A movie filmed locally last summer is getting good reviews on the big screen. The Corrupted premiered May 7 in Drayton Valley, and if Producer Jason Thompson and Writer/Director John Klappstein have their way, it will be headed to the film festival circuit this fall.
With the help of some family, Klappstein acquired a cabin on a quiet lake front lot at Bear Trap Lake east of Bonnyville. They also needed a long beach for the filming, which they found on the shores of Cold Lake. Thompson says Bear Trap Lake and Cold Lake were good locations for the movie they wanted to shoot.
Klappstein and family members vacationed frequently at the lake when he was young, so when he needed a location for filming, Bear Trap Lake came to mind. He remembered seeing a relative take the tip off her finger with an axe while chopping wood on vacation at the lake when he was nine years old - a memory he says may have helped him when looking for that spooky, secluded, and atmospheric location.
"The movie looks like it was shot in a remote place because it is shot in a remote place," he said.
Several individuals and a few company investors from Drayton Valley financed the movie, prompting the entourage to hold the first screening in that town. The movie has since held screenings in several locations and received an invitation to the Edmonton International Film Festival in late September.
Thompson said the cast and crew of over 40 kept quiet about the filming while in the area last August, but now that the movie is released, he'd like to bring it back to Bonnyville sometime for a showing. He said they maintained a busy filming schedule to get the project done in two weeks: “all day and all night.”
Klappstein explains that The Corrupted combines two core staples in the horror movie genre – mind possession mixed with a zombie film. A group of 20-something's are headed out to a cabin for a weekend of relaxation and fun. However, a one of them who got there ahead of time, friends notice, is acting strangely.
“As the weekend goes along, his behaviour becomes more and more erratic until everything sort of goes off the rails,” explains Klappstein. What started out as a getaway for fun turns into a struggle for survival. The name of the film reflects the corrupted nature of the young man acting strangely, who in turn passes it on to others.
However, the movie isn't just about special effects and suspense. The victims of the infection experience a sense of euphoria and enlightenment, something Klappstein says is meant to spark reflection.
“Are they really that much worse off? Would you be willing to submit yourself to this sort of disgusting idea of an alien parasite going into your brain and tweaking your feelings?” He says the movie doesn't offer an answer but merely brings up the question, adding that humans may have to confront an eerily similar question in the future with the ever-evolving industry of nanotechnology and its incursions into brain chemistry.
Changes in technology allowed Klappstein and co-Writer/Director Knighten Richman to make a professional looking movie inexpensively. “Even ten years ago it was definitely not possible to make the movie that we made,” Klappstein says, adding that it used to take at least $300,000 to produce a Hollywood quality film. A few years ago a digital camera hit the market that could make Hollywood quality visuals on a much smaller budget.
“It's the first time in human history where the full-blown Hollywood quality visual is in the hands of the true small budget. It's kind of exciting because stuff that you'd never ever, ever see before, or be able to visualize without multimillion dollar budgets, are now available for someone who's got enough drive and determination and talent,” he says.
Klappstein says this means low cost films can avoid the amateurish quality of their small budget predecessors in the world of movies. He hopes the movie will get picked up as Canadian content for television.