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Last month we posted about an upcoming old-fashioned slasher titled MADISON COUNTY whose filmmakers shot a promotional teaser for the film to secure financing, and the involvement of LAID TO REST behemoth Nick Prinicipe and Robert Hall's excellent Almost Human EFX group. In anticipation of MADISON COUNTY's principal photography which begins next month, writer/director Eric England and producer/actor Ace Marrero have now released the aforementioned clip and given Fango an exclusive mini-interview on what audiences can look forward to in the finished film!
Here's the synopsis: "A group of college kids travel to a small mountain town called Madison County to interview the author of a tell-all book about several grisly murders that happened there. But when the kids get to Madison County, the author is nowhere to be found and the locals act like they haven't seen him in years. They also say that the killer never existed and the murders never happened. However, when the kids start digging around to get their own answers, they find out that the stories may be more real than the townspeople are letting on."
You can see what England and Marrero have to say just below the trailer...
Fango: What can fans expect, and what are the influences on the film?
Eric England: What horror fans can expect from the film is passion. I'm a lover of the genre and a student of its films. I'm not someone who's here to make a horror film because it's "cool", or because it's "trendy", or because horror is "hot". I'm doing this because I was raised on films like the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, EVIL DEAD, and HALLOWEEN. The original low budget films that were made by filmmakers begging, borrowing, stealing, and even shedding a little of their own blood, sweat, and tears to get the film made.
The influences of the film range from all over. I love horror films with a good story. I didn't set out to write a film that was just schlock and campy. In my opinion, all fears are based on the unknown. Why are kids afraid of the dark? Because they don't know what's there.. it's unknown. So mystery is a big component of horror to me. When writing this, I really wanted a good mystery to tie into the story, but I really wanted to make a visceral and intense film. So I tried to combine the two. My biggest inspirations were BREAKDOWN and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. I wanted the suspense and mystery of a thriller, but the intensity and terror of a straight forward horror film.
Ace Marrero: Fans can expect an AWESOME KILLER! With these types of movies, you want to know how people are going to die & we've got some fun stuff in store with DAMIEN. Nick Principe is a huge fan of the genre and has done a lot within it, so to have someone like him excited for months with what he is going to be doing, you almost have to be afraid! What's been fun for me personally is how people have responded to the stills and teaser. A lot of people have mentioned THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and as a classic, to be mentioned with it at this point of the game is exciting! Fans have definitely embraced that and appreciate the gritty, natural feel of a simple world gone bad...really bad. I also am really excited about the music for the movie. We have a mastermind in Igor Nemirovsky and the music in this movie will be just as startling as the the images on the screen. I'll dare you to keep your eyes closed and just listen.
Fango: How did you get involved and what was the inception of Madison County?
England: The original idea came when I was just a kid. My grandfather moved to a small, abandoned farm type of house in the middle of the mountains and I went exploring one day when we went to visit. I was riding around on a 4-wheeler and it suddenly ran out of gas. At the time, I was just a kid and I was scared out of my mind. I had no idea where I was at, or where the nearest house was. So I began walking.. finally, a couple of miles up the road I came across a house where I found an old man sitting on the front porch. I walked up to the front of the house and began to ask him if I could use his phone or borrow a can of gas. He just sat there, staring a hole through me like I didn't exist. Like I wasn't even there. And it creeped me out. I thought to myself, "What if someone was trying to kidnap me.. would this guy do anything about it?".
So I finally made it back to my grandpa's house and I began to tell him about what happened. He actually wasn't too surprised and told me how most people move to the middle of nowhere to get away from people. He didn't know me. For all he knew I could be a murderer or a murderer's son. And as long as he kept out of my business and didn't get involved with me in anyway, he was keeping himself, and his loved ones safe. It was a really crazy idea for me to wrap my head around. So my imagination started running wild and over the years, I heard more and more stories coming from people from the area and just began to construct my own little movie around it.
The inception of the actual movie began about a year ago. I wrote the first draft of the script and sent it to Ace, our actor and producer, and began telling him how I wanted to shoot the movie for very little money and wanted to do it in the style of the old horror films from the 70's. Well, we went through several producers and nothing ever came to be. So in November, Ace and our other producer, Daniel, helped me shoot a small feature called HOSTILE ENCOUNTER. Based off of what we did on that film for basically no money, and the teaser trailer that we shot, Daniel was able to secure the first part of the financing and we just continued on and here we are..
Marrero: I read MADISON COUNTY when Eric first wrote it over a year ago. He ended up almost making it a few times and when it fell through the last time, he wrote HOSTILE ENCOUNTER (currently in post), with me in mind to shoot something while we had the resources available. We wrapped principal photography, assembled a rough cut and Daniel Dunn, who DP'd HOSTILE ENCOUNTER, wanted to use the rough cut to present and pitch the MADISON COUNTY script to an investor. It went well and we secured our first chunk of cash. He then contacted me because he wanted me to be involved as an actor in it. I ended up coming on board immediately helping to get M.C. off the ground and just kind of ran with the producing side of it and continued to put the pieces together for the film. First thing I did was push to shoot a promo teaser to help secure the rest of the funding and that's exactly what we did. Eric had been in touch with Nick Principe for some time and always knew he wanted him to play DAMIEN. Nick read the script, loved it - jumped on board and suggested we give a shout to Rob Hall at Almost Human, who had Nick's life-cast from LAID TO REST since we'd need to get a mask for DAMIEN. I convinced Eric and Daniel that we needed to meet with Rob, even though they felt he was way out of our league and after meeting he jumped on board to help oversee all of the effects! He really dug the script, could tell we were going about things in right way and having Nick attached spoke volumes to him. At that point, we had all the goods on the page and two strong parties to help deliver off the page.
Fango: What will set it apart from other slashers?
England: What's going to set Madison apart from other slashers is the story. We're not trying to re-invent the wheel, but we are trying to bring some quality back to an overly abused sub-genre. Yes, we have a killer. Yes, we have kids in the woods. But we don't have a bunch of kids running around having sex and getting hacked up. These people are in this town for a reason. They're not just camping to have fun and run into some maniac. I didn't want too much comedy in the film. I want to keep a pretty serious tone. These kids get caught up in a really crazy mystery that will hopefully draw in the audience as well.
Marrero: I definitely think it's the realism within the script. The slasher elements of this film are going to hit hard because of the contrasting thriller elements that also make up the story. It's going to be scary because it is not far fetched. A lot of it is based on true events and the story that will play out, as well as the characters you meet are chilling because they will feel VERY real & you won't have to suspend a whole lot of disbelief. When we were casting, we wanted to find the people that were eerily of this world and I think people are going to be drawn in and caught off guard at the same time by how natural this thing feels. It will feel so right, it will be wrong. With this kind of genre, it would be easy to throw in a bunch of recognizable faces and names to sell, but it doesn't do justice to MADISON COUNTY. If that's not enough, our killer, Damien is going to open some eyes - Rob Hall and Erik Porn are working some serious magic in the lab!
So far, everything sounds good to us! For more on MADISON COUNTY, keep an eye on Fango and head over to its official site.
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