…the movie

Box Art

“Twenty years ago a deadly accident forced Eddie Burber from his home. Guess what? Eddie's homesick!!!

“When Eddie was younger, he never got his chance to be a part of the family business, 'The Burber Haunted House.' Now that he's home, he wants to play. He tells a college fraternity they can use the house for a fundraiser. While the Sigma Phi's prepare their rooms for fun and thrills, Eddie prepares his special room for blood and kills. As cries echo from the house, you wonder, are they screaming for their lives, or cheering for their deaths?

“One thing is for sure. Nobody knows it's really happening... people are dying... and people are laughing.”

According to Andy Warhol…

…each of us can figure on about 15 minutes of fame. I don't know how Andy defined fame, but I figure I can account for about a minute of my allotment.

In the spring of 1989, a couple of my younger female acquaintances suddenly became very interested in getting 8"x10" black and white glossy photos made. When I asked what the flap was about, they told me that some film producer was going to shoot a low-budget horror flick in Bowling Green, and he was casting locals in supporting roles and as extras. The movie was HauntedWeen (you know, like Halloween...HauntedWeen). They were getting head shots to take to the casting calls that were being held. One of the girls knew that I had appeared in several community theater productions over the past couple years, and she suggested that I go and try out.

I didn't think too much of the idea, at first. The movie's plot reportedly revolved around the members of a college fraternity, and I'd been out of school for six years. Even if I weren't too old or too inexperienced, what about my day job? It was a silly idea...and yet, I did have three weeks of vacation time at my disposal. In the end, I went to the first round of casting calls. The only recent photograph I had was a small proof from some portraits I'd had done a couple years before, so that's what I attached to my application form. I figured that would be the end of it, but I got called back for a reading… and then another… and then the final tryouts. When it looked like I might actually have a chance at getting a part, I ran the whole thing past my boss. He agreed to work with me on my schedule (which was pretty crazy, since it was near model year change at the auto plant) so that I could take the vacation time I needed in bits and pieces to fit the shooting schedule.

“Anybody need a wart burned off?!”

To make a long story somewhat shorter, I ended up being cast in a supporting role as one of the fraternity brothers. I was sort of in the middle: not one of the main characters, but high enough in the pecking order so that when my name appeared (misspelled, not surprisingly) in the credits, my character actually had a name. I was one of the guys who was sort of "around" when the main frat guys were doing their thing, but I also had lines. My big moment was as the Mad Doctor (that's what it says in the credits) in the Dr. Slasher room of the haunted house that the fraternity puts on to try and raise money. As scripted, I think the scene only called for a couple lines, but when it came time to actually shoot the thing, I couldn't figure out how to fill the 15 or 30 seconds. I ended up ad-libbing a few things, and the whole scene wound up being one bad pun...which the director liked, so they stayed in. I suppose the whole purpose of the scene was to explain the presence of the makeshift flamethrower (a giant can of hair spray acquired from the makeup guy, a couple pieces of wood, some duct tape, a disposable cigarette lighter, and a paper clip) which comes into play later in the movie.

The shooting went on for about a month, as I recall, and I had a blast. It wasn't just the cast parties (which were several) or the sleep deprivation (I was still working my regular job, in between night shoots). I found it really interesting to see, from the inside, how the technical business of shooting a film works. Right up front, I was aware that there would only be payment for my work if the movie sold to a distributor--not much payment, even then--so I wasn't disappointed when I never saw a cent out of it. Dammit, Jim, I'm a computer programmer, not an actor. Considering the enjoyment I got out of being involved with the project, I'd say I came out ahead!

By the way, if you're thinking to yourself, "Wow! My life will just not be complete until I've seen this flick!"...you're kind of sick and twisted. You're also in luck, because HauntedWeen is now available on DVD, and it has its own web site! .