Sci-fi horror film ‘Blood Moon’ premieres August 7 at Maynard
FRAMINGHAM — Growing up in Framingham, Ethan Charles and Caleb Spilios bonded over a shared love of sci-fi and horror movies.
Now 21, they present their own film, ‘Blood Moon’, at noon Sunday at Maynard’s Fine Arts Theater Place.
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In the film, an otherwise normal night on October 30 turns heartbreaking as the sky turns red and everyone must fight to survive.
“Blood Moon” follows the character of Will – played by Caleb Easton – and his friends’ journey to survival.
The plot is the sequel to the duo’s first film and the start of the “Drowning in Pennsylvania” saga.
“Blood Moon” was originally a short film that Spilios wrote in 2015 and shot over a weekend in 2017. He and Charles decided to scrap it and turn the 30-page script into a 95-page script. pages and a film of almost 90 minutes. .
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Spilios wants audiences to capture the character’s feelings of desperation and fear.
“The movie is about this crazy sci-fi event, but I think that’s why it takes this crazy, overwhelming feeling (the teenage feeling) and exaggerates it to a point where it’s a little alien. “, did he declare.
How people communicate and work together to overcome obstacles is another theme running through the film, Spilios said.
“The friend dynamic is a really fun part of the movie,” Charles said.
Three years of preparation
This is their second film to feature at the Fine Arts Theater – in 2019 the duo released ‘Drowning in Pennsylvania’.
“Blood Moon” has been selected to screen at the 2021 Boston Sci-Film Festival and the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon.
“Blood Moon” lasted three years – the same time it took Spilios to write the screenplay.
“It was tough, from start to finish… 48 hours before we were supposed to start production, almost all of us shut down. We weren’t sure we could get our budget or any of the cameras in time,” Charles said.
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Spilios said producing “Blood Moon” was one of the hardest things he’s ever done. He and the crew shot from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. for 21 days.
“Our sleep schedules were destroyed and I lost about 12 pounds,” Spilios said.
The duo’s perseverance and desire to take on any challenge is what drove them to complete “Blood Moon.”
Once they overcame those early challenges, COVID-19 kicked in and slowed post-production on the film significantly. In April 2020, Spilios moved his mounting setup to his garage where he and other team members wore masks and rode in the hot space for eight hours.
“He sat and sat until we felt he was ready to be shown to everyone,” Charles said.
With Charles and Spilios attending Sudbury Valley School in Framingham and growing up in the area, some of the filming locations were in the town, including Nobscot Convenience.
While working with a budget of $15,708, Spilios and Charles rented all of their gear from LensProToGo in Concord.
Funding came from their personal bank accounts, money from a Kickstarter for their previous film, and a few private and corporate investors. A Kickstarter campaign for “Blood Moon” raised just over $7,000.
“We see that people believe in us and care about (the movie) and take us seriously…it’s worth it,” Spilios said.
Spilios drew visual inspiration from his favorite 70s and 80s sci-fi and horror movies so viewers are immersed in a retro vibe like that of director Alex Cox’s “Repo Man” and the works of filmmaker John Carpenter.
In order to replicate this aesthetic and highlight the underlying sense of mystery, Spilios shot on anamorphic lenses – which alter the dimension of an image in one axis to give a wider point of view and a unique look – rather than the common spherical lenses.
“There’s just something about that time, that time and how it all looked like (that) I love,” Spilios said. “There’s something really satisfying about sitting down and watching a fun, fast-paced thriller that isn’t overly complicated or trying to do too much.”
The saga was made under the duo’s production company — Three27Productions, established in 2018.
“We were always doing things in and out of school and as we got older it naturally progressed to a point where we felt like we really needed to create a vessel for our work,” Spilios said. .
In the spring of 2018, the duo wanted to make a “bigger movie” – the birthplace of the “Blood Moon” concept – and expanded the business to be taken more seriously and “less like friends hanging around and spinning. things”. Charles said.
“Always loved science fiction”
Since the age of 8, Spilios has been a filmmaker. “The Ominous Light of Space” – whose release date has yet to be announced – was Spilios’ first film made and shot on his iPod touch.
The sci-fi, thriller and horror genres have always piqued Spilios’ interest ever since his father showed him George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ when he was 6 years old.
“I’ve always loved sci-fi and horror movies, and not just for the reason that they can be super-visual and have these amazing spectacles and huge worlds,” Spilios said. “I’ve always liked the way they’re used as a metaphor for talking about other things. …it’s a very engaging way to speak to the public.
Ever since they met when they were 8, Spilios and Charles had watched at least two movies every time they went out — so it was only natural that they would start making their own.
Shortly after starting their business, the duo became a trio with the arrival of 21-year-old cinematographer Robin Glass. While Spilios was stretched by directing and writing, Glass came at just the right time. Glass is also helping with the pre-production and planning of the film.
Charles works in front of and behind the camera as an actor, producer and marketing director for Three27Productions.
Prior to his debut as Jack in “Drowning in Pennsylvania”, Charles had only acted in a few elementary school productions and did not consider himself an actor.
In “Blood Moon”, Charles plays the “shy, nerdy geek”, known as Carter.
“He (Carter) has knowledge of the entire mystery of the film. It tries, at times, to be a moral foundation or compass,” Charles said.
From a writer’s perspective, Spilios said Carter is a pivotal character who helps the audience’s journey through the film in several ways.
“He comes into the film himself… (and is) forced into a position where he has to become more confident and use all the knowledge he can,” Charles added.
However, Carter was not a prominent character in “Drowning in Pennsylvania”.
Without giving away any spoilers for the saga, Spilios said, “If you watch the two movies back to back and pay attention, there’s definitely a pretty big connection (with Carter).”
Spilios hopes audiences will be amused, scared, and enjoy learning about the film’s cultural subtext.
“It allows people to get away from it all a bit,” he said. “I wanted to get cerebral and have a lot of things you can chew on…if you don’t, you can still have a good time (watching).”
Sunday’s “Blood Moon” premiere begins at noon and is followed by a Q&A with Charles, Spilios, and other cast and crew members.
Members of the public can also purchase snacks, drinks and ‘Blood Moon’ merchandise at Sunday’s event at Fine Arts Theater Place, 19 Summer St., Maynard. General admission tickets are $20; for ages 13 and under, tickets are $10. For more information and tickets, visit https://tinyurl.com/mr2bna42