Sunday, February 04, 2018

All I Gotta Do Is Act Naturally

This post first appeared in my e-newsletter I WAS BIGFOOT'S SHEMP, which you can subscribe to in the right column of this blog.

Yesterday I soft-launched the news about my directorial debut feature to a couple of trusted friends in the horror news and reviews business, and my pal Matt Storc at Horror Society jumped right on it.  So the news is out that I am directing THE GIRL IN THE CRAWLSPACE with my old friend Henrique Couto producing.

Director Henrique Couto (BABYSITTER MASSACRE) and screenwriter John Oak Dalton (HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW) are teaming up for the fifth time on one of Dalton’s screenplays—only this time they are wearing different hats, with Couto producing (and serving as Director of Photography) and Dalton directing. THE GIRL IN THE CRAWLSPACE will begin shooting this spring in rural Indiana.
"John Dalton is one of my favorite collaborators, so helping him take the director's chair was a no brainer for me," Couto said.
“I have wanted to jump over to the director’s chair for a while, after working on the sets of some of the movies made from my screenplays,” Dalton said. “This is a script I feel strongly about, one that I have wanted to get out there.”
Erin Ryan (CALAMITY JANE’S REVENGE) will play the title character, Jill. At the outset, Jill escapes from a notorious serial killer who has kept her prisoner in a crawlspace. She tries to work her way back to normal with the help of a therapist, but becomes inserted into the therapist’s strained marriage with a failing screenwriter. Joni Durian (ALONE IN THE GHOST HOUSE) and John Hambrick (SCAREWAVES) play the troubled couple.
Others in the cast include Tom Cherry, Rachael Redolfi, Jeff Kirkendall, Joe Kidd, Iabou Windimere, Chelsi Kern and fellow director Andrew Shearer.
“It’s psychological horror, with hopefully some good twists and turns,” Dalton said.
Prolific b-movie director Mark Polonia , who Dalton has penned seven screenplays for--including JURASSIC PREY and AMITYVILLE DEATH HOUSE--has signed on to edit. This marks the second time Dalton, Couto, and Polonia have collaborated after this summer’s Bigfoot movie IN SEARCH OF.
THE GIRL IN THE CRAWLSPACE is slated for release in 2018

Readers following closely at home might realize this is THE GIRL WITH THE GRINDHOUSE HEART, renamed.  I wrote this screenplay in the fall thinking I might direct it--it features my Mid-Century Modern house prominently, a small cast, and nothing too hard to figure out in the staging (I think).  I have wanted to direct a movie for quite a few years, but the timing has never been right.  After spending some time this summer on the set of IN SEARCH OF, and paying close attention to Mark and Henrique's work, I thought the stars might be in alignment.

I knew if I did it I would have to gather my tribe--all the people I have wanted to work with whose names I tucked away over the years.  I knew I wanted to write the central part for Erin Ryan, and I knew I would write a part for my old friend Tom Cherry, who does local civic theater and public access television and an old-time-style radio show (he's going to play the town sheriff).  Mark and Henrique have been my closest collaborators--I've written about a dozen movies combined for both of them--but I also wanted to seek out my old microcinema friend Jon Solita, b-movie director Andrew Shearer (who was the first to congratulate me when I came out of self-imposed exile a few years ago and started writing again), actors Jeff Kirkendall (who lives in New York state, so you will hear him on the telephone), John Hambrick, and Joni Durian, and a lot more.  There are all the actors I've met in Dayton, and some other b-movie friends who I hope can contribute yet.

Some I reached out to can't be there this time, either through their own timing or more often geography, but that's why I am working on WOKE UP BLEEDING when this one isn't consuming my free hours, because the old adage goes when you are working on a movie you have to be able to tell people you have another one going.

I'm glad the news is out, and I can talk about everything going on as we close in on the first weekend in March and start rolling.  Stick around and I promise to have behind-the-scenes stuff here throughout the process.

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