Filmmaker Marcus Nash's new horror thriller 'Lost Lake' arrives in the US on both VOD and on iTunes from today the 26 October. The movies stars Ezra Buzzington ('The Hills Have Eyes'), Katie Keene, John Shartzer, Pat McNeely and Kimberly Stewart and promises a whole heap of supernatural scares along the way. Producer David Clair has summed up his experiences on the project which opens today in an article entitled 'Lost Lake - Origins' which you can check out below. Read about how Clair faced various casting issues plus his shared journey of exciting location scouting for the production.
"It's all here… a set for a horror film!"
A year ago I was interviewing modern day gold miners in Randsburg, which sits in a rocky valley in California’s Mojave Desert. It’s an historic ghost town with a one-room bar and one-room jail. I looked around and thought, “It’s all here… a set for a horror film!”
When I got back to LA, I called my filmmaker friend, Marcus Nash, and shared my vision of a desert film. I asked if he wanted to direct a low-budget horror in Randsburg, and he responsed, "Hell yes!" We were both super excited until I mentioned I was producing a big show for Nintendo at E3 in four months - we would have to conceive, write, cast and film the entire movie in four short months.
After we slept on it and decided we still wanted to proceed, Marcus drove straight to Randsburg. But, when he got there he ran into the unofficial mayor of town, a tough desert broad who owns the general store. She told him, "We don't like independent filmmakers - only big movies are welcome here!" So, Marcus kept going. He eventually drove into the decimated town of Trona, one of the last stops on the way to Death Valley.
"Trona wasn't a normal ghost-town. It was scary on a whole different level."
'Lost Lake' - Location Scouting
Back in LA, he excitedly told me that everyone in Trona was great, welcoming any film, big or small, with open arms. Together, we looked at pictures he took of the surreal town. Trona wasn’t a normal ghost-town. It was scary on whole different level. It looked like some horrible calamity had eaten up its people and left no witnesses. There was one scouting picture of a Brady Bunch like house: brick fireplace, sixties architecture, with the walls smashed up. In the living room, broken glass and refuse surrounded a vacuum cleaner seemingly stalled in the middle of the floor. When I saw that photo, I knew we had struck cinematic gold.
Feeling the pressure of our super tight schedule, Marcus and I went up to Trona that very weekend, and this is what we discovered: Trona was a thriving town in the 50's, with one of the best school systems in the country, swimming pools, vacation hotels and a happy population. At one point it had the largest movie screen in California. But, the borax factory, which was the lifeblood of the town, started laying off workers in the 70's. Today, eighty percent of the houses are vacant, there's a big meth problem and no government at all. We met with a few of the remaining inhabitants: the unofficial mayor, who's also the head of the senior center and the State Trooper who serves as town sheriff. They were thrilled we might come and film in their town - maybe it would bring some tourism.
'Lost Lake' - Kern Camp, a 'suburb' of Trona
"Do you have any other abandoned buildings?" I asked. "Well, we got an airport," replied the head of the Senior Center.
We asked about filming in some of the deserted buildings, like the old rec hall. But they said it's off-limits - company property. The factory runs 24/7, but with only a handful of employees. "Do you have any other abandoned buildings?" I asked. "Well, we got an airport," replied the head of the Senior Center. "You can film there." An airport - Wow!
After that first visit to Trona, we let the town show us what could happen next. We scouted and imagined how our storyline could change and grow based on the crazy world we had stumbled upon. In record time, we had a tight script for our movie and we started to crew up.
When our Production Designer, Mark Ilvedson, read the screenplay, he thought we were crazy. "There's no way we can do all this on such a low budget!" Then, he saw Trona and exclaimed, "I get it. All the props and sets are already here."
Tricia (Katie Keene) pursued by her possessed Uncle Vern (Ezra Buzzington)
We had a few bumps along the road, like replacing our lead actress the day before the shoot, but overall the filming went great. Every member of our tiny cast and crew worked super hard, often in tough desert conditions. And, the people of Trona were awesome - feeding us, buying us drinks at the local bar and helping us bring to life the story of LOST LAKE.
Lost Lake is being distributed internationally and comes out in the U.S. on video on demand and iTunes starting October 26th.
'Lost Lake' - Tricia hiding out in one of Trona's abandoned airplane hangars