Our beloved city of Sarasota is once again making an appearance on the big screen. This time the genre is horror and a terrifying monster is the star of the show. (No…it’s not a 20-foot Florida gator.)
The individual behind this new project, currently underway, is the one and only actor and filmmaker, Kevin Smith, best known for movies such as Sundance favorite “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” With the support of Semkhor Productions and Ringling College students, Smith has embarked on his latest project, “Killroy Was Here,” right in our own backyard.
The producers of the new film are giving 26 Ringling students and graduates the opportunity to obtain real-life experience operating cameras and applying makeup. Despite the long hours and grueling overnight shoots, these aspiring filmmakers are ecstatic to have Smith as a mentor as they learn the ropes of the field. And in turn, he feels he’s learning from them as well. “There’s a reason old people like being around the young,” shares Smith. “We’re energy vampires, and these kids have boundless energy. But they’re also full of new ideas. It’s like a mini film school for me.”
Shooting of the first installment of the anthology has already taken place at the college’s new Ringling Studios soundstage and on various locations throughout Sarasota and Pinellas Counties, including Longboat Key and Nathan Benderson Park.
Smith explains, “This is a monster movie in the sense of a classic morality tale. No one wants to see you spill the blood of innocents, but when someone crosses the line and goes bad, you get to make them pay in horrible ways, and the audience cheers. Like ‘The Twilight Zone,’ [this movie] is full of ironic twists and grisly moments. We wanted to make an anthology film in the vein of ‘Creepshow’…[with a villain who is] a combination of Golem, the Boogeyman and the Grim Reaper.”
Although Smith’s original claim to fame were popular hits in the comedic vein, he has more recently turned his attention to darker subjects, in films such as 2011’s “Red State” and 2014’s “Tusk.” This latest venture into the horror realm is still being filmed and doesn’t have a release date yet, but stay tuned for more info if you’re a scary-movie aficionado and get a kick out of identifying local, familiar spots on the big screen!