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FILM CORNER - Return to the Island: How a Recut Lead To A Career Relaunch (Part Two)

Updated: Sep 7, 2020

Halloween 2019.

I was at my local Planet Fitness walking some extra miles on the treadmill when I was thinking about my upcoming trip to Austin for the 3rd annual Austin Indie Fest since one of my old college films, The Deadly Gala, was competing in the Cult Classic category. I had just been in contact with the Laslo Boys since their film, Blank Frank, was competing in the same category as well.

Then, I remembered their reactions to Reaper Island: Redux. My brain started to work, and ideas began to pop into my head. I came up with one question: What is so important about the island, and is there more reasoning I could add to it? Then, it hit me. The perfect answer came to me: a sequel!

Originally, I did not want to make a sequel to Reaper Island. I never really cared for horror film sequels (except for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, and both Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness). I wanted to make a satire at first about the music industry, but when that project fell apart, I felt that the only way to present Reaper Island Part II was to present it as a comedic satire of horror film sequels (where there is a recycled plot) and create over the top characters for it. I wanted this film to be extra bloody, disturbing, and fun at the same time.

It took me a while to get the story right, but after writing the script, I shared it with a few of my friends. They were interested to see how it turned out. One of these friends was Zachary Hudson, an old college buddy of mine who had a good eye in photography. He was interested to help me out with the project as my cinematographer, and even suggested that I shoot the film in the Winter months.

Other people I got on board was two of my gaming buddies, Kalobe Hernandez and Chad Hale. They enjoyed the story, and I even asked then if they wanted roles in the film. They both said yes. Next, there was Blaine Lindenberg, an good friend of mine since high school. He had been in a few of my older films, and when I asked him to be a part of the film. He told me that he would be honored to work with me again. Soon, there was Marianna Reimer, who was the daughter of Candee Land (a local Country singer and a family friend of my parents). I originally wanted her to be in another project that fell through, but as I wrote Reaper Island Part II, she was the only person that came into mind to play as the leading lady of the film. After asking both her if she would like to be in the film (and getting the okay from her parents to be a part of the film), I was set to go. I, myself, would also take part in the cast, playing as the over the top main villain of the story.

Finally, there was one more person that I asked to be a part of the film: Timothy Martinez. After all, if it wasn't for his suggestion to submit Reaper Island: Redux to the Austin Indie Fest the previous year, I wouldn't be at the point of making a sequel. I contacted him by phone, and asked him, since he was a musician, if he would like the honor to compose the music. He replied with an enthusiastic "YES!"

We shot the film on the weekend of December 14 and 15, 2019. Everything was set and prepared, and we filmed the eventual near 19 minute short bit by bit within the surprisingly warm afternoons to evening times. When it got dark Sunday night, we shot the final bits of the film within an old building on my parents' property (using candles and a flashlight to help with lighting. With everything we had, and a few of us covered in fake blood, we finished the shoot. After a quick wardrobe change for some of us covered in fake blood, we got together for our cast and crew photo.

All that needed to be done now was the editing and music. It was completely obvious that 2020 was going to be a grand year for NHS Films. Of course, I wouldn't know how big everything would get with this new short.

To be concluded next week.

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