“Distributors told us we needed to step up our game with more sex and violence,” Don Kilrain said.
The cast and crew of this independent horror film will apparently oblige, but Tuesday’s first day of filming at Smitty’s was downright genteel.
Initial scenes included one of a group of comely young women and their burly bodyguard driving up to the restaurant to eat lunch.
“The set-up is that they are unwitting models on their way to a fashion shoot,” Kilrain said. “They’re headed to a farm in a remote area.”
But as any fan of grotesque, made-on-a-shoestring horror movies knows, mixing sexy young women described as unwitting with a foreboding, isolated setting does not make for a mix that’s going to end well.
“Hence, the mayhem begins,” Kilrain said. “This is a throwback to the slasher films of the ’80s. Nobody’s doing them now except Rob Zombie (director of 2003’s “House of 1000 Corpses” and 2007’s remake of “Halloween”). Few people are doing the slam-bang, cut-you-up, kill-you kind of movie these days.”
“Kandyland” sees Kilrain, an Elyria resident, taking the dual roles of executive producer and principal actor as the adult Jonah Kandy, a man who extracts a grisly and bloody revenge on an abusive father, among others, who disfigured him as a young boy.
“He survived his ordeal,” Kilrain said. “Unfortunately, his victims do not.”
The movie marks the fourth collaboration between director-writer Eddie Lengyel, a Maple Heights resident and founder of Fright Teck Pictures, and Kilrain, whose day job takes him to Lorain’s U.S. Steel mill where he works as a maintenance man.
Being shot on a budget of $12,000 to $15,000, the film’s three- to five-week shooting schedule includes locations in and around the barns and grounds of a Medina County farm, as well as spots in the Lafayette Township area.
But the first day’s shooting was exclusively at the well-known East Bridge Street restaurant and longtime Elyria business where President Barack Obama lunched during a visit to Lorain County in January 2010.
“They (Smitty’s) were so gracious to us to let us shoot here while they were open for business,” Kilrain said. “I live in Elyria and eat here. It’s a great place.”
The 15-member cast and crew include Ari Lehman, who first took on the role of Jason Voorhees in 1980’s “Friday the 13th,” and Lisa Neeld, a Youngstown woman whose face and feminine charms have graced the pages of Playboy and Easy Rider magazines, as well as YouTube and other websites.
“I am topless in this,” Neeld said of her first foray into horror movies.
Her partial nudity comes just before she’s dispatched in some hideous way.
“You get a glimpse, and then off with her head,” Neeld said with a laugh. “Actually, I think it’s an ax through the head.”
Some of the film’s mayhem may be delivered courtesy of a long-handled mallet and hammer lying on a table nearby as the shoot proceeds. Their realistic-looking heads were nothing more than foam rubber.
“I like bludgeoning,” Kilrain said as he repeatedly bounced the mallet off his forehead. “If they’re done right, they can be terrifying.”
The scene of the models driving up to the restaurant required numerous takes, thanks to overcast skies, the threat of rain and too much noise from passing traffic.
“Why do I include car scenes?” Lengyel said with a smile. “It’s just not working out here.”
The crew broke for lunch in hopes of better conditions later in the day.
Lengyel’s previous shot-on-video movies have all been done in Northeast Ohio, including “Hellweek” a 2010 movie available via Netflix, video-on-demand, and a two-DVD release from Apprehensive Films on Sept. 25, according to Lengyel.
When completed, “Kandyland” should run around 85 minutes, according to Kilrain.
“There’s only so much blood and gore and sex the audience can take,” he said.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.