Endor is a creepy new horror movie set in the American Heartland. Dread Central recently caught up with director Andrew McGreevy to find out more.
Dread Central: What exactly is Endor (Indigogo here)?
Andrew McGreevy: Endor is a horror/adventure film that mainly follows grad students Keira and Russ on a vacation road trip from to Denver to Omaha. The action takes place when they are driving through rural Eastern Nebraska. The couple, who are celebrating their one-year anniversary, have their relationship tested when they witness a murder and the murderer starts stalking them. Stuck in the township of Endor, they are on their own and have to outrun the killer. When they do find some locals they have to decide who in the township to trust for help. The story uses classic horror tropes but then turns them on their head, giving the viewer an unpredictable story. The title of the film does not come from the planet in Star Wars, it is a town referenced in the Old Testament where the Witch of Endor raises Samuel from the dead to give Saul advice before his final battle. People who are familiar with that story know it is a bloody and malicious section in the Bible that is rife with Greek tragedy and horror elements. I took a lot from those chapters as a great influence in the writing.
DC: Why was the setting of a Nebraskan town important?
AM: Nebraska is a great state. It has stunning nature in its element and charming small towns with compellingly artistic cities. If you want fast-paced nightlife with varied options of food, sports, and entertainment, it is available. If you want almost complete serene isolation, you can get that too. It often gets overlooked, and though I didn’t grow up in Nebraska, I have spent most of my adult life here and want it to be the background of the stories I tell. Our [SkullDuggery Theatre Films & AG Pictures] first movie, Bent Over Neal, featured suburbia and Omaha city life. For this one, I chose to focus on the farming community. It has the presence of remoteness that can be frightening for some. It plays on the fear of what would happen if you were injured in the middle of “nowhere”? How would you survive? Add to that element that someone is hunting you down, and you have a great psychological and visceral horror story. There is a lot more to it, but I don’t want to give all the secrets away.
DC: Your first feature was a comedy so what prompted you to make a horror film?
AM: I am a fan of all kinds of storytelling and all genres, and likewise, I want to explore all of them as a writer and filmmaker. I have over 10 other full-length feature ideas, and they all fall in different categories. I am trying to decide between a drama, thriller, or musical next. That said, it’s not just about trying to be broad; I really do like horror films, but I approach it from a practical standpoint and not a fanatic one. I want story and character first, then you put in the scares and the gore all of that. However, it has to come from some logical and believable place. If it doesn’t, when the more “out there” things start to happen, no one buys it. If audiences don’t buy it, it’s not good storytelling and it doesn’t scare. Most great horror film directors were not exclusively horror filmmakers. So I take the practical side of the genre. Now my compatriot, Aaron Gum, who does the editing and co-directs, is a huge fan boy of horror, so we do have that covered as well.
DC: Are you shooting on location?
AM: We are shooting entirely on location in Omaha, Springfield, and Fremont, Nebraska, and a little in Council Bluffs, Iowa, none of which are Eastern Nebraska, but we found some great spots where you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
DC: I understand that you have some dangerous stunts in the film?
AM: We have some dangerous and thrilling stunts in the film as well as stunts that you may not realize are stunts but can injure a person if not done properly. We are working on making the stunts as safe as possible, but there is always risk. Some of the stunts are a fall from an 80-foot silo, falling out of a second-story house, and getting shoved head first down a bar. Team Vaultek have joined our crew to pull those more dangerous scenes off.
DC: Can you talk about the soundtrack?
AM: Like our first film, our soundtrack is almost completely local to the Nebraska/Iowa scene. When you have such a great source of independent and prominent labels coming out of Omaha, why import? This time around we have musicians Jeremy Starkel, Kontages, Komatose, Keives McGaugh, Bloodcow, and Saddlecreek recording artist Orenda Fink. Eli Mardock is working on the score of the film.
DC: What else do you feel makes Endor unique?
AM: The film starts off letting the audience in on our main characters and seeing their relationship, which is so important for when the action starts happening. It’s a little bit of a slow burn at the start, but the actors – Julia Farrell and Dustin Smith – have such great chemistry and a sense of humor that it is a joy to watch them. When the violence does start, you should be really rooting for our heroes and hoping they make it out. That’s where the payoff really is. It should also be noted that when the action does start, it doesn’t stop. It is a full-throttle rollercoaster ride.
Another cool thing is that we are working with WetWorks SFX. They are masters of their craft. One of the founders, Benito Garcia, was voted as one of the best makeup artists in competition by Tom Savini himself. So we are in good hands when it comes to the gore. This film tows the line between Hitchcocky tension and Romero-like violence.