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ST. LOUIS - The premiere of Elle Mercurio-Cherrier's horror film "Claimed" is soon to be released with great anticipation. The initial showing of the movie is set for Dec. 4 from 4 to 6 p.m. at St. Louis County Library Prairie Commons Branch at 915 Utz Lane in Hazelwood, Mo.

Mercurio-Cherrier said the horror film "Claimed" debut is sure to have your inner child sleep with one eye open. The goal of the film is to raise awareness of the heroin epidemic that sweeps throughout the area (#Horroroverheroin). “Claimed” stars Steven C. Randall ("Shakespeare's Mummy"), Stephen Potter ("Four-Way Stop"), Karen Druley ("Going My Way"), and local well known St. Louis author and director - April Floyd ("Unique").

Another movie showing will occur at the Lewis and Clark Historic State Park at 3005 Poag, Hartford and at Post Commons in Alton with dates to be announced. Other showings are planned in Mount Vernon, IL., Chicago and Carlyle and much more.

Mercurio-Cherrier said "Claimed" is a historical fiction about an English colonization-gone terribly wrong in a new world filled with unspeakable beauty and uncertainty.

"They arrived uninvited,” she said. “They may have suffered a lack of supplies and preparation for the wilderness that had yet to be tamed. However, no nightmare would have prepared the uninvited colonists for the horror awaiting them. Hasn't anyone told them it's a brave new world? They came to claim a new world but it was them who were already claimed.”

“Claimed” was filmed in Hartford, IL. Mercurio-Cherrier resides now in Florissant, Mo., and has considerable family around the Riverbend region. Cast members came from Florissant, Alton, Wood River, Godfrey and across the country for her film. Thirty-seven were members of Mercurio-Cherrier’s crew.

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#HorroroverHeroin is a cause that raises awareness of the heroin/opiate epidemic that not only claims lives here locally but nationally. Started by Cherrier who hopes to change the stigma that heroin addiction brings and encourages our communities to engage in discussion regarding recovery, awareness, and anti-drug education.

Director and writer, Elle Mercurio-Cherrier said when asked, "I hope one day we can shatter the hold and horror that heroin has over our communities. I seek to widen the horizons of the horror genre as well as dissolving the staggering statistics by turning the tables on drug addiction by using film as my platform of delivery. "

"This story is relatable. In the story the colonists vanished without a trace, and I believe we are facing something very similar in our modern age with the opioid epidemic. I would say that much like the quickly spreading demonic possession and subsequent destruction of a community, heroin functions much the same. But in all actuality heroin isn't so much of something that you use, rather it uses you,” Mercurio- Cherrier said.

The rest of the ensemble cast includes Leander Beatty, Londa Hill, Shannon Teems, Tim Mosley, Don Mercurio-Cherrier, Jonny Xacto, Mallory Echelmeyer, and Shelly King. This summer's filming of "Claimed" in beautiful Hartford, IL. included more than 134 cast and crew members all who were voluntarily. Most involved in the production of "Claimed" were emotionally invested in #HorroroverHeroin as well. The film is dedicated to the families of and those have lost their lives to the epidemic destroying our communities.

"Claimed" is a production of Bug-Juice Productions, founded by Stephen Province. Bug-Juice Productions partnered up with Mercurio-Cherrier to produce this film. Director and producer, Stephen Province said "As an independent horror filmmaker, and a father of sons living during an opioid crisis, "Claimed" has been a film project that has interested me from the beginning. I've been proud to be a part of Elle's vision and lend my skills to this unique and scary story. I believe strongly in the mission behind it, advocating for the victims and communities against the heroin epidemic."-Stephen Province. "

Mercurio-Cherrier concluded by saying: “I am proud of the film,” Mercurio-Cherrier said. “It is very accurate and authentic. Addiction affects everyone. I want this film to be part of my legacy.” Elle Mercurio-Cherrier

Elle Mercurio-Cherrier is an Illinois Independent Horror Filmmaker from Saint Louis, MO. She is a mother of four and is personally invested in the success of Claimed and #HorroroverHeroin as well. Although not affiliated with any particular organization, she is in fact in recovery from heroin herself and has been several years.

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