Northeast Times

Scary Stuff

Charles Christ­man III has been feel­ing plenty of in­spir­a­tion at the Shady Brook Farm in Yard­ley. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

— A vis­it to a farm’s pop­u­lar Hal­loween at­trac­tion has giv­en a film­maker an idea for a fright flick.

Start­Frag­ment

Charles Christ­man III was work­ing at Shep­ard Re­cre­ation Cen­ter in West Phil­adelphia back in 2008 when he brought some mem­bers of the film club to the an­nu­al Hor­ror­Fest at Shady Brook Farm in Yard­ley.

The young­sters had fun, and so did their chap­er­one.

In fact, Christ­man, of Holmes­burg, de­cided to write a movie script titled Hell­hound Hayride.

“My main in­spir­a­tion was when I brought six of my kids from the film club here,” he said dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view at the 220-acre Bucks County farm that will cel­eb­rate its 100th an­niversary in 2013.

The pro­duc­tion was delayed for a few years, but Christ­man star­ted 2012 de­term­ined to make the film.

While look­ing for a loc­a­tion, he thought of Shady Brook Farm. In Janu­ary, he and his Back­2n­inety9 Pro­duc­tions got the OK to film there.

“I was floored,” he said. “On the first pitch, someone says yes. That nev­er hap­pens. When you have the loc­a­tion, you’ve won half the battle.”

The oth­er half, of course, is money.

Christ­man, a St. Bern­ard and Fath­er Judge gradu­ate who now works at Ferko Play­ground in Ju­ni­ata, be­lieves he can make the film with­in a $50,000 budget.

The main fund-rais­ing vehicle he will pur­sue is Kick­starter, an on­line com­pany that bills it­self as the world’s largest fund­ing plat­form for cre­at­ive pro­jects in areas such as mu­sic, film, art, tech­no­logy, design, food and pub­lish­ing.

Christ­man, 31, would set his goal of rais­ing $50,000 in a cer­tain peri­od of time.

If the gen­er­al pub­lic con­trib­utes that much, let the film­ing be­gin, at least as soon as Christ­man ob­tains in­sur­ance and hires act­ors, crew and sound tech­ni­cians.

If not, no money changes hands.

Christ­man, who has been dir­ect­ing and pro­du­cing short films since 2003, is con­fid­ent that Kick­starter will ac­cept his pro­ject, and that fans will back it fin­an­cially.

“I love hor­ror, and there’s a huge fan base for it,” he said. “Hor­ror fans are ra­bid like that.”

The film is about three kids who are tak­ing a CYO-sponsored Hal­loween bus trip to a hor­ror at­trac­tion. The stu­dents en­counter three un­wel­come vis­it­ors who take a “bite” out of their fun time.

Asked to de­scribe it fur­ther, Christ­man likened it to “Stand By Me meets The Mon­ster Squad.” It’s more of a 1980s throw­back hor­ror film, with some fun mixed in the plot.

Christ­man, who gradu­ated from Temple Uni­versity in 2005 with a de­gree in film and me­dia arts, be­lieves it’s a coup that he’ll shoot about 80 per­cent of the film at Shady Brook Farm (the rest will be shot else­where, in­clud­ing scenes in an al­ley and a veter­in­ari­an’s of­fice).

The folks at Shady Brook Farm are also happy to provide the loc­a­tion.

Dave Flem­ing, Shady Brook’s gen­er­al man­ager and a mem­ber of the fam­ily that has owned the farm all these 99 years, read the script and re­viewed Christ­man’s past pro­jects be­fore giv­ing the OK.

“We’re honored that he felt Hor­ror­Fest was an in­spir­a­tion,” Flem­ing said. “We were ex­cited to be ap­proached and are thrilled to be a part of it.”

If all goes as planned, shoot­ing would be­gin in mid-Septem­ber. Christ­man would film at night and dusk over six days. He’d in­clude live foot­age of Hor­ror­Fest.

Flem­ing said Shady Brook has nev­er been a loc­a­tion for a fea­ture film, though it’s been home to a mu­sic video and stu­dent films. Its haunted hayride was also the in­spir­a­tion for a book.

Flem­ing also in­dic­ated that Shady Brook might even want to hold an out­door screen­ing once the film is re­leased.

Eve Moody, Shady Brook’s dir­ect­or of fun, said the farm feels good about at­tach­ing its name to the pro­ject.

“I think Charles’ movie will film nicely here,” she said.

Much of the ac­tion will take place at a junk­yard filled with broken-down cars, fake body parts and rus­ted equip­ment.

“There’s your scene right there,” Christ­man was told by pro­du­cer/dir­ect­or of pho­to­graphy Wendell Raul­ston Jr., whom he met at Temple.

The su­per-hy­brid mutated hell­hounds get loose and really be­gin to wreak hav­oc in a gi­ant coffin. Oth­er scenes will be shot at a barn and in fields.

Christ­man has long-range plans to take Hell­hound Hayride on the film fest­iv­al cir­cuit, but only after a big open­ing night at Shady Brook Farm.

“I plan to premiere it here on Hal­loween 2013,” he said. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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