A new film by writer/director Paul J. Porter will be screened in two Dodge City locations next month.
"Rabid Love," Porter's first feature film, was filmed on location in Hodgeman County last summer.
Porter grew up in Iola and has fond memories of visiting his grandmother in Hanston. As he was planning his shoot, which was originally slated for New Mexico, his grandmother's house kept coming to mind.
"So I got on Google Street View and looked around various locations and it looked like it would work," Porter told the Globe in a phone interview last April.
The story of the classic horror film is set in the year 1984 so Porter and his cousin, Lance Ziesch, who works at High Plains Publishing in Dodge City, began collecting clothing, grocery items, and even vehicles to depict the period.
Porter and his crew of about 15 actors and technicians assembled in Kansas in late May and began filming.
Porter's production company, Rogue Taurus Productions, has been producing short indie films for several years. While working on a master of fine arts degree in producing for film and TV at the Los Angeles campus of the New York Film Academy, Porter was required to shoot a full-length film after graduating, but he decided to get the project underway a little early.
The crew worked six days a week for four weeks in Hodgeman County.
"We actually finished principal shooting four days early, which is pretty rare, but which was due to all the help we had from people around the area," Ziesch said.
Once filming was complete, Porter took the results back to Los Angeles and began post production: editing, sound and music, marketing.
"They're finishing color correction and the musical score right now," Ziesch said in a phone interview Wednesday. "And the screening at the Depot will be the first public showing of the film anywhere."
Homage to classic horror
"Today's horror films have lost the charm and fun of the classics from my favorite period for the films — the late 70s and early 80s," Porter says in the press kit for the movie.
"As a young child in the 80s, the time period holds a special place in my mind as a mixture of dreams and memories. It was my intent for the look and feel of the era to come through in the setting, props, wardrobe, and most importantly, the characters of the film," he said.
Porter's short synopsis of the script sums up the story: "It's the summer of 1984 when a group of recent college grads embark on one last trip to a cabin in the woods before going their separate ways into adult life. When one of them is infected with a strange virus, the friends are slowly ripped apart (literally and figuratively) and must compete with love triangles, conflicting personalities, nature and an unknown killer lurking in the woods that prevents their escape back to civilization."
Page 2 of 2 - Ziesch was able to supply the film with authentic 1980s props borrowed from area residents.
He also created a number of custom props, including Hann's Town beer, incorporating two important symbols for Hanston — the elk and wheat stalks — as well as the high school's orange and black colors.
"We're all looking forward to these screenings," Ziesch said.
All of the cast and crew have been invited to the events, coming in from places such as Kansas City, Denver, Albuquerque and Los Angeles.
Porter and his wife, Hayley Derryberry, will bring the film from Los Angeles.
According to Ziesch, many Hodgeman County residents are planning to attend.
"There were five extras in the film and three of them were from Hodgeman County," Ziesch said.
Ziesch himself was one of them, along with his father, Leo, and their friend Larry Nuss.
"Dad and Larry worked hard on stripping, doing body work and painting the car we used in the movie, so we wanted them to have some fun," Ziesch said.
The car, a 1983 Caprice, became the Hodgeman County sheriff's car for the film.
To add to the fun of the screening at the Depot, the car will be on display along with a number of other props from the film.
"We're going to set up a kind of red carpet for the screening and we're even looking into search lights," Ziesch said.
"It is an awesome movie — it looks good and the screenings will be a lot of fun," he said.
For more information about Rouge Taurus and "Rabid Love," visit www.roguetaurus.com. or rabidlovemovie.com.
IF YOU GO
What: "Rabid Love" movie screenings
When and Where:
March 16, Depot Theater Company
Cash bar from 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. movie at 8 p.m., Q&A with cast and crew at 9:30 p.m. Tickets for dinner and the show are $40. Call 225-1001 for reservations.
March 17, B & B Theatres at Village Square Mall, screening at 7 p.m.