many people see shadow figures when caught in this state. Is it simply a dream mixed with reality, or a direct view into the spirit world?

Paralysis film- Actress Liana Vittoi
Paralysis film- Actress Liana Vittoi

A New Vision

Many horror and thriller films have involved the subject of sleep, but none have used the topic of sleep paralysis combined with classic horror storytelling. In my film Paralysis, the main character Lisa is a young college student who recently moved to a new city with her parents. She only has one friend at school, and her parents are frequently out of town. Lisa becomes tormented by sleep paralysis. She feels completely alone because no one understands her. Is she alone?

While you're checking out horror films to watch this month, why not see how many of the films you've seen on the list below:

Paralysis is currently in development to become a feature length film. Please feel free to contact Jason Hornack at [email protected] for inquiries about the film and investment opportunities.