On July 29th, Potent Media began to embark on a sick and twisted journey known as their new film DEER CROSSING. The horrific crime drama starring Christopher Mann, Laura Lynn Cottrel, K.J. Linhein, Ernie Hudson (GHOSTBUSTERS and THE CROW), and Doug Bradley (HELLRAISER series) generated lots of media interest not to mention having a disturbing teaser up on youtube that is collecting more complaints than praise. “I want it to make people uncomfortable,” says writer and director Christian Jude Grillo also known under alias Mr. Potent.
In short, DEER CROSSING is a disturbing crime drama with no limits and no apologies. The story is wrapped around retired cop Derrick Stanswood (Christopher Mann) who is called by a wealthy doctor to re-open a cold case from eight years ago. Stanswood finds himself in a backwards rural town in search of Maggie Chancellor (Laura Lynn Cottrel) and her son Cole (Kevin Fennell) who have actually been held captive for the last eight years by a maniacal farmer (K.J. Linhein) who’s been torturing Maggie and raising Cole to be his son. Also in DEER CROSSING, are some memorable cameos from three horror hosts and zombie hunter!
Carmela Hayslett (Roxsy Tyler), Scott Maus (Count Victor Von Scary), Christopher Inlow (Slo Frank) and Patrick Devaney (ZOMBIE HUNTERS: CITY OF THE DEAD) all remove their well-known alter egos to take turns stealing the spotlight in the upcoming Potent Media film.
Patrick Devaney, known as Billy Cassidy on ZOMBIE HUNTERS: CITY OF THE DEAD joined our crew early morning in Pipersville, PA on the very first day of shooting. Christian decided randomly one day to add a little side role just for Patrick. Patrick then made the three-hour trip down from New York to be a part of the film. “My character is the diner’s short-order cook, who doesn’t take too kindly to Christopher Mann’s character wanting to dine at his establishment,” says Devaney. “After confirming with the REAL waitstaff that my outfit looked the part, I asked one of them for their dish rag so I could have something to do with my hands. As the camera crew pulled focus for the scene, Mann approached me and we got into a little bit of a heated debate (in character) about why he couldn’t get any service! This went on for a while until (Director) Grillo called us all to order. Which was probably good, seeing as the other half of the set was still open and serving to the public!” Devaney continued.
As a horror hostess, I think it’s natural to want to branch out into acting outside of our shows. A lot of us would be actors use our shows as outlets for our need to entertain. I was very vocal when the idea came to notion to put horror hosts in serious roles for Deer Crossing. I surely didn’t want to be the only one. After directing “Marxed for the Occasion” (a Marx Bros. tribute containing over 20 different horror hosts) at HorrorHound last March I was convinced that a lot of us are more than just hosts, we’re entertainers and… we surprisingly take direction very well. We may be out of control on our shows but when it comes to other things we can be quite professional.
Most of the Deer Crossing cast was hand-picked by director Christian Jude Grillo. Nearly no auditions or casting calls were held. Every character in the script already had a face and the face of Muzzy belonged to Christopher Inlow. Inlow is beloved in our horror hosting sub-culture as Slo Frank from Monster Madhouse. He’s so convincing as Slo Frank that there are people out there convinced that he’s a mental deficient and overgrown child underneath the make-up.
“Christian’s directing was very focused. He knew exactly what he wanted and he allowed me to take the character in the direction I wanted it go. The way the script read made it a joy and challenge to step into the very creepy shoes of Muzzy,” says Inlow whose character shows up in the third act of the story during a repulsive birthday party sequence. “Muzzy is not someone I would like to ever run into,” Inlow adds and you will easily find that most of the cast and crew agreed!
Scott Maus, better known as Count Victor Von Scary from Fright Night Cinema flew himself into Philadelphia straight from Hell, Michigan just to be a part of the film. Scott has a small cameo in Deer Crossing as a gas station attendant. “Even though it was a smaller role it was huge to me and I took it very seriously. The cast and crew were always friendly and supportive and I made a lot of new friends while filming. I was lucky enough to watch Mr.Potent edit and score some of the film and it looked amazing! I cant wait to see the finished product!”
Now we come to my role. I play Olivia Brice, a special interrogator called in to get answers out of Cole about what happened to him at the farm. I was very nervous about playing this role because Olivia is different from any other character I’ve played. I’m used to being the goth girl or nerdy girl. This was my chance to really challenge myself. “Olivia Brice is a person who proves herself by her actions and not her looks,” says Grillo. “Carmela gave Olivia the confidence that the character needed.”
I had the opportunity to share screen time with Ernie Hudson. My God, I had a Winston Zedmore action figure when I was a little girl. I’ve been watching this man since I was in diapers and now I’m in a movie with him. It was a fantastic experience! Ernie was a very down to earth guy and very supportive of what Potent Media is trying to accomplish with this film. My favorite thing about Ernie was that you might think of him as a movie star but he doesn’t treat you like he’s a movie star. He’s very kind, very approachable, and very easy to feel comfortable around. Ernie was gold and he treated us like gold. I was very happy to work with him on this film.
DEER CROSSING is currently still in production and will be released next year.