Claustrophobia (2003 film)

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Directed by Mark Tapio Kines
Produced by Mark Tapio Kines
Julia Stemock
Written by Mark Tapio Kines
Starring Melanie Lynskey
Sheeri Rappaport
Mary Lynn Rajskub
Will Collyer
Judith O'Dea
Music by Christopher Farrell
Cinematography Bevan Crothers
Edited by Marc Wade
Distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment
Release date
  • 2003 (2003) (U.S.)
Running time
79 minutes
Language English

Claustrophobia (retitled Serial Slayer for home video release) is a 2003 horror thriller written and directed by Mark Tapio Kines. The film stars Melanie Lynskey, Sheeri Rappaport, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Will Collyer, and Judith O'Dea.


A quiet neighborhood outside of Oakland, California is held hostage with terror when a serial killer armed with a crossbow begins to stalk and kill the residents from their rooftops. Hunted in their own homes, no one is safe. And as the body count begins to rise, the neighborhood mirrors a ghost town. The only safe retreat becomes a horrifying deathtrap for three women who believe they are alone - until they hear the terrifying footsteps up above...


With only three main speaking roles, Claustrophobia was a relatively easy film to cast. Kines first invited Melanie Lynskey to take part in the film, as the two had worked together previously on his debut feature Foreign Correspondents. The search then began for the two remaining leads, with Kines receiving over 1,000 headshots during the auditioning process.[1] Sheeri Rappaport and Mary Lynn Rajskub were cast soon thereafter.

After a brief rehearsal period, Melanie Lynskey, Sheeri Rappaport and Mary Lynn Rajskub were set to star in the film. Kines was also able to cast Judith O'Dea, star of the classic 1960s horror film Night of the Living Dead, in a small role.[2]


Principal photography began on June 3, 2002 and wrapped on June 13. Most of the film was shot in a single house with only a few exterior scenes. The film was shot entirely in daylight, something Kines felt added a surreal and nightmarish quality to the story. However, this innovative decision led to mixed audience reactions.


Editing, digital cleaning and color correction were next on the list. Kines then drafted in his friend Christopher Farrell to score the film. Farrell had previously scored Kines' first film, Foreign Correspondents. The titles for the film were done by William Lebeda, whose credits include The Village and Drag Me to Hell. Dialogue touch-ups, sound effects and background noises were all taken care of in the 5.1 audio mix. Kines sent the film to Serafine Sound, a professional post-production sound house in Los Angeles, California. The film was fully completed on May 31, 2003 – 364 days after the first day of production.

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