Some people have the uncanny knack for pinpointing the next big thing, jumping at any chance to develop promising potential.
Director Griff Furst’s filmmaking senses were immediately tingling, and not just with the biting thrills, when he came across the Michael McDowell book Cold Moon Over Babylon, which he has now adapted into the horror film Cold Moon.
“I was drawn to the colourful ensemble of characters, and the expert plotting that seamlessly guided them into scary situations,” says Furst, a huge long-time McDowell fan himself, in an interview transcript provided by RAM Entertainment.
“The only thing better than the tense feeling of being engaged in a great well-told story is one that sticks with you long after you’ve consumed it.”
From the late author of the film-adapted classics Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, Cold Moon takes a cold dark turn from its child-friendly predecessors, revolving around the disappearance and grisly murder of 14-year-old Margaret Larkin in the tiny town of Babylon, Florida.
While the townsfolk is consumed with the mystery of a killer in their midst, the killer himself, Nathan Redfield – estranged son of a prominent town banker – takes the opportunity to pin his crime on a disliked high school principal.
Nathan is literally haunted by the ghosts of all his victims while his sadistic father, James, uses both his son’s guilt and his increasing mental instability to control Nathan’s every move, with the ultimate goal of driving his son to kill again.
The film stars Josh Stewart, Candy Clark, Frank Whaley, Robbie Kay and Christopher Lloyd.
When Furst read the story, it was Nathan’s alcohol-driven decline that caught his attention the most, saying he was always interested in stories where he could witness the gradual, inevitable descent of characters on self-inflicted downward spiral.
“The title itself represents an omen, especially to Nathan, who is being haunted, more and more menacingly with each incident. However, his tormented visions are a product of his own destructive patterns, forcing him to face his fears head-on with no escape,” he says.
Actor Stewart, who stars as Nathan, says Cold Moon is more a “thinking man’s horror film that will take your mind on a smart, beautiful and caring journey in a strange way that is totally screwed up” than it is a typical horror scare-fest.
“It revolves around certain stereotypes,” he adds. “You have a family that owns the bank and another family that controls the farms, someone who owes money and another who’s up to no good. It’s all the strange, bad, odd and scary things that can happen when it comes to small-town politics.
“Nathan comes from a wealthy, prominent family. He ends up getting tied up with things and people, resulting in a complicated character.
“I want to explore areas in a character, which is the most interesting and fun aspect of acting. Playing Nathan offered me plenty to sink my teeth into,” Stewart says.
Actor Whaley, who plays the town’s sheriff Hale, says his character is gradually overwhelmed by the murder and wasn’t prepared for the type of investigation he was tasked with.
“He could even be slightly haunted, and all of these catch up with him at some point,” Whaley explains.
Furst promises his film stays as true as possible to the book it was based on.