A Lab Report by Lily Spellman
Vampires don't glitter. Let's get that straight right off the bat. They don't mope around highly decorated castles whining about the mundanity of life and the futility of love. Nope, they sneak around, work their way into your lives and often indoctrinate everyone around you before setting their bloodthirsty sights on you.
Looking at the Kickstarter and description of Captive, an upcoming Vampire slasher flick, it seems they have heard our cries and answered in kind with an inventive look at an impromptu house party gone wrong and a respectful look at the vampire mythos.
From the short synopsis we're given, the idea brings to mind a fun feeling that makes me recall movies like The Babysitter, which is a good thing because that movie had an out-there plot and comedic undertone that was fantastic!
So what is Captive about?
When a group of friends get bored of hanging out in a local park at night getting high they decide to enjoy the comfort of partying in a vacant house, laws be damned! During the night of booze, bongs and boobs a secret door is discovered and in typical horror movie fashion it must be investigated, but what they find below may not be what they expected.
Chained up in the depths of the house is a young man who is promptly freed after explaining about the sadistic owners of the home! As the night goes on, the party grows larger and the body count gets higher you can bet your in for a wild ride!
The project doesn't stop at just the film, the Kickstarter itself offers quite a few interesting perks for film buffs and vampire freaks alike including a bottle opener featuring art by Denis Loubet, exclusive t-shirts, autographed posters, a sterling silver cross and pendant (mine keeps burning me...weird...), a bag of props, the chance to be an extra, an extra who DIES and lunch with a cast member! Sweet merciful crap that's a lot of bang for your buck at any tier!
At this point, the Kickstarter is quickly gaining steam and Channel of the Living Dead has had a great talk with the team behind the film. The folks over at Pollen Path have their bloodshot eyes set on leaving a mark on the horror world in a big way.
I had the good fortune of catching up to the folks at Pollen Path when they stopped in for a poker game with Drac, the Doc and The Mummy and they were kind enough to give me a few minutes of their time to talk about the film and the people behind it!
Check out the interview below:
The moon shines in through the giant arched window to the left of Lily's desk, she is staring in awe of the two sitting on the couch in the waiting room uncomfortably close to a yeti, violently stabbing the inside of his nose with his filthy finger like it talked shit about his mother.
Peering over her desk at the 2 sitting in the lobby who clearly have no idea she's staring at them she asks;
Lily: Soooo....Do you guys have a new movie in the works? cool! I really dug Bunker! ooky spooky! How did your work on Bunker change the way you approached your current project?
Cody and Tom, Both clearly startled they stare at each other bewildered before answering
Cody and Tom: Both of us come from a theater background, so we understand the acting and directing side of things fairly well, and Tom is really strong when it comes to scheduling, so our main challenge with our short films were the technical aspects. On some of our other shorts, we had struggled with lighting and sound, so Bunker was a first for us in that we felt that we really nailed the cinematography and sound design. Part of that was us just learning and getting better, and part of it was asking qualified people for help in making sure those two elements were locked down.
We’ve learned that it’s important to prioritize sound and light, and that is going to be our major focus moving into Captive.
Lily: Cool beans! Bunker was a unique look at what seems to be a small part of a very deep story. Was this ever meant to be more or simply just a short?
Cody and Tom: *now at ease realizing she MAY not be insane* That’s a great question! It was originally intended to just be a stand-alone short, but once we got into it we realized a possible connection to a larger story we were already working on. We don’t want to give too much away, but our other short film, Nephilim, took place in a sort of post-apocalyptic, Mad Max world. We have played with the idea of Bunker being the introduction to Nephilim – which was originally a proof of concept for a larger feature film franchise.
Lily: *sitting up and smiling* So your movie guys? writers? what is it you do?
Cody and Tom: *glancing at each other* The short answer of that is everything. We’ve had to see each project through from beginning to end. Bunker started with first optioning the script (after we had received around 150 short film screenplay submissions and read through all of them), negotiating with the writer’s lawyer, and going through several rounds of script revisions.
After that, and beyond directing and starring in it, we built and decorated the set, dressed it, bought costumes, built props, and hired the crew. Then we had to work with an editor, colorist, and sound mixer to really polish it.
But that’s not all! We’ve been the ones responsible for social media outreach, developing a festival submission strategy, and then going out to promote it. It was a ton of work but has definitely been worth it! Bunker recently screened at the legendary TCL (Grauman’s) Chinese Theater, so we feel we’re on the right track.
That being said, we’re looking forward to being able to hire people for the feature film so that the workload can be spread a bit more evenly.
Lily: OH! you're the guys! bee guys! wait! pollen guys! bees like pollen, I'm half right! Pollen...Pollen Path! that's it! Pollen path is a very unique name, what does it mean and what does it mean to you.
Cody and Tom: When trying to decide what to name the company, Cody floated the idea of “pollen path,” which he had encountered while reading a book on Navajo mythology. It means
that when your actions mirror your hopes, goals, and dreams, then you are on the Pollen Path, and exactly where you should be.
We chose that name because we are hoping that soon our company will allow us to quit our day jobs and become fulltime filmmakers, so that we can do what we love while making a living at it. So far, it appears we’re on track to do that and we couldn’t be more excited.
Lily: What draws you to the work you choose?
Cody and Tom: We both have a love of the arts. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but for the most part, we love the deep exploration of self and the world, and honest-self-expression of what is discovered. It’s really in the arts where you are “forced” into doing that, often trying to find the truths and motivations of people who are not like us. It’s impossible to create anything without putting so much of yourself into it. It’s something so innately human. Even ants build cities, but they don’t make art.
