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Massena men shooting horror film locally

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MASSENA - Tom Savage is getting ready to cross off a scary item on his bucket list.

The Massena Memorial Hospital employee is teaming up with a friend to produce an independent, no budget supernatural film that will be shot in the area.

“It’s an independent film that I’m doing along with a friend of mine, James Bello. It’s a supernatural thriller about ghosts,” Mr. Savage said.

He has placed an advertisement seeking “committed actors for no-budget horror film. Strictly volunteer, filming begins within a few weeks.”

“We’ve written it and we’re getting the characters together. I’ve had four or five people who’ve bitten on it. I was pretty surprised,” Mr. Savage said.

The film, called “Behind the Glass,” takes place in New York, and it will be filmed in Massena and Helena, he said.

It involves a young woman who is fighting two battles and her brother.

“She has become an alcoholic. She’s battling alcoholism, her own demons. Yet, in the same respect she is dealing with external ghosts that are trapped in an antique mirror,” Mr. Savage explained.

The background of the story, he said, is that the woman’s mother had two children from a previous marriage. She remarried and they lived with an old woman in New York.

“She (the old woman) knew about this evilness trapped in an old mirror. She kept it hidden. Upon the old lady’s death, she leaves everything to the woman and her brother with the condition they stay one night in the house,” he said.

The story, Mr. Savage said, is based on the premise that in the 1860’s individuals used to cover up mirrors and stop clocks when somebody died because they didn’t want to spirit trapped in the mirror.

“That’s what happens (in the movie). It’s a bunch of different ghosts,” he said.

Because there’s no budget for the film, Mr. Savage said he plans to use a video editor to create the special effects.

“It’s pretty surprising what you can with the effects on there,” he said.

He doesn’t plan to take the “blood and guts” route in the film.

“I think with my movie it’s more subtle. It’s shadows in the background and stuff,” Mr. Savage said.

This is his first undertaking of this scale.

“I’ve written a couple of movie scripts. I’ve done little independent things for my family, but nothing to this level,” Mr. Savage said.

“This was on my bucket list. With the idea I had, it took me about four months to really think about it and really work hard in getting ideas together. As I was writing, characters would start speaking to me. As you’re writing, it almost seems like they’re telling the story,” he said.

Mr. Bello helped with the writing and gave Mr. Savage ideas for the film.

“We’ve done short clips before. He’s my assistant director,” Mr. Savage said.

The 95-page script will translate into a film that features four main characters and two “prime characters,” he noted.

“I’ve got like maybe 20 people. Some are small parts. I work at the hospital and had people volunteering. I’ve gotten a couple of people from the newspaper and a couple of people at Walmart,” he said.

At this point, he said, he needs “maybe a couple more people” for acting roles, as well as folks who might be willing to do some crew work as he gets set to start filming.

“I want to get it done before winter,” he said.

The movie is scheduled to have an hour-and-a-half running time.

“Technically with a movie script, they say it’s one minute per page,” Mr. Savage said.

Some shooting will be in Massena, while other footage will be shot at a “creepy old Victorian house” in Helena, which the owner does not want identified.

To learn more about the project, contact Mr. Savage at 769-3367.

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