“Meet the Blacks” Sequel “The House Next Door” Starring Mike Epps and Katt Williams will be First Film Released with Dark Circus Label
With the demand for urban-skewing content rapidly escalating, multihyphenate director, writer, producer and creator Deon Taylor (“Traffik,” “Supremacy,” “Motivated Seller”, the upcoming police drama “.38”) has launched Dark Circus – a production shingle solely dedicated to producing elevated urban / pop culture comedy and horror films and TV series.
Dark Circus is a wholly owned specialty label under Hidden Empire Film Group, the production company owned and run by partners Deon Taylor, Roxanne Avent and Robert F. Smith, with Shannon McIntosh partnering on the label as well.
With the creative autonomy and the ability to self-finance, develop, package and produce a wide range of theatrical films and television series, Hidden Empire is in a position to leverage the Dark Circus label to create a first-of-its-kind urban/horror/comedy brand rooted in pop culture.
“There is a substantial market for original, elevated content geared toward an urban audience and Dark Circus is a label created to provide just that, said Deon Taylor. “Audiences will know what to expect when they see something with Dark Circus logo attached to it.”
The debut project for the Dark Circus label will be a collaboration with Snoop Dog to produce “The Thrill” – a horror anthology TV series centered around a mysterious hotel on a lonely stretch of foreboding highway, where the unlucky guests who check in each week struggle to understand the supernatural events that unfold during their stay. Something dark lurks behind the façade of this roadside motor lodge… something even the macabre cast of regular employees can’t quite explain… an unsettling puzzle new guests slowly piece together during each episode that answers the question: Why have they been inexplicably drawn to The Last Stop Inn?
Through a series of flashbacks, each new guest remembers how they arrived and through this story, the guest comes to the horrific realization: The Last Stop Inn is a gateway between Heaven and Hell – a Purgatory in which the guest has been trapped because of something they did… and the fate of that guest’s soul is determined over the course of the episode.
While “The Thrill” will be the label’s debut TV production, Taylor’s urban comedy “The House Next Door” will serve as the debut release from Dark Circus. A sequel to his indie breakout hit “Meet the Blacks” which gained a cult following since opening theatrically in the top 10 at the boxoffice in April 2016, “The House Next Door” stars Mike Epps, Katt Williams, Rick Ross, Danny Trejo, Bresha Webb, Zulay Henao, Andrew Bachelor (aka ‘King Batch’), Gary Owen and comedians Lil Duval, Michael Blackson and Tyrin Turner.
Taylor directed “The House Next Door” and produced the film with partners Roxanne Avent, Robert F. Smith and Shannon McIntosh. Mike Epps is a producer on the film via his Naptown Productions banner along with partner Niles Kirchner, who executive produced.
Taylor added, “We have the resources and market expertise to deliver branded content with a unique voice – one that speaks to an urban audience. I won’t say that this market is underserved, as there are a great deal of films still finding their way to the marketplace. However, our intention is to raise the bar with Dark Circus and create an enduring brand. Partnering with Snoop on this fist anthology series ‘The Thrill’ will have us coming out of the gates strong and we couldn’t be more excited.”
Overall, the launch of Dark Circus, continues a busy run for Taylor who wrote, directed and produced the thriller “Traffik,” which opens nationwide on April 20th (Lionsgate Codeblack release) and stars Paula Patton, Missi Pyle, Omar Epps, William Fichtner and Roselyn Sanchez. Taylor also wrote directed and produced the thriller “Motivated Seller” starring Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy and Megan Good, and also just produced, with Jamie Foxx, the comedy feature “All-Star Weekend,” starring Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., Gerard Butler, Eva Longoria, Jeremy Piven, Jessica Szohr – directed by Jamie Foxx.
Taylor will next direct the movie “.38” – a gripping police drama based on real-life events.
Taylor’s films are financed by his longtime business partner and lead investor, Robert F. Smith. Robert Smith founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 and is the firm’s Managing Principal. Vista has consistently ranked as one of the top Private Equity Firms in the world over the past 10 years with over $3 billion in capital under management.
About Deon Taylor
Deon Taylor is a boundary crashing, envelope pushing, unabashed, creative force in the world of film and television. A prolific writer, filmmaker, director and idea generator, Deon Taylor is a hybrid creative force and savvy producer. His work is innovative, his writing is cutting edge and his vision is distinctive. As a creator, Taylor chooses to forge his own path through Hollywood and into theatres and TV screens, to the delight of audiences seeking fresh, original content with a unique voice behind it. Taylor has written, co-written and directed dozens of films, TV series and special projects and his Hidden Empire Film Group produces a diverse array of larger budgeted projects, born of Taylor’s boundless energy as a multihyphenate visionary and pioneer.
For most of his career as a filmmaker and creator, Taylor has focused on the genre of horrors/thrillers and excelled. When Taylor was asked to read the script for the film “Supremacy” (inspired by actual events), his passion for a new type of project was birthed. Taylor helped put together an amazing cast for “Supremacy” that included Danny Glover, Derek Luke, Evan Ross and Lela Rochon. The film earned critical and commercial praise – so much so that the library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences requested a copy of the screenplay Supremacy for their permanent core collection.
Even before achieving critical acclaim with “Supremacy,” Taylor achieved cult status acclaim with his “Night Tales” franchise. Originating with “Night Tales: The Movie” in 2008, “Night Tales” has amassed a cult following among a young urban audience. “Night Tales: The Series,” aired on WGN and was hosted by Flavor Flav in 2009, and a new “Night Tales: The Movie,” was released in 2011. The latest feature installment, “Night Tales 2: The Movie” was released in 2015. Like so many other properties within Taylor’s domain, “Night Tales” pushes the envelope of horror and delivered content with varying degrees of shock value for different age groups and audiences. His wholly-owned Night Tales Presents label produces feature films and television series as well as a softer edged animated kids’ series on a branded interactive online platform.