A look back at Hallows Eve – 5 Years Later – By P.J. Starks

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I was working at FYE when I came up with the concept of what would be my first serious film going effort. I was just some guy that worked at a movies and music store. Granted I was known in some small circles as the Director of a college based film called Second Shift, which had garnered me some recognition in my community. Yet as the light from that venture faded I was slipping into the despair that most filmmakers do. I needed to get back on the directing saddle and do something different. Something to quench my creative thirst. Thus Hallows Eve: Slaughter on Second Street was born from a dire need to create. That primal instinct to grab a camera and make magic. It was never our intention to break new ground or do anything considered to be “refreshing new horror”. We wanted to make something that was fun and entertaining and maybe scary. All during the shoot I kept saying that we’d either have a bad horror film or a great comedy on our hands. At that time, and from our limited perspectives, that is exactly what we achieved. We found a tiny niche that allowed us to mix the two.

Hacked in the Head said Hallows Eve is, “…fun, gruesome, well-made indie horror…” and Doctor Carnage raved that the film was, “…a must see in every sense of the phrase.” On the flip side Fatally Yours says it’s, “a very poorly constructed film that is almost entirely composed of problems…” while Horroreview exclaims, “…gore and quirky songs don’t make you Pulp Fiction.” Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the film has had an incredible run over the past five years considering it was made for $1,000 with no professional crew or cast. From getting national and international acclaim to raising nearly $5,000 for various charities; Hallows Eve definitely met its goals and went above what any of us thought was possible. Like the ghost hunters portrayed in the film, the cast & crew were literally a rag tag group of passionate, likeminded souls all hell bent on the same goal. To make an entertaining and horrific gorefest. On some levels we succeeded and on others we fell short. But no matter the outcome we had an insane blast working on the film. The fact that this film is still getting attention tells me that we did something right. No matter what the haters say. Now I’ve talked this movie to death over the past five years. So to switch things up I thought it would be best for the cast of the film to assemble and give their fondest memories of working on Hallows Eve. The cast included John Page, Katie Green, Megan Fuller, Kevin Mundy, Robert Denton, Todd and Bryan Reynolds, Robert Zambrano, Marty Moorman, Daniel Benedict, Vicki Boals and Melissa Goodall. This is their recollection…

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PJ: Going into the film there were a lot of unknowns. We didn’t realize how close we would become making Hallows Eve. A lot happened on and off the set in the months of July and August of 2008. What were your fondest memories of working on the film?

VB: I think what I remember most from my short time filming was the passion behind the project. I didn’t know then the success Hallows Eve would have, but I knew I was a small part of something big. Big for Owensboro, big for the actors, and big for Verite Cinema. It was clear that P.J. had a big vision. I was proud to be a part of one of the first projects.

RZ: I remember how hot it was during filming. I have not worn a black body suit since then.

TR: How blasted hot it was in Slaughter. No air conditioning, fans blowing everywhere….until it was time to shoot. Then the fans went off…the lights went on…it must have been 120 degrees in that place. I fondly recall people standing by with towels to wipe the sweat off my face off between shots.

SJ: My fondest memory on set has to be the day we filmed the kitchen scene. There were about seven of us packed into this small interior room in the middle of summer with no air conditioning. We were all roasting and sweating, but we were still having a blast. Robert, Kevin, and I were goofing off while everyone else seemed to be trying to accomplish some actual filming. At one point, Robert was supposed to drag me through the meat locker, but he was dragging me so fast that I couldn’t actually see where I was going. He quickly figured this out and took full advantage of the situation by running me face first into every single piece of hanging meat. That was a gross, long, brutally hot, but surprisingly fun day.

A very close second fondest memory was watching all of Second Street traffic rubbernecking to see what horrible atrocity had happened at the haunted house. We were wheeling out fake dead bodies, loading me into an ambulance, we had police cars… We were just sure we’d have a list of rumors as long as our arms when we woke up the next day. It was a very cool experience

MF: Definitely getting killed by a chainsaw. It was fun and something I don’t think I’ll ever do again.

KM: I would have to say that my fondest memory would be just being a part of the production and helping out behind the scenes. Getting to watch how some of the special effects were created and getting to just play around with props was a blast. I’m kind of a kid like that though.

MG: Spending a whole day getting my entire body duct taped from neck to wrist to ankle in order to create that body double; oh, so many "that’s what she said" jokes. Good times, good times.

MM: I shared a lot of great memories during the making of this film, but one that sticks out the most is trying to keep my cool when asked to say a specific line that I knew my mom would normally slap the fire out of me for saying. As predicted, during the first showing of the film my mom back slapped the taste out my mouth and told me I was going to church the next morning. Thank you P.J.

RD: Lying on my back under a glass screen, spraying red jelly at John Page, and P.J. lying next to me, yelling, "shoot him in the face!"

JP: The first day of shooting. Everyone arrived and was so excited about the great unknown adventure that lay before us. There was tangible electricity in the air as we all started learning our blocking and going over our scenes, meeting the people who would become our temporary families for the next couple months of shooting.

PJ: Looking back over the past five years a lot has happened with the film. From screenings to national and international reviews. What are your feelings now about having been a part of the movie?

RZ: As for being a part of this production, I am glad to have been asked. Although I don’t watch horror films, unless I’m in them.

