Horror author and comic book creator Joe Monks has announced that the official web site for his new film, The Bunker, is now up and running and can be found at: http://www.sightunseenpictures.com. The site features information about the film, the director, the unique story behind this venture, cast & crew information, a film blog, and information on becoming a producer, among other things.
Monks, who is blind, has been working on the film for the better part of a year, completing the script, purchasing equipment, and finally beginning pre-production this past June.
The Bunker is the story of Julia Jennings, the daughter of a New York State congressman, who has run away in the wake of his announcing his bid for reelection. The hardnosed New York politico has dealt with this once before, but this time if word leaks out it is certain to mean scandal - the kind of scandal that could bring down his reelection bid. The congressman decides to go outside the law, hiring some shady private help in looking for his daughter. Jennings is willing to pay people to find the missing teenager, hiring the kind of men used to finding people. People who don't want to be found. But unbeknownst to those seeking the 16 year old runaway, Julia has been snatched off the street by a sadistic kidnapper and serial murderer. The maniac has secreted Julia away in an underground bunker, setting the countdown to the girl's slaughter in motion. Julia knows exactly when her final hour will arrive, but what tortures await her in the meantime?
Monks, whose story "Chance Meeting" was optioned for the screen by Japanese publishing powerhouses Bunkasha in tandem with DK Publishing for the first installment of the Flowers on the Razorwire DVD series, steps behind the camera this time out, to direct the piece, from his own original screenplay. While he understands that being blind is a significant hurdle, it is not the only one he has to overcome.
"This isn't about being a blind guy who happens to be making a film," Monks told The Hacker's Source. "This is about making a movie despite being blind. Every director has hurdles to overcome. I happen to have a unique one most don't have to consider. The bottom line is, though, can I make a good film, and can I bring my vision to the screen, regardless of whether or not I can see it?"
Monks has lined up some seasoned help in bringing his characters to life. Terry M. West (Flesh For The Beast) portrays the menacing, child-abducting madman, and producer/director Ted A. Bohus (Return of the Aliens Deadly Spawn, Nightbeast, Hell On Earth) stars as the savvy congressman who will do anything to be reelected. Debuting as Julia is Miami theatre actress Saskia Gonzalez, who Monks believes is going to be an instant hit with the horror crowd.
"Saskia has a scream that shook the tripod," Monks told Robert Able of indy film site In The Meatgrinder. "She's got instant scream queen written all over her, and she can definitely go beyond that in future roles. She isn't just a one-dimensional victim witha great set of lungs, she can deliver a line, hit her cues and she's believable. I think fans are going to love her from the minute she appears on screen."
The Bunker, which will be the second installment of the Flowers on the Razorwire film series, is expected to wrap second unit photography in October. Principal photography begins August 19th in Miami, with location shooting in both New York and Los Angeles before the end of the year. Monks expects the film to be ready by the beginning of 2006, with an eye on the 2006 film festival season to showcase it.
"We have already had inquiries about showing it at certain festivals and we haven't shot a frame," the blind director said in a statement. "I know we're a curiosity, but that's still a pretty good upside, particularly if my team delivers the kind of product I believe they can."
Monks has engineered a low-priced buy-in program to those interested in supporting the project, with info available on both the official http://www.joemonks.com web site and the newly launched http://www.sightunseenpictures.com web site. Those buying certain items from Monks' vast catalog of prior work will get to see their names roll in the credits as supporting producers, helping finance the film, and keeping Monks from having to rely on producers or investors who often want a say in how the filmmaking process goes.
"I only get one shot at doing this my way," says Monks. "Next time around, who knows? But for my first film, I want control over everything...even the stuff I can't see. If this is going to be my vision, then I want final say in the decisionmaking, not somebody telling me I can't shoot something or interfering because they wrote a check."