CLEVELAND — A horror film company is haunting a northeast Ohio neighborhood, but the film community isn’t bothered one bit.
The on-screen kills are happening right in front of our eyes and for Jess Byard that’s a great sight.
“Oh man, this is so fun! I’ve been a Full Moon fan since I was a kid. So it’s pretty awesome to just like be involved in a set actually with killer toys too. It’s great,” Byard said.
The Akron writer and producer sits right by the director, serving as the assistant director on set. Staying plenty busy.
“A normal day here would be normally getting everybody here as early as possible, and making sure everybody is where they need, making sure everybody’s hydrated, got their breakfast,” explained Byard. “And then we just hit the ground running.”
It’s a problem the young film worker is happy to have after COVID-19 slowed down the industry in 2020. Now, Byard is excited to be interacting with actors and making movies.
“We were lucky. A lot of the companies that I’ve worked for, a lot of the productions that I’ve worked on did manage to get through, but we had to go so small on crew, so small on everything,” Byard said.
Being a fan of Full Moon Features, Byard is now on set just feet away from the creator, horror icon Charles Band. So who better to introduce us to some of the cast.
“What’s your character?” He asked a cast member.
“My character is Mitzy,” she replied.
“Really mean!” Band said. “The stepmom of this poor child, this poor, poor child Libby, who only has 1,000 dolls in this house. I mean, this is thousands of dolls. And she finds, pulls it out and shows the camera, what is this? That’s the remnants of Baby Oopsie that will then be turned into your best friend for a while right?”
Band has been a name in horror for decades.
Directing films like the Puppet Master series and the Gingerdead Man. Now, he’s brought Full Moon Features to Cleveland Heights to film Baby Oopsie, the next chapter in the Demonic Toys series, after a local realtor introduced him to the house. While some might consider it haunted, some of the cast and crew are living in it. And Band hopes to be filming many more movies here.
“I fell in love with the house. I fell in love with the neighborhood. I fell in love with Cleveland and all the architecture of the crazy cemeteries and the great people. There’s a lot of artists here, there’s a big film community and entertainment community.”
And as Byard continues working to make horror magic happen.
“Seeing everything come alive from the script to the screen, especially, I haven’t worked on a set with practical effects yet, so I’m pretty excited about seeing those actually working out pretty well.”
There’s renewed excitement that this scary situation, is actually a ray of hope for a bright film future.
“I think everybody is really, really jonesing to get back there. They’ve been hungry. We want to work and I think everybody’s got a lot of projects that they’ve been cooking up in the last year and hopefully now that they can put it in motion, we can get going. But yeah, I think we’re in a come back for sure,” Byard said.
A horrific start of lights, camera, action, that’s actually very welcome.