Spooky scenes: Youths create horror movie

Published 5:01 pm Thursday, September 15, 2016

It was so hot and miserable in the swamp this summer, the girls couldn’t wait for their turn to die.

Because until they “died,” they would have to trudge through the poison ivy and weeds wearing the same dirty, smelly clothes and stay within character day in and day out. Meanwhile, their friends, who had died, could remain off camera, in clean, fresh shorts and T-shirts.

But even so, there were no complaints from any of the young models-turned-filmmakers after their first film, “Devil Dolls: Evil Awakening” wrapped up shooting near Poole’s Bluff.

The girls met at Indigo Knight Modeling Bogalusa, where they learn poise and self-confidence, but several months ago they also began planning to make a film. The core group of girls range from ages 11 to 17, and though they’d never made a film before, they all like horror movies and decided to tell the story of a witch who inhabits a swamp.

In the film, it is Halloween night and the bored girls decide to investigate a notorious swamp, known for being supposedly haunted by a witch who routinely kills anyone who should stay overnight. Initially the girls plan only to look around, but they quickly lose the trail and, one by one, each of the girls end up as victims. Once dead, the swamp witch re-animates the girls, turning them into the eponymous dolls of the film’s title.

Kelsie Simonson, one of the film’s stars and creators, said she and her friends wanted to make a film in part because they would like to start their own production company.

“This is a small town and there aren’t many opportunities to do stuff here,” she said. “We’re all models and so we should do something bigger like start a movie company and make movies.”

The girls figured, why not start with a feature film?

Sean Moticheck, the owner of Indigo Knight, was not supportive of this. Moticheck has had experience making films, and he knows it can be hard, stressful work. Not to mention, making a film isn’t free.

“I’ve done a lot of video projects, and you don’t touch on an hour-long project with no budget,” he said.

But, he said, the girls insisted they could do it, and so he let them try. Monticheck acted as the film’s director and he gave them acting tips.

“He told us not to look directly at the camera,” Kaitlyn Brown said.

But for the most part, the girls did all the work. And Monticheck said he pushed them hard, even during the hottest parts of the summer.

“It was like, ‘walk it off, sweat it off, I don’t want to hear about it,’” he said.

And the girls pushed themselves — one, Allee White, even ended up in the hospital after getting attacked by chiggers.

But, whatever happened, the girls kept coming back.

“These girls spent every single day of their summer here,” Monticheck said.

“We didn’t want a break,” Brown added.

After it was over, the girls are glad they did it.

“It was this or sleep all day and be bored,” Tiara Jackson said.

Indeed, the group hopes to finance a second film with sales from this DVD. The film will be released Oct. 1 — just in time for Halloween — and copies are $15 each.

“We want the community to understand that by supporting the movie, they’re opening up a window for (the girls) to do something else,” Monticheck said.

The girls hope the sales go well, because they’re already looking ahead.

“We’re hoping to do an action-comedy or maybe just an action movie,” Jacy Trahan said.

Monticheck said the plot so far revolves around a group of female secret agents who must track down a rogue agent, although the details haven’t been fleshed out. Nevertheless, he believes it will happen.

“I see a huge potential in these ladies,” he said.

He praised their determination and work ethic, but also their ability to work together. Despite the girls’ age differences, they collaborate and accept each other’s creative suggestions on their merits. Good ideas live, bad ides get tossed — no matter who came up with them. Monticheck said it was his job to nix unworkable ideas from the movie, and nobody ever got their feelings hurt.

“It wasn’t really that hard of a job,” he said. They were ready to toss off an old idea and bring in a new one.”

To find out more, check out the group’s Facebook page, drop by the Indigo Knight offices on 426 Columbia St. or call them at 985-871-5111. The movie trailer can be seen on Youtube at youtube.com/watch?v=inY7iy0Q_yg.