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.
Director-Actor - Johnny Hickey
Johnny Hickey is an actor and filmmaker from Boston, Massachusetts. His films are violent, real, and gritty, portraying America’s drug epidemic from various dark perspectives.
A one-time street bandit from Charlestown, these days Johnny is a celebrated filmmaker, actor, and anti-drug crusader. Early on in his career, he was a field producer for Vanguard correspondent Mariana Van Zeller on "The Oxycontin Express," a Current TV special which took home a Peabody Award for its investigation of opiate subculture in Boston. Hickey knew that world extremely well, and has used it as a centerpiece in much of his work up to this point.
Johnny’s feature-length debut, the 2013 opioid tragedy Oxy Morons, had a successful test screening at Showcase Cinemas in New England, where it placed second in the theater's box-office sales in its first week of showing against more than a dozen studio films. The movie subsequently had a successful eighteen-month run on Netflix, getting more than 200,000 praised reviews, and is currently available on Amazon Prime, Xfinity On Demand, and Comcast Cable TV, reaching millions of people nationwide.
Following Oxy Morons, Johnny directed fight choreography for the 2018 MMA action film Blood Circus, which he also helped produce and starred in. With his partners from Sugar Studios in Los Angeles, he recently completed his second feature film, the subterranean rave thriller "Habitual," which stars longtime MTV favorite Chris "CT" Tamburello. Johnny is also in pre-production with VFX Executive Producer Scott Michelson for his next project, Devils Detox, which Hickey wrote and is directing as his third installment into the niche psychological drug thriller genre.
When he’s not creating films for the big screen, Johnny also directs and collaborates with the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism on his Film Intervening Getting High Team (F.I.G.H.T.) project, which produces videos about the opioid crisis with people in recovery as well as media makers whose friends and family members struggle with addiction.
CHRIS "CT" TAMBURELLEO
Known to his MTV fans as "CT," Chris Tamburello is arguably the longest most recognized MTV star on television today. CT made his first appearance on MTVs "Real World" in 2002, continuing on to MTVs "The Challenge" season after season and win after win. CT can still be seen on the show running seasons in 2020.
CT grew up in Charlestown Massachusetts along side director Johnny Hickey. The duo also appear in the 2019 MTV special "CT's Getting Married," where Johnny can be seen as CT's best man in show. (Yes, MTV found CT popular enough to give him his own wedding show.)
CT was cast for the "Blight" creature in "Habitual," for his larger than life size on camera along with his ability to move like an acrobat at two hundred fifty pounds and perform every single stunt required for the character.
Executive Producer of over 30 feature films and 8 time Telly Award, Horizon Interactive, Promax, and OMNI award winner, Jijo Reed, has worked in the entertainment industry for over two decades.
Throughout the 1990's, he worked as post supervisor on the audio/visual ad campaigns of studio films such as Martin Scorsese's Casino, True Lies, Star Trek, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon 4, The Unforgiven, and many others. He is Executive Producer of 23 Feature Films, most notably, of late, the Jim Gaffigan starring thriller, AMERICAN DREAMER and the Fall 2019 Dale Earnhardt/ Mike Waltrip Documentary "BLINK OF AN EYE.".
Jijo also Executive Produced SHINE in 2018, distributed by Disney and Netflix - Reed was Visual Effects Supervisor for THE AVENGERS 3D interactive exhibit, the innovative and revolutionary experience which is currently in NY Times Square, Las Vegas and worldwide. Reed also directed and produced the feature documentary "TITANIC GENERATIONS", which gave him the opportunity to become the 187th man in the entire world to dive the actual wreckage of TITANIC at approximately 13,000 feet below sea level. His "ground breaking cinematic" footage of Titanic is unsurpassed and recognized worldwide.
In 2004, Jijo and his brother, Chuck Reed, created the hit VH1 show "Celebrity Rehab" which has won numerous awards and has helped people all over the world overcome addiction- Jijo Reed is a third generation Los Angeles native (grandson of Alan Reed, voice of Fred Flintstone and nephew of Fred Astaire's choreographer Hermes Pan.)
Having sold over 18,000,000 records, multi platinum producer, Bret "Epic" Mazur was an invaluable creative force in changing the face of pop and alternative music in the 21st century and is now Senior Producer of Audio and Music at Sugar Studios LA. With over twenty years of mixing and production experience, Mazur is an integral part of what Sugar Studios LA offers including, 5.1 mixing, scoring and sound design for feature films, television and trailers.
As a producer, Mazur has worked with some of the most iconic names in the record industry, including Prince, The Black Eyed Peas, NWA, The Plain White Tees, Seal and his own band Crazy Town which had a world wide #1 smash "Butterfly". Today, Mazur has been sound designing numerous films and not only heads up Sugar Studios audio and music departments, but he is composing original music for feature films including The Oath (2018) starring Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish and Habitual (2020.)
Paul has cut 16 feature films and numerous documentaries, series, music videos and theatrical trailers- His loyal clients include Disney, Netflix, Sony, and numerous independent producers and distributors.
