Creating a slasher movie has always been one of PJ Starks and Eric Huskisson’s life goals, yet when making their new movie, New Fears Eve, they didn’t predict that they’d garner help and support from one of the industry’s greats.
Starks said they wanted to tell a complete story with New Fears Eve, unlike the previous films they made with Blood Moon Pictures, their production company. While Starks wrote the movie, he worked in personal life experiences into the characters’ stories.
“All these things that happened in my life, these huge life changes and shifts in the dynamic of how my life was going,” Starks said. “I wanted to tackle a lot of this in the story. By the time I wrote the script and then rewrote it, it’s like an extremely personal script.”
With so much of himself in the characters, the film is highly character-driven as we follow three friends whose lives are changed by circumstances beyond their control and how they respond. Much like real life, Starks said that the horror genre forces its characters to face things that they would likely not choose in their own lives. Using the plot device of horror, he weaved in real stories of mourning his grandmother and exploring an unexpected love with a partner.
“While being a part of the creative process of it, in a very cathartic way, you’re experiencing [that emotion], but you’re experiencing the part of it that can be enjoyable, which might feel really weird to people,” Starks said.
The film’s production was entirely in Owensboro, with some sets including The Pub on Second, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Owensboro Community and Technical College, under the Blue Bridge and more. Most of the production days were on weekends. As Starks said, the cast and crew were “weekend warriors,” balancing their passion for filmmaking and their reality of working a Monday through Friday schedule.
With the occasional break, the production went from January to June, making this one of Blood Moon Pictures’ biggest projects. The movie contains over 40 kills, and had talent from both actors locally and across the country. But the biggest name on the ticket was one of the horror movie greats, Jeffrey Reddick.
Reddick, a Breathitt County native, is best known for being the writer of the first Final Destination film and executive producer of the second. The two movies greatly impacted Starks when he was younger and his journey into the art of filmmaking.
“I remember going and seeing Final Destination, and I know the effect that it had on me not just from a filmmaking standpoint, because I was like, ‘Man, I really hope I can make something that cool one day,’” he recalled.
Fast forward to when he and Huskisson were making their previous film, 13 Slays Till X-Mas, and Starks said he took a shot in the dark at messaging Reddick on social media, and they became fast friends. Eventually, the two exchanged numbers, and Starks invited Reddick to a cameo in the film. When the movie was released, Reddick called Starks enthusiastic at how great the movie was with the budget he was working with.
“So Jeremy said, ‘Let’s work together on another project. But let’s do it to where I can come to Owensboro, I can be on set, let’s really work together,’” Starks said. To which his only reply was he didn’t know what was next, but they’d make it happen.
When Starks finished the script for New Fears Eve, he sent the final product to Reddick, and once again, there was a phone call from him. According to Starks, he praised the script, the characters and many aspects of the movie. To receive the compliments of one of the horror film greats was stunning to him.
“This guy has affected pop culture. He’s created stuff that has transcended pop culture, and he’s telling me I’ve done something cool. I just think if I were to actually die right now, I would be okay,” Starks said.
So they filmed the movie, and now, with Reddick’s support, the film and its trailer have garnered some new eyes for the company excited for the anticipated release.
“The whole process of making this project has been very different. That’s what we wanted, but different in a lot of ways. So, it’s been really cool,” Starks said.
Starks said there are still some final touches the film needs to undergo before its release next year. When the film is finished, it will be shown at film festivals and conventions before its eventual theatrical and streaming release. OL