SHAMOKIN — A crowd of more than 100 people attended the screening of director Matthew Spade’s first full-length film “Vanished” on Saturday evening at the Northumberland County Career and Arts Center in Shamokin.
Master of Ceremonies Marla Kane spoke briefly about the opportunities a film affords the community.
“A production like this is a wonderful opportunity for the people of our area to come out and show their talents,” said Kane, who played the role of a concerned parent in the movie.
Spade, a Shamokin native who now calls Philadelphia home, said he was “thankful to the people of this community for being a part of this production and for all their cooperation.
“This movie is a throwback to the old horror and suspense films,” he added. “It’s not gory or graphic in the sense that it doesn’t show any blood or mutilation.”
During the movie, the audience shared a few laughs at several scenes. Two in particular seemed to draw a reaction.
The film is based in 1993. For those who follow sports, that was the same year that the Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series in which a key play was a home run by Joe Carter off Phillies reliever Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams.
One line at the opening of the movie which drew laughter was, “There’s no way they (Phillies) can lose with Williams closing.”
Another line that got a reaction occurred when the villain said, “Half of the residents in this town could be considered vagrants by their lifestyle.”
For Shamokin residents, the film was unique in that it used a number of local sites as a backdrop. In addition to the Shamokin Cemetery, which was the central location of the plot, other local sites in the film included City Hall, the old post office, the public library, inside the Shamokin Bed and Breakfast, a footbridge near the community swimming pool, The News-Item and an Edgewood mansion, which was home to a villain named Kruxenborg.
“I want to thank the community for all of their cooperation in allowing us to shoot at the various locations. We appreciate how they made us feel welcome during the filming,” said Spade.
The plot centered around a number of missing teens who are turned into vampires by the evil Kruxenborg and his lead vampire, who is kept under raps in a mausoleum at the cemetery.
According to Spade, the film took about two months to shoot, from July through September 2016.
State Rep. Kurt Masser, who along with Shamokin Mayor John Brown was among the dignitaries to take in the premiere, said to Spade, “Thank you for coming to Shamokin to do the filming here. I’m sure there’s a lot more you could come back for in the future.”
Actor John Daubert, who played Officer Daniels in the film, was pleased to be a part of the production.
“From an acting perspective, it was a real fun experience, something you dream about doing,” he said.
Actress B’Elanna Roonen added, “It was a very well-done film and I’m happy to have been a part of it.”
A member of the audience, John Burd, of Coal Township, noted how technology allows a movie like this to be created locally, well under the million-dollar budgets of big-screen films.
“It’s unbelievable to see how far technology has come and what can be done with what’s available on the market today,” he said.
Burd also said he was happy to see the local community be a part of a production like this.
“I think it’s great when a local hometown area is welcoming to making a film and are willing to cooperate and work together on it,” he said.
Spade said the total production cost of “Vanished” was under $50,000.