Their son was obsessed with horror movies. After his death, they're taking up the torch.

When Kyle Cerilli was a kid, he was mildly obsessed with everything horror.

Nothing too scary, but anything kid-friendly with a monster — "Goosebumps," "E.T.," "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" — was right up his alley. In fact, he loved the horror genre so much that before long, he started writing movie scripts himself.

"That's what he really enjoyed doing," Kyle's dad, Vin, remembers. "So that's what his focus became: writing and film."


Kyle with his parents. All images via Vin Cerilli, used with permission.

When Kyle was 6, he received a frightening diagnosis: muscular dystrophy.

Muscular dystrophy is a progressive disease that would, over the course of his life, strip Kyle of the freedom to walk, talk, run, and play; to laugh, hug, eat — and even breathe.

With Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Kyle's physical functions declined throughout his childhood. By age 12, he was using a wheelchair. Despite his muscle-debilitating disease, Kyle never gave up. "Kyle was just the same as any other kid," explains Vin. "His wants, his needs, his desires, everything growing up was the same as any other kid."

So as any passionate person would do, Kyle continued to pursue his dream of filmmaking. Over the years, he worked at a movie theater, started a production company with his friends (aptly named Morbidly Amusing Productions), and attended Rhode Island College for degrees in both creative writing and film.

Kyle working on the set of a film.

Enter "Slimebuck," the last script Kyle was working on when he passed away at age 30 in 2014.

In classic kid-friendly horror fashion, "Slimebuck" is the story of a boy who finds an alien in his home while his parents are away. It’s "E.T." meets "Home Alone," complete with mad-scientist burglars and a very real puppet monster (at Kyle's insistence, nothing is computer-generated).

A still image from "Slimebuck," featuring a drawing of the alien.

"At the end there, it became very difficult," recalls Vin, noting that Kyle typed most of the script with one finger because he had lost all other strength in his body. "Kyle passed away on April 7, 2014. At that point, he was bedridden and couldn't move for himself any longer, but even that day he was still tweaking his script. Talk about dedication and strength and will. He's the strongest person I've ever known."

After Kyle died, his parents were determined to see "Slimebuck" through to completion.

They picked up where Kyle left off, teamed up with Kyle’s friend, director Tom DeNucci, and just over a year later released the completed 20-minute short film.

"A movie is a movie, but this story is about Kyle getting to have the last word — not muscular dystrophy," Vin says.

Vin and his wife, Annette, are doing everything they can to ensure Kyle's dream of a feature-length film is fulfilled, even with Kyle not here to finish it himself.

"That's what this is all about," stresses Vin, "building awareness of the movie, Kyle's story, and muscular dystrophy."

Vin hopes that his efforts to raise awareness of muscular dystrophy will help other families affected by the disease.

"If it's accepted by everyone a little more," he says, "then the child who's affected is going to feel a little more comfortable."

Of course, Vin also dreams of a time when there will be better therapies for muscular dystrophy and maybe even, one day, a cure.

In telling Kyle’s story, Vin also hopes to share the urgent need for treatments and cures for diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Although higher standards of care have allowed patients like Kyle to live into their late 20s to early 30s, the disease is still 100% fatal.


If you're a fan of family-friendly horror, be sure to check out the "Slimebuck" short film and website. The crew is also working on a documentary about Kyle.

And check out this video for more on Kyle and "Slimebuck":

More
True
Muscular Dystrophy Association

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared