Sometimes, as important as the plot of a horror movies is, the location is equally important. Often times the location is in the name, such as "The Nightmare on Elm Street," which was filmed in Los Angeles but fictionally takes place in Springwood, Ohio. The same goes for the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
Other times, the location is learned in the movie, but is forever associated with it, such as Woodsboro for "Scream" or Camp Crystal Lake for "Friday the 13th."
Lebanon will now have a connection to a short horror film, as "The Nest" was filmed at Re:Create Arts Initiative on Saturday, Oct. 17, and similarly to the other films in its genre, the location was perfect.
"Her [Jandi Goshert] basement is filled with dark tunnels. It's very creepy, and it's perfect for a set for a horror film," said Lancaster filmmaker Stew Bradley, director of "The Nest." "We wrote a script for that location, and we held a casting call for the film."
Bradley was approached by Goshert, owner of Lebanon's Re:Create Arts Initiative, about helping her create a project for the Halloween season. Before even seeing the location, Bradley was eager to help her out, being that he's known her for so long.
"I knew that I wanted to do something for her, because she's been working so hard to get people energized artistically in Lebanon. I know it hasn't been easy for her to start something in the middle of the city," Bradley said. "She has so many programs, and not just for kids doing creative stuff. I wanted to help out any way I could.
"I've known her for years since she lived in Lancaster. She's super energetic, artistic and is always doing art stuff. That's how we bumped into each other. I told her I didn't think I could do a regular program, but I wanted to start with this project. If it goes well, maybe we can keep doing projects periodically and building up interest."
Goshert said that she didn't need a sales pitch for Bradley to help out, as he seemed eager to dive in, especially with her creepy basement.
"It wasn't hard to convince him. I just brought it up, and he was totally up for doing something up here," Goshert said. "It's very creepy down there in the basement. The building was built in 1896, and it was a bomb shelter down there at one time. From when it was a hardware store from back in the day, there are a lot of shelving units and it's kind of a maze down there. It's pretty cool."
And that basement was the central location for "The Nest," which will be an estimated five-minute short film, debuting on Halloween Night at Re:Create Arts Initiative's Halloween party.
"The film is called 'The Nest.' Three kids find an abandoned tunnel, and they go exploring," Bradley said of the film, which he plans to show at local film festivals, as well as uploading it to YouTube. "They find something they don't want to find. There's something living in the tunnels, but you'll have to go on Halloween night to see what it is."
A perfect teaser, indeed.
It's the first film that Goshert has been a part of, but it's not Bradley's first rodeo. He estimates that he's done 20 short films before, and around 30 music videos.
It all started when he was 14 and found his father's Super 8 camera. He and a group of friends filmed a movie called "The Mondo Movie," which was available at select video stores in Lancaster. Bradley wrote his first feature-length film in 2003 – a controversial film about 9/11 – and still has dreams of developing a script he's been working on since college into a feature film.
"I've been planning a big project since college, for a big movie. At this point, I realize that I'm never going to have a budget to shoot such an ambitious project," said Bradley, who also works at the Lancaster Public Library part time, as well as playing in two bands. "To get that idea started, I've been working with a friend who does comic books to try to put it in that form at first to get the idea out there. It would be like a 'The Walking Dead,' where it started as a comic and evolved in to what it is now."
Understandably, Bradley can't commit to regular projects, but did say that based on how successful "The Nest" is, he'd like to work on one or two projects per year with Goshert.
"I'd be totally up for it if he's willing to," Goshert said. "I'm all for it."
Success is the word Bradley used, but what would make this film a success?
"For this to be a success, considering there is no budget, it would inspire a young person to be creative," Bradley said. "I want a young person to see this film and think they can and will do better. I'm not the best in the world, but I've been doing it a long time. You keep trying until you get it right."
"To me, it would be a lot of participation from a lot of kids from the area to check it out," Goshert said as to what will make the film successful. "It would be great to have a lot of people involved. The more the better."
Re:Create Arts Initiative is located at 39 S. 8th Street in Lebanon, and is planning to show the film multiple times at its release on Halloween, starting around 4:30 p.m.