Horror hits campus

Two University of Minnesota students plan to make a horror movie

by Conrad Schoenleber

Two university students are making a horror film in an attempt to inject energy into a “stagnant Hollywood.” Evan Kail and Matt Banks, two seniors in the Sigma Nu fraternity, plan to release what they’re calling, “Victim 1,” next Oct.

The idea for the film came to be when Kail was working at the shoe section of Macy’s in Roseville. He and Ciaran Woods, another employee at the store, began discussing movies and discovered a mutual affinity for the horror genre. Kail and Woods passed ideas and scripts back and forth until they finally agreed upon a concept.

“This is to be a homage to the horror genre in three parts,” Woods said. “The first will be a certain format, the second shot in 16mm and the third in HD with more of a paranormal feel.”

Banks, a University of Minnesota film student, was originally brought in as a creative consultant, but then took on more of a concrete role.

“I’ve been watching horror movies since I was five years old. I contacted Ciaran with some ideas to offer and it just kind of snowballed from there,” Banks said.

The trio is planning to buck the usual themes of the Hollywood horror film. “We’re trying to steer away from the conventions that Hollywood has been butchering our child with,” Banks said. “If you’ve seen many of the remakes of ‘Friday the 13th or ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street,’ it’s just horrible.”

Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on your perspective — there will be no nudity.

The three especially lament the use of 3D. “You have a hundred million dollars to make a movie and we could either hire some good screenwriters to write an original story, or do a crappy remake and make it 3D,” Kail said. “You can’t polish a mouse turd,” he added.

The threesome sees this as a way to put Minnesota on the map as a filmmaking location.

“We’d like to get the movie industry back in Minnesota, because right now it’s pretty much dead,” Woods said. “We see this as a revival of the Minnesota film scene. Horror is the most profitable genre, so it will almost definitely be successful. If ‘Victim 1’ does well, then we will have created a model for other people.”

The three filmmakers hope to gain the support of the University. “Ideally what we would like to have happen is get the [University] completely onboard with student actors and locations,” Woods said.

“We have a scene that starts at the [University],” Kail said. “Smith Hall 100 would be my ideal choice of where to film.”

Although it is atypical for the University to endorse a film, let alone a horror film, the group is staying positive. They have already gained the support of friends and other University students with another member of their fraternity doing the website design.

Kail, Banks and Woods are excited about the upcoming film and might just have what it takes to revitalize the movie scene in not only Minnesota, but Hollywood as well.