Highly creative, intelligent and motivated, the Cincinnati, Ohio resident has worked as a producer, writer, creative consultant, photographer, and researcher just to name a few. The man of many titles refuses to get bored. “I’m always thinking and planning,” laughs Karlage during our recent interview. “However, the hard part is making it happen.”
He doesn’t seem to have too much trouble making it happen though. This past year, the talented Karlage produced an independent feature film titled, The Farm. Not only did he act as the film’s producer, but he also worked as its screenwriter and web developer. Steve Olander directed and edited.
According to Karlage, The Farm is based on true events, and let’s just say, it’s not exactly about cows and chickens. Rather, the film focuses on a young, married couple while on their honeymoon. The bride’s aunt, who is a realtor, loans her and the groom a rustic farmhouse to stay in after their wedding. The country abode, however, is hardly charming and the couple’s romantic retreat turns into a horrific nightmare of sorts. Estella and her new husband, Johnny, become stranded at the farm due to inclement weather and they soon realize they are not alone. Ghostly events begin to take their toll on the couple, and whether or not they can escape their ordeal is left to be unseen- or at least for now.
Karlage will not discuss too many of the film’s details at the moment, as The Farm is still in the editing process. He hopes that its full length version will be released the end of February 2012. Currently, only a shortened version can be seen, which was run at a festival in Ohio in October of 2011.
The paranormal-horror film has the perfect trifecta for the making of a hit: a creepy setting, several very talented actors and a brilliant production crew. Karlage proudly states that Hollywood is already beginning to take notice of The Farm, and he hopes that after its spring release, the film will gain even more praise and recognition from not only big name critics, but also from audiences across the nation.
I, personally, have no doubt that Rocky Karlage will soon become a household name after The Farm‘s major debut, earning him a much coveted mark in the film industry. In fact, the film did so outstandingly well at its Ohio screening in the fall, that it was also invited to be shown at the 2nd Annual Independent Film Festival in California in March of 2012. Karlage further states the film will have a sequel, which hopefully will premiere sometime next year.
The Farm is not the only big project that Karlage has under his wing. He is also the creator of the much loved and highly respected Ghost Walk Saga. Karlage’s Ghost Walk is an epic ghost story based upon historic events in late 1800s America, centered around the prestigious Lane Family of Cleveland, Ohio. The fictional characters were founded by Karlage; however, they may be more real than they seem. “I have been told by psychics that the characters created for Ghost Walk are very close to “people who actually exist or existed.” For instance, take Ghost Walk‘s most popular character, Little Lela. Lela, the mysterious girl whose story is unfolded in the series, is based upon the “real” spirit known to Karlage as Lilly Rose. The producer states that Lilly Rose has visited him in her ghostly form many times over his lifetime.
“Lilly Rose is a little girl ghost that is always around me. She makes herself known quite abit,” explains the Ghost Walk creator. Karlage goes on to state that Lilly Rose, who according to sensitives passed away over 200 years ago, looks for her mother who may be trapped, paranormally speaking. Karlage feels this notion to be true as he communicates directly with Lilly Rose. Considered to be an intuitive, Karlage often receives messages from this little spirit. And, according to other Ghost Walk staff members, Lilly Rose is beginning to connect with them as well. “Lilly Rose just wants to be heard. She has reasons for reaching out to me and pushes me with my plans,” confides Karlage. “She is an inspiration behind Ghost Walk .”
Karlage continues on to say how all the characters in the saga are amazing. Each and every one of them is beautifully complex and fascinating, adding to the drama and intrigue of Ghost Walk. “To me, the saga is the ‘Gone with the Wind of the Paranormal’,” chuckles Karlage. “In all seriousness, the Ghost Walk stories are very important. They have meaning, are educational and full of history. And within each story they feature dangers that are real.”
Some of Ghost Walk‘s other characters, in addition to Little Lela, include The Ladies Three: Miss Dorian Lane, Mistress of Lane Estate and Manor; Leila Trent, Dorian’s best friend; and Sara ‘the hunter’, guardian of Lane Estate. The Main Men of the Estate are as follows: Taggart, the foreman of Lane Estate; Siegfried Lane, Master Lane of the Estate; and Jonathan ‘Jack’ Dawson, Lady Dorian’s fiance. There are also the two children: Little Lela (also known to many as Lilly Rose) and William, who is Lela’s best friend. In addition, the Romy gypsies are characters in the saga, and their caravan lives on the eastern border of the Lane Estate.
Within the Ghost Walk series, “monsters” are said to walk among the so-called ordinary population, unbeknownst to others. These dark creatures may look typical, acting much like “real” individuals, when rather they are far from it. The three main female characters become entrapped in the supernatural schemes of the evil master of an ancient secret society. All the while, times and places depicted within the stories are historically accurate. Karlage is particularly proud of this, as he is a lover of history. Ghost Walk‘s president and producer has worked hard on his saga.
Ghost Walk: The Harvest Ball was screened at the Indie Gathering International Film Festival in August of 2010, a most honorable accomplishment indeed. Karlage’s Ghost Walk company continues daily to develop a high concept story that incorporates many aspects of art, such as photography, video and musical composition. “Ghost Walk Productions will bring the Ghost Walk story to book and even cinematic reality,” explains Karlage.
In addition to the actual saga, Karlage hosts a blogtalk radio show titled, Ghost Walk Mysteries, which airs every Monday at 6 pm EST. The weekly broadcast of old-time radio from the mysterious to the downright frightening transports listeners to an era past.
