Mobile, Alabama, may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of indie film. I've never been. I'm sure it's a lovely place, but really? Honest to God, indie entrepreneurs? Kicking ass and taking names? In Mobile? And yet it is indeed happening. Fighting Owl films has taken the reins. Fed up with sequels and remakes, they want to bring back a bit of that early 80's magic to horror. At least their twisted little hearts are in the right place.
After getting some capricious internet love, as well as kudos from luminaries like Fangoria, they decided to go into the breach and make it happen. Beginning in May, they're expanding a successful short film into a full blown feature entitled, The Night Shift.
Below you can see the seeds they've planted, in the form of the original short film. It's distinctly microbudget, but they gave those dollars a good, firm stretching. Only a few frayed edges, like the day-for-night shots, reveal the low budget. I got a kick out of it. There's a heavy dose of nostalgia there for horror flicks that don't take themselves too seriously. It's irreverent, charming, and unapologetically goofy. If you've got 23 minutes to spare, check it out.
TIRING OF SEQUELS & REMAKES, LOW-BUDGET FILMMAKERS SET OUT TO PRODUCE AN ORIGINAL FEATURE
Mobile, Alabama based independent filmmaking group Fighting Owl Films is set to produce an
independent feature in the city utilizing local talent. The feature,
titled "The Night Shift", is based on Fighting Owl Films' shoestring budget short film of the
same name which proved an online hit, was positively reviewed in "Fangoria" magazine's online
edition earlier in 2009 and has screened in several festivals across the United States.
A supernatural adventure-comedy, "The Night Shift" centers on Rue Morgan, the undead night
watchman at Pinewood Oaks Cemetery. Rue, along with his buddy Herb, a limbless corpse,
spends his nights trying to keep the cemetery's cantankerous residents in, and his days
dreaming of a date with hard-nosed day-shifter, Claire. It's an okay afterlife until a
scourge of supernatural occurrences leave Rue not only watching the cemetery, but also
watching his back!
The short film's positive reception coupled with the disillusionment with Hollywood's current output of remakes and reboots encouraged the filmmakers to pursue
their dream of turning the original "The Night Shift" into a feature length horror-adventure
film. Thomas Smith, the film's writer/director and co-producer, is hoping to recapture some
of the cinematic magic of the 80s Amblin films he grew up with that had a lasting influence.
"Growing up as a child of the 80s, the world depicted on film had a completely different
atmosphere," Smith says. "The films possessed a graininess and lived-in look that added an
extra dimension of realism. There also seemed to be a greater emphasis on character and
storytelling and less of the headache-inducing flash and sensory overload that's become so
commonplace today. It was the era of 'Gremlins', 'Ghostbusters' and 'Indiana Jones', films
everyone could enjoy, not just children or adult audiences. That's what we're hoping to
recapture with 'The Night Shift'."
The independent feature has secured its cast.
Returning from the short to reprise their roles of Rue Morgan, Claire Rennfield and Herbie West
are Khristian Fulmer, Erin Lilley and Soren Odom, respectively. New additions to the cast
include Andrew Crider as Adramalech, the villainous vengeance demon with an affinity for
western wear, Jordan Woodall as Curly and Jonathan Pruitt as the mysterious
Captain Roderick Blake. The film, currently in pre-production, is expected to begin shooting
in May 2010.
For more information on Fighting Owl Films, "The Night Shift" and to view the
original short film, visit them online at www.fightingowlfilms.com and