KM: I still look at the cover of the DVD and I still can’t believe that I was part of an ensemble cast in a movie! And how great it is that we’re still talking about it and how people still react to it. Being a cast member and getting to work and have fun with a group of talented individuals was such an amazing opportunity.

MG: It was a hoot. Doing a movie was a completely different experience than what I’d been accustomed to doing with theatre, but it was fun and exciting.

SJ: I’m very proud to have been a part of this film. I think it has done an amazing job of showcasing local talent and bringing some much needed publicity to Owensboro. But I have to admit, while we were filming I was a bit skeptical about how the whole project would turn out; but it turned out well. And not well for a no-budget film, I mean well for any kind of horror film. There was a good mix of gore, jumps, and humor. That’s a pretty rare find in a low-budget film, but practically unheard of for a first film.

PJ has really found his feet. I know he’s always been interested in filmmaking, but I don’t think he really had much of a real chance to pursue it until Hallows Eve was so well received. And, to be honest, PJ is one of the nicest guys I know; so I’m very happy that I was a small part in helping him to follow his passion.

MM: I love it when even now to this day someone will walk up to me and say I loved you in Hallows Eve! I just grin and say, “yes I was the bomb wasn’t I.”

DB: Being a part of Hallows Eve was one of the most unique and exciting times of my entire life. Everyone involved was so great to be around and so wonderful to work with. My only regret is not being on set every single time something was filmed. Hallows Eve is a memory I will cherish always.

RD: I feel like I’ve left my mark on cellophane somewhere.

MF: My dad can’t go anywhere new or meet anyone new without showing the trailer.

BR: The bloopers are as good as the movie. Tripping Todd up was quite fun as that rarely happens. I can’t believe it’s been five years since we shot this. Great people and great fun in being part of this great film. If given the opportunity you should check out this production.

JP: I am quite proud of what we accomplished by getting that film up. I’m even more surprised that it’s still making its rounds at film festivals today. The cast has spread to the corners of the earth, but that moment in time when we were all together working on Hallows Eve is captured for eternity.

PJ: John said it best that Hallows Eve was a time in our lives when we were nothing more than a bunch of likeminded artists trying to accomplish the impossible. The end result it literally a chapter in our lives forever captured on digital video. What does that mean to you as an artist and a fan of the genre?

VB: It was great to work with Todd Reynolds again. He is such a wonderful man. I’ve had nothing but great memories with him. He has such wonderful insight as an actor, director, and human being. Not to mention his ghost stories will scare the bejesus out of you.
When I think of my time spent on the set of Hallows eve, I think of the great people… Actors and crew, and how lucky I am to have been part of it all.

BR: As a kid I would dress up and play cowboys with my brothers and also great grandmother Minnie. Even when she was in her ninety’s she would sit in the green metal backyard slider holding a toy pistol and my brothers and I would sit on the swing arms as we were riding horses providing protection (not that she needed it, she was tough). Once I even got glass in my ass after falling on some whiskey bottles and had to have many stiches. What great times play acting as kids. P.J. gave me this opportunity once again to play opposite of my brother. Real brothers playing on screen brothers was a blast. I will always cherish this experience. Thanks again P.J.

SJ: Filming this movie was one of the best summers I can remember. There was so much heart and camaraderie put into the making of Hallows Eve. We came mostly as strangers, having varying levels of a personal relationship with PJ; but we left as friends. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true. It was a wonderful thing to see so many people coming together so selflessly for a common goal! We had lots of college kids, true; but we also had many outstanding members of the community helping out or even acting in this project. It was so cool that the Owensboro Police Department and the EMTs were willing to give some of their very valuable time and resources to lend to the authenticity of our little movie. The community came together to make it happen and then came out in force to support it when it was finished. Its five years later and people are still coming out and supporting it at local showings, some of which are raising money to support other community efforts! This project has been uniquely paying it forward to anyone in any way attached to it since its conception. And I can’t say enough how proud I am to be a part of it and to call PJ Starks a friend because of it.

JP: Congrats to my friend and Director P.J. Starks. I remember him as a young high school student who someday wanted to be a film maker. Guess what? Now he is. Maybe not a major Hollywood director, but he entertains people and is passionate about his craft. I’m proud to have worked with him and so many others on Hallows Eve. I’m sure there are many great things ahead for P.J.

TR: My participation led to my "discovery" by David Breckman, who saw my role as Buck Masters in Hallows Eve and wanted me for the role of the Sheriff in his film Murder in Kentucky. That film led to my "re-discovery" by Lee Goldberg, who had seen me in Murder in Kentucky, and wanted me for the role of his police detective Bud Flanek in the short films Remaindered and Bumsicle. In participating in those films, I was able to meet lots of neat folks and have some tremendous experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life. And several film festivals and even an award or two later, the occasional role still comes along every now and then.

MM: I think everyone did a great job during the making of this film and I hope to be considered in the future for a remake.

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The journey of Hallows Eve has been a long an interesting one for sure. On October 18th the Daviess County Public Library will host the last official showing of the film called Hallows Eve: Slaughter on Second Street – The Final Screeming. You can check out the latest promo here. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who helped make the film a reality and who participated. I’ve met so many cool people along the way. I cannot wait to see what the next feature length horror venture holds in store.