Paul first made his way to Hollywood as editor on Hickey's "OxyMorons". Paul was the senior editor for major VFX players Hydraulx, where he helped launch their feature film division, cutting development pieces for Ridley Scott, MGM, Steven De Night (creator and writer of Spartacus) and many others, while integrating CGI and story-telling. Now as Senior Editor for Sugar Studios LA, Paul supervises the entire editorial process from offline story to online finishing, creating a seamless experience for each unique project and client. He just finished as lead editor on Grindstone's feature "Force of Nature" starring Mel Gibson.
Russ Jaquith -Cinemaphotographer
Russ graduated from Bates College with a double major in Studio Art and Political Science. He has been working since 1994 continuously as a cameraman with extensive travel to over 35 countries. He shoots TV, film, travel, documentary film, food, corporate, and action sports. He's worked for clients in Thailand 3 times, the far west of China, the Amazon, Istanbul, Afghanistan, New Zealand and throughout America, bringing him to win several "Emmy Awards".
He specializes in travel films and is a dual passport holder of the U.S. and the E.U. able to work in both places. After a successful 8 year run of making his own snowboard films all over the world, he turned freelance in 2011 where he teamed up with Johnny Hickey to shoot the award winning cult classic OxyMorons.
Michael J. Kalil - Producer
Michael J. Kalil is a 1991 graduate from Boston University's Film School, whose entertainment career began in Los Angeles at MTV, before his work at small boutique talent agency's, and Sony/Columbia TriStar Pictures. Thereafter, he moved to NYC and joined the William Morris Agency as a junior talent agent in the Film/TV Department representing A-List actors/actresses, writers, and directors. He then moved back home to Boston, where he founded South End Entertainment, LLC, created to manage high-profile events and develop various film, TV, and entertainment projects.
Michael went on to become Executive Producer at Conductor Productions, producing top-notch TV commercials. And now he is back to his original passion, combining his love for film/TV/video, storytelling, and Producing at Moodswing Moving Pictures, where he Co-Produced "Oxy Morons" in 2011 and "Habitual" in 2020, with critically accclaimed and award-winning independent filmmaker, Johnny Hickey. Michael also serves as the Talent Manager for Mr. Hickey, to help oversee and provide guidance for the ever-evolving career of the writer/director/actor
Anthony Hoang -Stunt coordinator
Anthony met Hickey working as a stunt actor in “Oxy Morons,” he’s also known for his work on Spenser Confidential (2020), The First Purge (2018), Glass (2019) and Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019).
Keith Shaffer- Producer
Keith is a Massachusetts native and Producer on “Habitual.” Having seen ‘Oxy Morons’ in 2012 and deciding to treat his opiate addiction as a result of the impact the movie made on his life. He met Hickey in 2014 and the two have remained colleagues on numerous other projects including ‘Habitual”. Shaffer gained experience as a PA and Field producer for the Travel Channel’s ‘Ghost Adventures” and “Paranormal Challenge”.
“I approached Johnny and told him about my passion for film, the impact that ‘Oxy Morons’ had on my life, and how it marked the turning point in fighting against my addiction. It was the catalyst in my life to pursue recovery, and I don’t know if I would still be here today without that film. ”
His expertise in production and paranormal culture made for a great fit on the ‘Habitual” crew, and was a key part of scouting and weathering the desolate and haunting locations “Habitual” used in the film.
As a 20 year plus senior colorist, Bruce has graded over 30 feature films including "OxyMorons" , “American Dreamer”, “Blink Of An Eye”, “Shine”, “Walk To Vegas”, “The Toll”, “Elephant” and “Last Days” for Gus Van Sant. Working for prestigious finishing houses in Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta,Boston, and Vietnam, Bruce has credits with MTV, NBC, ABC, Warner Bros, History Channel, Sony, Nike, and artists including Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains. Starting out as a Film / Telecine Colorist, and evolving into digital DI, Bruce has an exceptional grasp on today’s technology backed up with fundamentals needed for getting your deliverables through the strictest QC houses in town.
Thomas Walton - Producer
Thomas Walton is an actor/writer/director & producer. Walton got started in the late 90's as an actor and has appeared in numerous TV shows and films. Walton focused his energy into making films and has since had two scripts over at the prestigious ICM partners, with the late Jack Gilardi.
Walton honed his craft by making short films, one in particular (Booked) which debuted at the famed New York International film festival. From there he went into feature films. His most recent project, a horror/grindhouse/thriller (Room 9) - stars horror legends - Kane Hodder, Michael Berryman & Scout Taylor-Compton.
Johnny Hickey - Simon
Ally Doody - Ashley
Dottie Daigle - Kim
Katie Berner - Molly
Chris 'CT' Tamburello - The Blight
Anthony Hoang - Rob
Emilee Fitzpatrick - Britney
John 'Doomsday' Howard - Bouncer
Stanley Bruno - Blake
Jaylee Hickey - Riley
Sabrina Kennedy - Naomi
News & Media
Film Type: Feature
Genres: Horror, Psychological Thriller, crime
Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes 19 seconds
Completion Date: January 4, 2020
Country of Origin: United States
Country of Filming: United States
Film Language: English
Shooting Format: 4K RED
'Habits' - Channel 5
"Reel World " - The Improper