‘The Houses October Built’: Why Bobby Roe’s Horror Movie Had To Be Filmed Twice

Writer, director, and actor, Bobby Roe is best known for his film The Houses October Built and its sequel, The Houses October Built 2. Today, both movies have a massive following, especially amongst those in the haunt community. Ironically, the horror film almost didn’t get made. Roe explained why he and his cast had to re-film the original The Houses October Built before it was released to audiences everywhere. 

Mikey Roe, Zack Andrews and Bobby Roe
Mikey Roe, Zack Andrews and Bobby Roe | Robert Benson/Getty Images for iN DEMAND)

The Houses October Built’ is a love letter to haunted houses 

The Houses October Built fans know and love was released in 2014. The film follows a group of friends who take a road trip searching for the scariest haunted houses in America. After they visit a few locations that claim to have terrifying haunts, the group finds themselves searching for the Blue Skeleton — a secret society of horror fanatics rumored to use torture methods to elicit scares. 

Roe wrote, directed, and starred in the film The Houses October Built — his love letter to the haunt community. Roe was a guest on the Lights, Camera, No podcast where he talked about making the found footage film authentic. 

“[There are] 3,000 haunted houses in the United States alone, and no one had ever put it on the big screen,” Roe said. 

Roe took “the Borat approach” in creating The Houses October Built. By putting his actors in the middle of real scare environments, Roe gave his audience a more authentic movie. 

“I can’t get the ‘That’s not what would really happen’ flack because that is what happened,” he said. But before Roe received any kind of flack, he had to fight to have the film made in the first place. 

‘The Houses October Built’ almost didn’t get made 

The Houses October Built has a massive following today. Each year around Halloween, the movie is celebrated by fans in the horror community. But when Roe was pitching the idea to studios, they had a hard time buying into it. 

“But when does the ghost come?” Roe recalls executives saying. “A lot of people in LA and New York don’t know how insanely awesome and crazy and wild the kids in the mid-west — especially the haunted houses — they’re phenomenal, and there [are] 6,000 people there in one night.” 

Fortunately, Room 101 Foreboding Films and Image Entertainment RLJ Entertainment took a chance on Roe’s film. 

The advent of high definition forced ‘The Houses October Built’ to be filmed twice  

Some fans of The Houses October Built might not know there are two versions of the movie. When they filmed the movie the first time around, Roe said they were working with a small budget and standard definition equipment. 

Roe recalled when high definition programming was first introduced. “It was 2010, [and] we were at the cusp of HD,” he explained. “HD Net was a channel, but you would sit and watch water because it was just like, ‘Oh my God.'” The graphics were that good, and the original footage for his movie weren’t.

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“The problem is I shot the original [The Houses October Built] SD,” he continued. “[The original] looks as raw and grainy, and you’re not able to blow that up very well in the theater. So we ended up redoing a lot of [the movie] with a lot bigger budget because we ran credit cards for that first one. We took the Clerks approach.” 

Fortunately, everything worked out and the film was released. The sequel The Houses October Built 2 came out in 2017. 

Stay tuned for more from Roe, including two more potential installments to The Houses October Built franchise, Roe’s portion in the Isolation anthology film, and the upcoming A Wicked Tale