There isn’t a better time to watch horror movies than right now! The leaves are changing colors, and the night time is getting colder and darker. Some may say it’s getting spooky out there! As Halloween draws near, many filmmakers try to capitalize on this spooky trend and make films that will scare audiences around the world. However, due to the global pandemic, it is getting increasingly harder to not only release these films to the public, but to make them.
Well, do I have a recent film for you!
In 2017, a small, indie filmmaker named Jim Cummings directed an indie dramedy called “Thunder Road,” about a cop in a small town who is drawing close to a mental breakdown. The film was a hit with critics and audiences and was praised for its use of a $200,000 budget. Now, after three years of rest, Cummings is back to direct a werewolf horror-comedy titled “The Wolf of Snow Hollow.” Like “Thunder Road,” this was written, directed and stars Cummings, once again as a small-town cop. After a few murders and disappearances occur, it is up to the police to stop this beast. This film also stars the late Robert Forster, Jimmy Tatro and Chloe East.
Like his previous film, Cummings is a master of intertwining gritty and dark subject matter into a comedic story about werewolves, while also making it intense and bone-chilling. The film’s presentation makes it come off as a B-rate, campy horror film from the ’80s, and revels in it. “The Wolf of Snow Hollow” is a ton of fun and is seen in vein with ‘80s classics such as “Slumber Party Massacre” and “Gremlins 2: The New Batch.”
The screenplay for this film is both scary and darkly comedic, almost playing like a Jim Jarmusch film. The acting by everyone is great and the characters are fleshed out well, some more than others. Jim Cummings is firing at all cylinders behind the camera, truly experimenting with different camera techniques and angles that display him as one of the most exciting up and coming filmmakers of this generation.
The cinematography captures the realism of the icy cold environments. The score is both unsettling and somber. This film’s main faults are when it tries not to be too serious at times. Don’t get me wrong, the humor lands at many points, but at times I think it is darker than it should be. I understand the reason for having characters fleshed out, and this film fleshes them out just enough for the audience to empathize with them. What Cummings does so well as a writer is his character creation. He wants people to understand each motivation and drive for success.
“The Wolf of Snow Hollow” places Jim Cummings as a filmmaker to watch. It leads you to truly pay attention to the passion he has for filmmaking. This film is both for horror fans and for non-horror fans who just want a fun time! I could definitely see this film receiving a cult following in the future, and hope this film makes Cummings a household name like other indie filmmakers.
Check it out on Video On Demand or in theaters!
Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing writer/director Jim Cummings, and he couldn’t have been more excited to talk about his love for filmmaking, and his ambition behind this film!
Q. What are this film’s main inspirations? I sense a bit of “American Werewolf in London” mixed with “SE7EN,” a grounded and gritty horror film.
“Zodiac” and “SE7EN” for sure. “The Burbs” as well. But then basically all of the work of John Douglas at the FBI.
Q. What made you go from a hard-hitting drama to a werewolf horror film?
I had written it as this love letter to the work of my heroes, like [David] Fincher, Joe Dante, Alfonso Cuarón, Pete Docter and folks. I had the idea for the ending and started working backward, as most do with detective stories, I’m learning.
Q. What was it like to work with the great Robert Forester? I know his passing has placed a huge dent in the film industry, he truly was one of the best.
He was the best. Super nice dude, always quick with a quip and always amped up to work and do a great job. He was everybody’s dad on set.
Q. I know this is way too early to call, but do you have any upcoming projects that you can briefly discuss?
I made another feature in November and December with my buddy P.J. McCabe about the WGA Packaging fight with agencies that’s super funny.
Q. Can you discuss distribution for “Thunder Road”? I’m aware it was self-distributed. How did you make this process work?
My production team and I started a distribution company. In the very near future I hope that will become as non-newsworthy as starting a YouTube channel. It will mean true democracy in film.
Q. How was working with a higher budget? I understand “Thunder Road” was made with only $200,000. Was it a jarring experience?
It was a trip. You don’t realize how much everything costs and how fast it’s spent with 55 people on set. It takes forever just to move everybody, but I loved everybody on set and we all had fun.
Q. What are the positives and negatives for directing and starring in your own films?
Running between camera and set can be tricky, especially in cowboy boots; but, I really love it. I get to pretend to be Jackie Chan.