Lily: *Glances at the clock on her laptop, still as always on mutantfam.com and waves the Yeti in for his appointment* sorry, so What is your upcoming project?
Cody and Tom: *stand up to allow the giant beast room to pass then happily resume sitting, booger free, on the couch*: CAPTIVE is a sexy, blood-crazed horror film scheduled to shoot in New Mexico in May 2020 on a shoestring budget of $300,000. The film begins with a group of five, twenty-something stoners doing what they do best - getting high in a park. For weekend kicks, they decide to break into a vacant house and have a party.
While in the house, the group starts hearing noises coming from the basement. Nervous but curious, the group ventures down the stairs. What will they find, and what will happen to them? Well, it is a horror film, right?!
Lily: *raises an eyebrow* With the poor reception a lot of recent vampire movies have had, why did you decide to take your own bite out of the genre?
Cody and Tom: We want to respectfully disagree with the first part of what you said. The public was definitely tired of vampires after the Twilight series had run its course,
but the last one in that series, Breaking Dawn—Part 2 was released in 2012. That’s over 8 years ago! Since then there have been some great vampire films that have come out, like Byzantium, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, and What We Do in the Shadows, to name a few.
As to why we chose a vampire film, we didn’t really intend to. We wanted to make a great horror film on a low budget, so we started looking for scripts. When we put out the request, we received over eighty scripts. The best screenplay that we received was by Travis Seppala, who by chance was also the writer of our latest short,
You could probably say that we didn’t choose the vampire genre. The vampire genre chose us.
Lily: *Thinking of the little pink bastard next door*: What makes a vampire terrifying?
Cody and Tom: Are they still scary? To us, they represent an odd space in the horror genre. On one hand, you get things like Bram Stoker’s Dracula or 30 Days of Night which are clearly scary movies. At the same time, movies like Twilight, Interview with a Vampire, and True Blood tend to represent vampires as misunderstood, sexy loners.
We think that’s what makes vampire eternally fascinating is that they represent sexuality and darkness, which are themes that humanity has been grappling with for
pretty much all of the time.
Lily: Makes sense, Why this setting?
Cody and Tom: Part of the reason that we are choosing to film in Albuquerque, New Mexico is because of tax incentives. The state offers 25% credit back on all expenditures on local resources. Not only that, but Albuquerque has an incredible indie film community that is so supportive. Add in all the natural beauty of the area and we
absolutely love it there.
Lily: What is your approach to filmmaking?
Cody and Tom: Script, script, script. We’ve seen a lot of movies, and are willing to forgive bad lighting, bad sound, and even bad acting. If the story doesn’t make sense you’ve lost us. Both of us are very heavy readers, and Tom has spent a large chunk of his career script doctoring musicals and stage plays. Give us a story where we care
about the characters and their actions make sense and we will buy into it completely.
*A loud MWAHAHA! is heard and heavy music begins the play next door, Lily hits the intercom
Lily: Igore, can you get out there and close the shutters?
Lily: *sighs* What do you think is wrong with today's vampires?
Cody and Tom: There’s stories that we like and ones that we dislike. The Twilight franchise really didn’t resonate with a lot of horror fans, and to be honest, it wasn’t our cup of tea, either. On the other hand, some people just loved it, and that’s great!
It’s such a versatile genre that we don’t really feel like there’s anything wrong with today’s vampires. Rather, it’s the power of the storytellers behind it, and
that part is really in the eye of the beholder.
Lily: What would you like to see more of in mainstream cinema?
Cody and Tom: That’s a hard question! The market has changed so much, and it feels like studios are really pushing film as a financial product rather than film as art. If there’s anything that bothers us, it’s trying to make films just to make the biggest box office possible in the foreign and domestic markets. It’s understandable, because that’s the business of art. However, it becomes frustrating when the things we end up seeing in theaters or streaming services are just the the latest episode of a comic book franchise rather than more varied fare more representative of real life.
Lily: So this is super cool, I'm hyped for the whole idea. What are your plans regarding Kickstarter?
Cody and Tom: Our campaign runs from March 3 – April 1 (no fooling), and has a goal of $30,000. And like all good campaigns, we have some stretch goals as well. 😊
Lily: How can people, or monsters, or whatever get involved and help with the project?
Cody and Tom: Please go to www.captivethefilm.com to get to our Kickstarter page. We have some great perks for our contributors including t-shirts, signed posters, digital copies of the film once finished, and even a chance to be killed by a vampire on screen in the film itself!
Every dollar helps, but having people share the campaign within their world is just as important.
Lily: "What are your hopes for the feature?"
Cody and Tom: "We currently have 4 other feature films in the pipeline following Captive. As with all films, making them in financing dependent. Our second film will have approx. a $1million dollar budget, over three times that of Captive. We have just begun seeking investors for that film. If anyone reading this is at all interested in investing in any of our upcoming projects, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to arrange a time to talk in more detail about the upcoming projects."
Lily: "Where can people find your work?"
Cody and Tom: "Our first short film, Nephilim, was picked up for distribution and can be screened at www.occultarama.com.
Our other shorts are still making their way through the film festival circuit so we can’t post them online just yet.
Trailers for the films, as well as posters, photos, and more information on each, are available on our company website, which is www.pollenpathentertainment.com.
You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the most frequent updates."
I urge you all to check out their work and take a look at the Kickstarter, the passion for the art-form and subject matter alone should convince you they WANT a good movie as bad as you. Thanks as always my much-loved mutants! Be sure to check back for more Ghoulish Goodness from your local blogstress of doom and follow the whole mutated team over at Mutantfam.com. Pleasant screams xox!