CONCRETE — After playing host to the shooting of an independent horror movie last fall, Concrete is ready for its closeup. And it’s coming on the most appropriate night of the year.
The Concrete Theatre will host a special screening of “The Anniversary,” an independent horror movie shot in Concrete and Marblemount, on Halloween night with members of the cast and crew in attendance.
The R-rated film, produced by former Skagit Valley College student Erin Neal, is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.
Director Collin Joseph Neal said he and the other crew and cast members are thrilled to have the opportunity to screen the film where it was shot. He said the idea was born from several Concrete residents’ attendance of a filming in Seattle and the subsequent suggestion that it be shown in Concrete.
The movie is a tale of five female characters plunged into a fearful situation on a grim anniversary, an idea born out of Alison Monda’s backstage boredom.
Monda said she was performing in a play, and began writing a single scene out of boredom while she was backstage. Then she kept writing.
“I just kept adding and adding to it,” she said. “I got engulfed in it. It was fun getting to know the characters I was writing.”
Monda arranged a read-through with performers. She was so nervous that she didn’t even inform the actors of the genre or subject matter.
Neal was in the audience. He liked the script so much he wanted to turn it into a film.
“The dialogue felt natural. Everything flowed so well,” he said. “They had comment cards (after the read-through), and I wrote on mine, ‘I want to direct this film.’”
Neal said the 1980s-set story offered more than a bloody horror tale, although there’s plenty of that. Among the inspiration he had for the film are not only genre classics such as “The Shining,” but the comedy “Bridesmaids” and the coming-of-age movies by John Hughes.
“The dialogue was wonderful, especially the way the actresses delivered it. It was great to see that,” he said.
A fundraising campaign through the website Kickstarter produced a $30,000 budget, but as filming approached, Neal and the rest of the crew found one problem: a location that would suit their needs.
“A month before shooting, we didn’t have a location. We were looking desperately for a cabin,” he said.
Neal said the crew looked at locations in Olympia and near Lake Chelan before finding a listing for a cabin in Concrete.
“It looked like something out of the ‘Cabin in the Woods,’” he said, referring to the 2012 cheeky horror parody.
The crew found several locations nearby, including an abandoned gas station. In fact, the locations were so good they ended up rewriting the script to accommodate them.
“They ended up turning out a lot better than we thought,” said Monda, who plays a role in the movie. “We came across the old gas station (in Marblemount), and it was the perfect horror-movie gas station. I rewrote the scene because of that.”
Even the cabin was perfect, Neal said, noting that everything down to the blankets in the couch were kept in the film. It even had a spooky basement, which ended up fitting an unsettling scene in the film itself. (There’s also a shot of Concrete’s signature old cement plant.)
After the screening, some of the filmmakers will take part in the Itsa Film Festival in Sonora, Calif.
“It’s so exciting,” Neal said.