Filming for 'Rogue River' horror movie wraps up

GRANTS PASS — Beneath fog and moss-covered trees near the green metal bones of old Robertson Bridge, a group from near and far has gathered in service to the art of fear.

Actress Michelle Page's character, Mara, is walking into danger, accompanied by seemingly nice Jon, played by veteran horror actor Bill Moseley. Mara has come to Oregon to scatter her father's ashes, but it goes terribly wrong when she encounters Jon in this psychological thriller.

While it's early in the independent feature film's story, the recently filmed river scene came late in the production schedule. "Rogue River" wrapped up its three-week production over the weekend, said one of the producers, Adam Targum, a partner in Vision Entertainment Group.

In addition to bringing cast and crew to the area, the production hired Rogue Valley workers and gained an associate producer in local resident Alan Taylor. Mutual friends put him in touch with the production, and he has helped to make arrangements ranging from supplying the crew with Dutch Bros. coffee to use of a helicopter and a private boat and guide on a recent Thursday.

Taylor said he thought having the film come was "fabulous."

"It's good for our area," he said.

Students from Brighton Academy came to the set and were also visited by Targum and fellow producer, actor Zachery Ty Bryan. The interaction was captured on camera and may become part of the DVD extras, Targum said.

The producers expressed delight with the reception locals have given them and indicated they would be willing to return to the area for future films, even though the production ran into its own share of horrors.

The worst ice storm in years created road conditions so bad people had trouble driving to the set, which had electrical problems for three to four hours on each of two days.

"We had our share of ice storms and bad weather and power failures, but we rolled through it, and the best part is the material looks absolutely fantastic," Targum said. Part of independent film-making is being creative and making situations work, he added.

Based on the footage so far, he said, "we have something that really transcends the genre," something "a little creepy and uncomfortable, but in a good way."

The area, especially the foggy weather, actually added to the story, said producer Kevin Haskin, who wrote the script with Ryan Finnerty.

"It suits a horror film especially well, especially this time of the year," he said.

A challenge of the film is to create just the right tone, director Jourdan McClure said. A highlight for him has been seeing the project come together "even more disturbing than what was on the page," he said.

Moseley and Page both said that the script's character development is what drew them to the story.

"It's so unlike a lot of the movies I have done," said Moseley, whose credits include "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2," "House of 1000 Corpses" and Rob Zombie's "Halloween."

This is the first time Moseley has worked along side his off-screen girlfriend, Lucinda Jenney, who plays the leading female "evil" character, he said. It saved a lot of time and effort in developing chemistry, he noted.

"It was very comfortable," he added.

A producer as well as writer, Haskin knows how difficult it can be to arrange for financing, crew, locations and scheduling, so seeing the film become a reality has an added boost.

"It's an extremely blessed moment because I know what it takes to make that happen," he said.

The producers, writers and director paused at one point to discuss the nuances of a scene before changing some dialogue. The production is a matter of collaboration, Targum said.

"Rogue River" is Finnerty's first produced script, and one thing that he would do differently is to write less because the actors "can do so much with so little," he said.

"It's really exciting to have all these talented people working together and working on your stuff," he said.

Shot with the cutting-edge Red camera, high-definition video that offers greater resolution than 35-millimeter film, the film is aimed at a theatrical release in late 2010, Targum said. The producers have talked about possibly doing a special screening in Grants Pass.

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