The epic bellow for bug spray echoed down the ridge as I was struggling to climb a sheer wall of dirt and rock in my, poorly chosen, footwear choice of sandals. To be more accurate, I shimmied up on my hands and backside to avoid the inevitable Jerry Lewis like tumble I would have taken trying to use the feet attached to my legs. Once atop the ridge, said insect repellant requester turned out to to be the one and only Michael Biehn as he stood waist deep in a hole. As I brushed the sand from my pants a set of headphones was offered to me and I proceeded to gaze into the monitor. To say it was intense to watch the man work is a poor use of adjectives. He was afire, running between set and the monitor and back again, eyeballing his most minute movements. This is a man impassioned in his craft.
*Image provided exclusively to Horrornews.net by The Mud Show LLC.
*Photo Credit: Nate Rollo.
Despite The Victim being a somewhat low budget affair the set seemed no different than some of the big budget studio sets I’ve been on. They were a well oiled machine of people and equipment waltzing to a tune everyone there seemed to hear. While there were two moments of action (a lost phone and some slight dissonance over whether a certain coverage angle was necessary) there was a shocking lack of ego-driven drama off camera. Honestly, these people were chill but focused as if they were actually, gasp, enjoying their work! Of course, this could have all been a clever ruse to ensure a positive article. In which case I give them a gold star because the experience was a genuine joy.
The Victim is a thriller that was shot in less than two weeks in and around the Santa Monica Mountains,Topanga Canyon and Los Angeles. That is a frightfully short time frame to complete even the simplest of scripts. Nothing about this script appears to be simple. From what I could ascertain there are at least three diverging and converging independent storylines at play. From Michael Biehn as the consummate loner hiding in the depths of nature to escape whatever horrors plague his past to Jennifer Blanc as a party girl looking for a good time who discovers too late she’s stepped into a thicket of craziness, the cast of actors leaves you wondering exactly which of them is a real victim. And that, from what I saw, is not going to be an easily answered question.
When the team broke for lunch I had an opportunity to speak with Michael Biehn one on one about the project and what brought this production to it’s current stage. As with most independent features The Victim went through a series of rewrites and revisions before a single light was hung. Mr. Biehn became aware of the project through Ryan Honey, who plays a detective making questionable choices led by his questionable morality in the picture. Biehn saw the story has having the potential, with the right people involved, to knock a truly interesting thriller out of the park. Many rewrites later and with the visual eye of the Director, Brock Morse, best known for his breathtaking independent fantasy Westender, and Cinemetographer Eric Curtis a simple horror film evolved into a truly character driven tale of depth and weight.
Mr. Biehn, who really doesn’t need me to give you a run down of his place in the halls of science fiction and horror iconography, was just as one would expect him to be. Quiet and concentrated with the job at hand, he answered my somewhat obvious questions with the ease of someone who has ridden in this rodeo before and bucked an interviewer or two in his time. He knew I had to ask the seemingly obvious questions and I knew he didn’t really want to be wasting the few precious moments he had to eat his lunch telling the same story for the hundredth time. But you know what, he did, and he did it with a sense of class. Even when he called out my monumentally boring question, “What is one thing you’d like people to know about this film” as being a “…bullsh*t question. I’m not answering that”, he did so without making me feel the least bit sorry that I asked it in the first place. He clearly cares about this project, as I suspect he does about every project he is involved in. Michael Biehn struck me as a man who never takes his work for granted because somewhere in him he knows that someone out there will be watching and it’s his job to tell them a story. Everyone on the cast lauded his ability on this film to steer the story and the actors in just the right direction through, what sounded like, the kind of mentoring that can only come from a craftsman who has spent the time at the anvil forging characters from mere words.
Coming Soon…..”The Ladies and Gentlemen of THE VICTIM talk blood, choke holds and sex scenes” and more exclusive photos from the set!!