PRINCETON — Movie-goers had better fasten their seat belts on Halloween night for the showing of “Unearthly Harvest,” a 71-minute feature film written, produced and directed by John Swanson of Princeton.
“Unearthly Harvest” will be shown at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Apollo Theater in Princeton, with movie-goers encouraged to come dressed in costumes. Drawings will be held for posters and T-shirts give-away. There is no ticket price charged for the showing, only a voluntary donation option, with all proceeds going to benefit the Bureau County Fair.
Swanson said there will also be a preview promotion of “Unearthly Harvest” shown during the Nightmare on Fairgrounds Road event, held each weekend in October at the Bureau County Fairgrounds in Princeton.
In explaining the story of “Unearthly Harvest,” Swanson said the film begins with the strange and gruesome murders of two teens en route to a Halloween party. From there, the lives of local residents are disrupted when the evil Professor Desmond Samuelson arrives in town, with his traveling companions, Sandra and Steven.
“My movie centers on the collision of the unknown that Desmond brings to the story against the known of small town reality,” Swanson said.”From this premise flows both a love story and the story of good versus evil. This is a horror story with heart, with a real villain that you can sink your teeth into.”
But “Unearthly Harvest” is much more than just a tale of gore and horror; it has a real story to tell, Swanson said.
Movie-goers will see many familiar names when the credits are run, with local residents acting in the film and also serving in many of the behind-the-scene aspects of the film, Swanson said. The movie was also filmed locally, at a home in Tiskilwa and at area businesses and parks. Fifty-five minutes of original music was written by composer Frank Macchia of California.
In looking at the creation of “Unearthly Harvest,” Swanson said the film pays homage to the classic horror films of the 1970s with which he grew up and has loved for years. “Unearthly Harvest” is designed to pay tribute to the Roger Korman films, the “Dark Shadows” television show and to villainous actors like Vincent Price, he said.
The original film also contains stock footage from many AIP (American International Picture) films, which he obtained the rights to use for his film.
“I gave my film that ‘70s look through my camera work and lighting, and I directed it in that style,” Swanson said. “They don’t make films like this anymore, so I did.”
In addition to the showing of “Unearthly Harvest” on Halloween at the Apollo Theater, Swanson is also showing “Threshold,” a 20-minute “work in progress” in which Swanson has the lead role.
Looking at celebrating the Halloween season, Swanson said his goal for the showing of his films is simply for people to come and enjoy themselves, even if it means a good scaring.
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