Ghost Walk also features an online store, which can be found at http://ghostwalk.miiduu.com/index.php?route=product/allproducts. Here, one can browse various items, some of which are a tad creepy. Karlage sells haunted dolls on the site, which are quite popular nowadays. The dolls are said to hold the spirits of the deceased either by choice or because the spirits were forced into the dolls (or hosts). Dolls are “adopted” regularly through the online store. Karlage also offers a variety of jewelry, worry doll accessories, and smudging kits. This season Ghost Walk Productions has joined forces with the FreeStore Foodbank to help ease the hardships of families in need. Therefore, the online shop will give 25% of all sales to the foodbank til December 31, 2011.
And speaking of haunted dolls, Karlage excitedly takes a moment to mention his good friends and colleagues, Tom and Traci Watkins of Knight Paranormal Investigation out of Albany, Pennsylvania. The Watkins are the founders of the famous “Doll House Cam.” The two paranormal investigators started the idea simply enough a few years ago at their home. The couple set up video cameras in the hope of capturing evidence of their haunted dolls moving about on their own. According to the Watkins and those who watch the videos through www.dollhousecam.com, the dolls will move slightly, without any help- at least from the living. On one occasion, one of the Watkin’s cameras caught something pretty phenomenal. On March 20, 2009, a camera facing an empty stairway, caught a most extraordinary ghostly image. The apparition stayed in view for nearly two whole minutes, something quite rare when it comes to capturing evidence of this kind. The image, most likely a small child, is very easily seen in the film. Traci Watkins was out of town that day, and Tom was busy with their three children in another section of the house at the time. The paranormal footage is now on YouTube under the title, The Apparition. Karlage helped put the video together along with colleague, Sharon Watkins. The video is well watched and continues to amaze even the most skeptical of viewers.
When Karlage is not busy with making films or videos, and isn’t working on his Ghost Walk projects, he is spending time on his publication, Haunted Path Magazine. Karlage is the magazine’s publisher and consultant. He started Haunted Path in August of 2010 and it has been growing rapidly ever since. Haunted Path Magazine is both a printed and online publication, as well as a website. The magazine features special industry and life interviews, topics involving the paranormal, horror, spiritual and human interest. There are also write-ups on all the latest books, movies and works of art in the world of the paranormal. Editor Sharon Watkins and General Manager Traci Watkins work alongside of Karlage and their outstanding efforts are easily seen in each and every issue. In addition to the magazine, there is Haunted Path Live, which is the radio version of the popular publication. The weekly show is hosted by Maria Mazur of Knight Paranormal Investigation. Each week a new guest is interviewed for the show.
Karlage confides to me that he is currently working on forming a band in order to promote his latest projects. Although the idea is just in its beginning stages, he is quite excited about getting members together and coming up with a unified musical group; yet another “hat” for Karlage to try on.
Oh, and did I mention that Karlage is also a professional photographer? “I don’t have much time for this anymore, but I do still enjoy it when I can,” states the talented Ohio resident. “I have done a lot with fashion models in particular.”
Karlage was also chosen for Stanford’s Who’s Who “Black Book” 2012 and was published and listed as one of “Ohio’s Top 77 Poets.”
No doubt Karlage is incredibly gifted and passionate, but he’s certainly not one to boast his achievements. During our interview I found him to be a genuine and modest person; quite rare in this day and age. I found his kindness and humble nature to be extremely admirable traits indeed. “My dad, the best man I ever knew, always told me that if I wanted to have friends, then I needed to be a friend,” states the gentleman.
While chatting with Karlage recently, I found myself wanting to ask him more and more questions. To say the least, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about his inspirations, his mentors and what got him interested in the paranormal and horror.
For Karlage, as long as he can remember, has been fascinated by things that go bump in the night. ”I have always loved horror movies and have always been interested in the paranormal. I love Hans Holzer books. I used to be very much into H.P. Lovecraft, but it was a little too dark and creepy, so I got away from that after awhile. I’m also a very big fan of Alfred Hitchcock,” says Karlage. “I’m not so much into slasher films. You know, the ‘in-your-face’ blood and guts kind of stuff. I would much rather watch a suspense film, a psychological thriller, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy some of those gruesome movies at times. They can be fun. I respect the people who do those films, but I love something that makes me think and that’s why I love Hitchcock.”
“As far as mentors go, I would have to say Hitchcock again here. I also must note William Stafford. He was a college professor I had. He was very well respected and his writing class was very hard to get accepted into. He selected me; it was a huge honor. I also look up to all the classical horror writers of the past,” says Karlage.
And as for inspiration, Karlage has no problem answering that question either. “My wife. She is incredibly supportive and she always encourages me.”
It is quite obvious to me that Mr. Rocky Karlage has a lot on his plate, but unlike most of us, he can handle it- and well. Karlage is, indeed, a rarity in the film industry with his combination of friendliness, creativity and dedication. His production, The Farm, will most certainly make even the hardest to entertain, stand up and cheer; a frightening cinematic delight that it sure to please. Karlage has come far, but doesn’t plan to stop here. His hardworking ways and determination will take him to places many others in the industry only dream about. With his creative and brilliant mind forever churning, Karlage has no reason to hang his hats up anytime soon.
For more information on Rocky Karlage and his work, please view the following sites: