Toby Poser, John Adams, Zelda Adams


Izzy lives with her mother in an isolated location in the mountains. The 16-year-old spends most of her time roaming the woods on her own or playing with her mother in their super-cool metal band H6LLB6ND6R. Izzy dreams of performing live, but she knows this will never happen – because she is ill and not allowed to go near other people. Her mother keeps a close eye on her. Apart from living in total isolation, this also involves sticking to a strictly vegan diet. One day, Izzy has a chance encounter with Amber and her friends at a weekend house. During a drinking game, Izzy unlocks her supernatural powers, which she learns to perfect and make use of. The female members of her family have had connections to witchcraft for generations. A Hellbender can only die if her daughter destroys her.
Hellbender is an improvised project which the family put together on the road during lockdown. The actors and directors, Toby Poser and Zelda Adams, are also mother and daughter in real life. By making their films independently, the Adams family remain free from the constraints of rules and conventions. Against the supernatural horror backdrop, Poser’s mother figure acquires a captivating authenticity. This unique coming-of-age story is full of female superpowers, lightness, humour and rock ’n’ roll.

Guest: Toby Poser

Content note


John Adams, Zelda Adams, Toby Poser


John Adams, Zelda Adams


John Adams


Zelda Adams, Toby Poser, Lulu Adams, John Adams


Wonder Wheel Productions – Toby Poser, John Adams, Zelda Adams


Yellow Veil Pictures



Portrait of Toby Poser

Toby Poser

Toby Poser and John Adams are self-taught filmmakers who make films with their daughters Lulu and Zelda. The family lives in the Catskill Mountains in New York State. In 2010, they bought a camera and microphones and set off on a road trip to shoot their first feature film. Filmmaking has since become part of the family’s daily life, with everyone taking turns to play different roles. Ideas for films and dialogues are discussed around the kitchen table and improvised at home with friends. The family has produced music videos for their band and creates the soundtracks for their films. Hellbender is the sixth feature film from their independent company Wonder Wheel Production. The films of the Adams family are shown worldwide.

Film by Toby Poser, John Adams, Zelda Adams
Where the Devil Roams 2023 | The Deeper You Dig 2020 | Halfway to Zen 2016 | The Shoot 2014 | Knuckle Jack 2013 | Rumblestrips 2012