Director/producer Joe Bagnardi talks about THE EDGE OF REALITY…
There is a line we walk, a line between good and evil between what is real and what is unreal, between sanity and madness and between life and dreams, a place with no boundaries a place we call... The Edge of Reality
These are the very words that start out my new horror anthology film The Edge of Reality. I was inspired to do this film because I have always been a great fan of horror anthology shows like The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Thriller, One Step Beyond, The Outer Limits and later Tales from the Darkside and Tales from the Crypt. Anthology films like Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, Creepshow, Tales from the Crypt, The House That Dripped Blood, and The Vault of Horror also inspired me.
I had dabbled in horror anthologies before with some short films I was doing. I then worked on my own first feature Shadow Tracker: Vampire Hunter, and later on Kevin Lindenmuth's Brimstone Productions werewolf anthology Blood of the Werewolf. I did camera work on the first story Blood Reunion for filmmaker Bruce G. Hallenbeck, and directed and wrote the third story Manbeast - kind of a Planet of the Apes film with werewolves. I always wanted to do my own anthology. It was going to be called Tales of the Grim Reaper, but then I remembered an old song in an Elvis film called "The Edge of Reality". It was in his film Live a Little, Love a Little. It was used during a dream sequence in the film. The title to the song stuck in my head, and when it came time to do the anthology that title came back to mind.
I really like the music of Bob Mares. He had worked on Blood of the Werewolf, and I enjoyed what he had done. I contacted him and asked if he could do some music for the film and also devise a theme. I wanted a theme similar in tone to Rod Serling's Night Gallery. Well, he sent me a CD with four cuts on it. One was perfect. I wrote the opening words keeping The Twilight Zone in mind. Then I called upon filmmaker Bruce G. Hallenbeck to narrate the opening and also to be the onscreen host ala Rod Serling. He gladly joined in and did a fine job. We did the dubbing at a local TV station, and Colin Lovelock - an editor from Shadow Tracker - did the opening visuals. It was a very professional job and was perfect for this film.
We had various story ideas for the film. One short film I had already shot called Sweet Sorrow was a contender. It was a love story/ghost story. It was shot on film but we decided to hold off on it for now. I had another story about a doll gone bad and also one about a killer flower. Many ideas came and went. We finally decided on three stories. The first is called Dead Man, which is loosely based on a public domain short story from years ago found by actor Ron Rausch. It was by an anonymous author. He had asked me to do this story 15 years ago and I said "someday Ron, someday." Well 15 years went by and I said "ok Ron, I'm ready to shoot it." Lo and behold he still had it in his cabinet. Ron himself played the Dead Man in it, and Bruce G. Hallenbeck plays the killer he comes upon. The film also has Mary Kay Hilko and Bill Chaput, who had appeared in Blood of the Werewolf together. There was a scene where I was in a boat with Bruce shooting him trying to get rid of the body by sinking it in the water. Mary Kay had made up the dummy body by putting bags of leaves into garbage bags and wrapping a sheet around it, then the rope. Bruce then sinks the body in the lake. He had a tough time doing it. The body would not sink. I just kept filming and finally the water got into the bags and slowly down it went. After it sunk I tried to hoist it up and it wouldn't budge. Come to find out that Mary Kay put rocks in the bags as well. Now here I am in a boat with Bruce sinking what looks like a dead body on a busy lake and now we are heavily anchored. Everytime we paddled we ended up going in circles around the fake dead and sunken body. Finally Ron and Mary Kay came to our rescue with a speedboat, and between the four of us we hoisted the fake body back on board and away we went. We laughed later and found out that neither Bruce nor myself were great swimmers.
The second story The Maze was based on a short film I did in 1978 called Beyond the Twilight Zone. That film was about a hunter that kills poor defenseless animals (no animals injured) and then has to come face to face with a hunter dressed like a professional safari hunter that chases him. The thing is the guy chasing him is himself. Finally at the end the safari hunter shoots him. We then see the hunter who was on the run holding in his hand the pistol that the safari hunter was holding. He has a gunshot in his head. Was he really hunted down like he hunted animals, or did he kill himself?
Anyway the new version The Maze stars Bill Chaput in duel roles - one as Harry Swift who is an alcoholic fired from his job and kicked out of his house by his wife. She has had enough of him. He is putting his stuff away in storage when he finds himself stalked by himself. His stalker is an inner demon that plans to put Harry out of his misery, or, put another way, his evil self who has had enough of Harry just like his boss and his wife. Harry is trapped in this maze of a storage facility in a battle with his inner demon.
During The Maze, when Harry's wife leaves him, she leaves him some suitcases full of his clothes to take with him. In reality Mary Kay, who loaded the suitcases, had put rocks into them so it would look like it was heavy for Bill to carry. We did a number of takes and Bill mentioned he had a bad back at the time. It is then we found out about the rocks. So in that scene Bill didn't have to act like the bags were full!
The third story is based on a true story that Teddy Roosevelt used to tell around camp fires when he used to go on his bear hunting expeditions. The film The Quarry is written by filmmaker Bruce G. Hallenbeck (Vampyre, Fangs, London After Midnight and Blood of The Werewolf). Bruce also stars as old man Bauman - the man who knows the legend of the creature that stalks the woods. Ron Rausch and Gary Secor of Shadow Tracker play Greene and Donahue. They are two business men who want to get away from it all and escape their boring everyday office jobs. They seek out Bauman, who fills their ears with stories of the mysterious creature he went up against years before. That creature is also known as Bigfoot.
Mary Kay Hilko worked all day on the Bigfoot makeup and even added $200 red eye lenses for the creature. Dan Bailey (Blood of The Werewolf) played the creature. It took him a long time to get the makeup off, and he actually wore some of it home with the red lenses in. People at his apartment complex were in shock when they saw him.
The film was shot all digital. Filmmaker Jeff Kirkendall - who is Associate Producer and Editor on the movie - helped out immensely. He added all the effects and titles, and did a ton of publicity on the film. At the same time he is very busy doing his own films like The Temptress, and editing Bruce's London After Midnight. Jeff runs his own website called www.veryscaryproductions.com, where you can log on and check out his films, my films, and anything else he is working on. I couldn't have done it without all his help. Brimstone Media Productions, LLC will be distributing the film and seeking foreign and domestic distribution. We had our area premiere at a theatre in Saratoga called Broadway Joe's Theatre and Grill. The movie played to a sellout crowd.
We hope that The Edge of Reality is a success. We have many story ideas for the potential sequel Beyond the Edge of Reality. So be careful wherever you go in life or in your dreams - because you could walk that line, the line that is THE EDGE OF REALITY.