hm1Haunting Melissa is one of the App Store’s spookiest offerings, and yet there’s also a surprising amount of interesting technology behind it. For the unfamiliar it’s essentially an episodic ghost story about a young girl who has disappeared shortly after claiming some sort of apparition had appeared in her home. But it’s also more than that: updates don’t appear on a regular schedule, episode length can vary greatly, and many episodes will actually change slightly (different camera angles, new background details, etc) when viewed multiple times.

Neal Edelstein on the set of Haunting Melissa - Image Credit: Shaun Robinson via IMDb

Neal Edelstein on the set of Haunting Melissa – Image Credit: Shaun Robinson via IMDb

Neal Edelstein (Haunting Melissa‘s director) and the rest of the team wanted to create a new way to tell stories right from the beginning. While it’s a passive and linear experience overall, those dynamic story elements I’ve mentioned – along with the “mystery schedule” and a clever use of push notifications – really set it apart from other traditional stories. And it’s not finished evolving, either. Edelstein has been keeping an eye on the ever-changing state of iOS and adjusting the app accordingly by jumping on iOS 7 features such as automatic background downloads. He’s been considering other ways to help spread the story around as well; Facebook and other forms of social media are currently being considered.

User feedback has also been instrumental in helping him decide what to do with a sequel. Yes, that’s right, there’s going to be a sequel that should be coming out sometime this fall. We don’t have any more details than that at the moment, unfortunately, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for. What’s more, the technology behind Haunting Melissa has attracted the attention of other filmmakers and talent (including some big names in the industry that aren’t being divulged just yet). Edelstein and co. are already working on other stories that are separate from Haunting Melissa but use the same software and structure, and there’s little doubt that even more projects will be popping up in the future. Not just horror-themed work, either. Comedies, thrillers, sports – pretty much anything is fair game.

hm4These are exciting prospects, and it’s easy to see why other filmmakers would want to jump on board. I mean this is essentially a system that would let them have complete and total control over their work. No studio involvement whatsoever. Of course only time will tell how this all pans out, but the possibilities and the technology behind it are incredibly exciting! In the mean time you can check out Haunting Melissa now and see it all for yourself.

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