Whatever happened to director Joseph Monahan’s independent cannibal-slasher flick Wonder Valley? We caught up recently with the first-time filmmaker to get the skinny on the now completed flick. Read on!
Filmed in May 2011 in the deserts of Joshua Tree, California (see our coverage of that here), Wonder Valley was written by Monahan (who also executive produces), Kenny White and producer Creep Creepersin, and the narrative follows a quartet of vacationers who unfortunately find their numbers start to dwindle during their ill-conceived trip in purportedly unexpected and rather bloody ways. Along with actors Charlie Vaughn and Suziey Block, rounding out the cast are Natalie Pero (Raze), David Michaelson and Kim Ward, with makeup effects provided by Jacky Belle (The Devil’s Carnival).
“The original narrative basically changed back to more of its original form,” director Monahan told us of the Wonder Valley re-shoots, which he recently completed. “Before we shot on location last May, I realized that the original screenplay and location were way too ambitious for the budget and schedule which we had. At that point I had to choose between a few different things, which were cutting story elements, finding a closer location, and/or shooting faster and simply trying to get everything in that four-day period. I chose to go for the latter and try and get everything in that short schedule, because I felt that the location was almost like a character in the film and that this could only be realized if we shot in the real Wonder Valley. What ended up happening no one could have predicted. We had serious winds of up to seventy miles per hour to deal with almost daily.”
Upon reviewing the Red camera footage following principal photography, “I was stuck with what I had, which turned out to be half of a movie,” said Monahan. “I cut for over a year and added some scenes here and there, hoping to make it all come together, and the truth of it is that I could have let it go and made a cut that we could have sold. I didn’t want to sacrifice my original vision, though, so I decided to try and raise another $2,000 to shoot the rest of the film I had intended.”
“This is my first feature film as a director, but I have years of experience on big feature films,” continued Monahan. “The low budget world is far different, and I found it difficult to adjust. I wanted my first film to feel like a big budget feature, and I felt that I just had to get as close to my original vision as possible. I was able to raise the funds and decided to shoot again on location, as well as in town. This time we had a distinct advantage, though, since I had a rough cut and knew exactly what worked and what I needed, so I wrote a new first act and finale that would bring the rest of the movie together. This time around we also chose to shoot on the 7D rather than on the Red, and it was a lot less money and I believe much faster to shoot with, but cut seamlessly together with the Red footage.”
“The truth is that I was very lucky to have such a professional and caring cast, and the fact that they were willing to come back a year later to help me finish what I started meant a lot to me, personally,” reflected the filmmaker. “I had set out to make a very different horror film, and I never stopped pushing for that vision to become a reality. I think we have now achieved this, and Wonder Valley will be very interesting film.”
As for post-production, Monahan (who recently shot Creep Creepersin’s Finger Bang and who has now started pre-production on his much larger budget feature A 21st Century Haunting) states that Wonder Valley will be completed by the end of October, 2012, and that distribution and sales will be handled by Creepersin Films and his own company, Visions in Red.
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