After spending all of May 2012 filming zombified PsychoMonkeys at Patrick Creek Lodge, the creators of “Love in the Time of Monsters” will return to Del Norte County with the finished movie.
Los Angeles-based producer Andy Gunn, director Matt Jackson, writer Michael Skvarla, actors Doug Jones and Paul Ella and others will walk down the red carpet at Crescent City Cinema for the first public screening of the film on Sept. 7. There will also be a media wall set up for people to pose in front of, said Jennifer Young, who works with the Lighthouse Repertory Theater.
Tickets for the screening are currently on sale, Young said. Proceeds will benefit LRT and Del Norte Search and Rescue, she said.
“This was a really fun thing for our community,” Young said. “And they love Crescent City. All of (the film crew) have really enjoyed the town.”
In the film, Patrick Creek Lodge stands in for Uncle Slavko’s Funtime Lodge, a tourist trap that specializes in Bigfoot tours with costumed actors. Two sisters show up to surprise one of the actors, one of them a fience of one of the sisters, only to find they have been contaminated by a toxic waste and have become zombified. The women stay on at the lodge even though it’s under attack to see if they can find a cure, Gunn said.
“What do you do when your fiance turns into a monster? That’s really the question,” Gunn said.
The movie was already written when Skvarla came across Patrick Creek Lodge and Del Norte’s redwoods, according to Gunn. He and the other filmmakers were looking an “authentic” roadside attraction and found it in Del Norte County. In addition to Patrick Creek Lodge, Love in the Time of Monsters was also filmed at Trees of Mystery.
“Crescent City just feels real,” Gunn said. “It was a combination of just blind luck and then once we got up there it was perfect. Everyone seemed to have a story that they saw Bigfoot somewhere.”
The movie also used plenty of local talent. Between 100 and 150 locals were used as extras, Young said. Young was an extra herself and, along with local resident Heather Holt, helped cast the extras.
Many of the extras were from the Hiouchi Motel, Young said. Volunteers from Del Norte Search and Rescue and representatives from Del Norte Ambulance were also in the movie, she said.
“John Pritchett is in the movie,” Young said, referring to Del Norte Ambulance’s general manager. “He and I joke about this quite a bit. He bends over to pick up a dead person who’s been zombified, so what you see is his gluteus maximus.”
Young also encouraged Alex Gastineau, son of Crescent City Councilman Ron Gastineau, to try out for a part.
Gastineau, who has acted in many LRT productions as well as in high school, is Ron, one of the Bigfoot actors who become contaminated with toxic waste and turn into a monster. The filmmakers were looking for actors ranging from 19 to 25, Gastineau said. Roughly 50 people tried out, he said.
The filmmakers narrowed the candidates down to the top five before selecting Gastineau.
“They said I was the only one who moved around and acted,” he said, referring to his audition. “Everyone else just read the lines.”
For five days last year, Gastineau traveled up U.S. Highway 199 past Gasquet to Patrick Creek Lodge, many times having to get there at 5 a.m. and sometimes only having about 20-minutes of on-screen work to do.
Even though Gastineau said he and the other actors had their lines, a lot of the acting was improvised. He added that it was often hard for him to keep a straight face.
“This movie is nothing short of vulgar,” he said. “At some points I couldn’t help but laugh. This is a horror/slasher film, but it’s a funny, cheesy horror/slasher film.”
Extras also came from the U.S. Department of Forestry, Gunn said. The filmmakers also had help from the Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce, Safeway and the Sutter Coast walk-in clinic, he said.
“We felt like we were at home,” Gunn said. “So we wanted to come back. We said the moment we made (the movie), we’re coming back with a screening for you guys.”
The filmmakers also plan to show the movie at several festivals, Gunn said. He added that he is currently in negotiations with the organizers of some film festivals, but he couldn’t say which ones.
Tickets cost $20 and are available at Del Norte Office Supply and at the chamber. The first few tickets sold will come with a t-shirt, Young said.
There will also be an after party at Tomasini’s Enoteca that will feature local band Disturbing the Peace. There will be a $3 cover charge for the after party.