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Habitual directed by Johnny Hickey
Habitual directed by Johnny Hickey

”Habitual,” the second feature film from writer/director Johnny Hickey comes to theaters and VOD this November, Friday the 13th. The psychological drug thriller/horror film stars Johnny Hickey, Chris ‘CT” Tamburello (MTV’s Real World and The Challenge), Stanley Bruno, Ally Doody, Anthony Hoang, Jaylee Hickey, Dottie Daigle, and Emilee Fitzpatrick.

In the film, a fistful of drug-popping ravers take a heavy dose of something new and unusual that leads to a hellish trip to an underground party at an abandoned asylum in Salem, Massachusetts. Plans to dance and get wasted all night drastically morph into chaotic hallucinations; as the plot unfolds, the characters fall deeper into a metaphorical mind-bending hole. Filmed at real abandoned hospitals in New England, The Habit’s walls, halls, and stairwells spell captivity for the hot young partygoers, who eventually spiral into horrifying paradoxes, blurring the line between nightmares and reality.

”Habitual,” is the second feature film from writer/director Johnny Hickey, known for his drug cult classic “Oxy-Morons”. For “Habitual,” Hickey kept the theme in his macabre wheelhouse, but also dove much deeper into horror territory in order to capture the nightmare of the current fentanyl scourge.

Hickey wanted his second feature to be in the world of the drug epidemic, but he didn’t want it to be a true event movie [like Oxy Morons], People are experiencing a flood of bad drugs, and you’ve always heard of bad trips—that can happen with acid, ecstasy, ketamine, typically people didn’t die from those trippy designer drugs, but now you have fentanyl, you might think you’re doing ecstasy, and you don’t really know what you are doing.

The real underlying message in “Habitual” is that drugs are always going to be here whether you like it or not, and more than ever young people around the world need to think twice before taking them. Anti-drug bona fides aside, “Habitual” is no after-school special. This film is a bloodbath highlighted with intense special effects and some seriously horrifying backdrops. The crew was able to film at the abandoned Westborough State Hospital (once known as the Westborough Asylum), as well as in a comparably creepy building on the grounds of Tewksbury State Hospital’s old asylum for the criminally insane. While the film targets the horror genre, it’s a psychological thriller that taps into Johnny Hickey’s niche storytelling of the collateral damage done by drug abuse.

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