Created in memory of son, Woodstock director's 'Thrill Ride' to open at Classic Cinemas

10-year-old thought of idea for movie before losing battle with cancer


Coming to the Woodstock Theatre, “Thrill Ride” begins and ends with Mason.

Written, directed and produced by Woodstock resident Chris Parrish and co-produced by his wife, Ilisa, the story behind the film came from their son Mason, who died from brain cancer in 2011 at the age of 10. The film grew out of several conversations and brainstorming sessions between Mason and his father after Mason suggested more kids should be the heroes in movies.

And it’s his words viewers will hear as the film comes to an end.

“This is a story by Mason Henry Parrish. The end.”

The words were lifted from a tape recording Mason made before he died, Ilisa Parrish said.

“I just love hearing his voice,” she said.

And if he were around today to see his film on the big-screen?

“He’d be 16,” his mother said through tears. “He’d be so thrilled. He would just be so happy. He would not believe it, that he did this.”

The PG-rated “Thrill Ride,” starring Kristen Johnston (“Third Rock from the Son”), Lucas Jade Zumann (“20th Century Women”), Tim Kazurinsky (“Police Academy” movies), Tim Decker (“Empire,” “Chicago Fire”), Helen Sadler (“True Blood”), Nicole Scimeca (Broadway’s “Anastasia”), John Babbo (“Chicago Fire”) and Tori Waite, will be shown in a sneak preview at 8 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Classic Cinemas Woodstock Theatre, 209 Main St.

It then will open Dec. 1 for a weeklong run at Classic Cinemas in Woodstock, Elk Grove Village and Naperville. Regular ticket prices will apply.

A Mason’s Movies Production, the film is an independent family adventure.

“Ever since Al Capone built Happyland Amusement Park in the 1930s, treasure hunters have believed Capone’s lost fortune awaits somewhere at the end of a hidden ride no one has ever found – until tonight,” a description reads.

A group of pals team up for an adventure, sneaking into the abandoned park and witnessing its attractions magically coming to life.

“To make it out alive, Henry and his pals must team up with a friendly sea witch (Johnston) to do battle against an evil mermaid, deadly pirates, a fire-breathing dragon and an armada of blood-thirsty monster,” the description reads. “And all on a school night!”

Part of the movie was filmed on the Woodstock Square in December of 2013 and production resumed in Chicago in November of 2014, with the support of executive producer and Chicago-area philanthropist Vincent W. Foglia.

“We have received nothing but support and encouragement and love every step of the way,” Ilisa Parrish said.

Already shown at various film festivals, the film won Best Feature Film at Gen Con Film Festival 2017, Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Film at Burbank International Film Festival and Best Family Feature at Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival. It was nominated for numerous other awards.

Actors from the film are expected to sign movie posters at the Nov. 30 sneak preview in Woodstock, and the Parrish family will be there as well. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to The Mason Parrish Foundation – – to fight DIPG, the rare pediatric brain cancer Mason was diagnosed with.

For information on the film, including a trailer, visit For showtimes and ticket costs, visit

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